Director – Dustin Mills (Puppet Monster Massacre, Kill That Bitch)
Starring – Dustin Mills, Kayla Elizabeth (A Night of the Living Dead, New Blood Rising), and Rob Grant (In Guns We Trust, Colt Navy)
Release Date – 2017
Rating – 2/5
Dustin Mills is one of my favorite filmmakers in the world of no budget indie cinema. His films are always visually stunning and the story has more than enough power to hold you in place. I first saw his movie Puppet Monster Massacre when it was released on DVD and not long after I grabbed Zombie A-Hole. I was hooked. I’ve been an avid fan ever since. I’m sure Dustin thinks something completely different but I am most definitely a huge fan of his.
It has been sometime since he released his last film but a few weeks before Halloween he announced that his newest film Ouija: Blood Ritual was available for preorder. He contacted me to review the film but I wanted a copy for my collection so I bought one. I wanted to review it before Halloween but time got the best of me and I couldn’t get around to it until now.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows three filmmakers who are attempting to carve their own notch in the paranormal investigating field by filming a series of videos surrounding different paranormal and cryptozoology subjects. The cameraman, Dustin (Mills), suggests they look into creepy pasta story The Closet Man. He shows them videos online and they agree to do the ritual to summon the closet man. The ritual doesn’t go as planned but Dustin soon spots a dark figure who starts haunting him every waking moment until he does the unspeakable and turns his back on his friends to save himself. **Spoiler Alert**
I know that most filmmakers strive to reinvent themselves so they don’t bore their fans. Mills is a very technical filmmaker that always brings something knew to the table. I wouldn’t say he reinvents himself but I would say that he is always learning and improving. Going from Zombie A-Hole to Her Name Was Torment you can see a clear jump in experience. Dustin is a filmmaker through and through. He wants to bring new content to his fans but realistically he cannot make a movie that is for everyone. Ouija: Blood Ritual was not for me. In fact, I’m certain this is the first of his films that I did not like.
The acting in this one is decent. Mills took on smaller roles in several of his previous films but this film has him taking on a much bigger role. He does a solid job. The same can be said about Kayla Elizabeth and Rob Grant. Their interactions, for the most part, seemed genuine but there was a few scenes where their dialogue seems forced and a little awkward to follow. My biggest complaint with this film is something I dislike with most found footage films and that is the over abundance of dialogue that does little to nothing for the story. I understand that filmmakers add it to make the film feel like an authentic found footage film but it makes for a very boring experience.
The story for this one is very similar to other creepy pasta films like Charlie Charlie and the no budget Ouija films. We follow a small group of people trying an internet trend only to discover that it is real. We’ve seen this so many times in recent horror films regardless of budget size. What we get is stretched out farther than it should have been. In fact, the length of the film is just too long. A short would have been more effective with a majority of the dialogue removed.
Finally, this is not one of the beautifully crafted no budget films that Mills is known for. He goes all in on the found footage look which results in a dark and ominous film with a little of his creature style but not enough to truly hold his fans over. We do get a little practical effects but nothing that really stands out. Overall, Ouija: Blood Ritual is not a bad movie but it is a movie I don’t care for. It is rather boring and a slow burner with none of the flair that I come to expect from Mills. It is a textbook found footage film so fans of those should check it out but horror fans looking for Skinless and Kill That Bitch will want to venture elsewhere.