I’ll tell you one thing about ITN Studios – the distribution entity will release any movie with a Ouija board in it. Must be the cult reputation that follows the piece of wood. I went into my viewing of this movie with low expectations, but shockingly came out of it with a lot of good points to say. Shot by Millman Productions, Otsego Media, Ron Lee Productions, Salem House Films and Titan Global Entertainment, Ouija Witch follows a young woman who stumbles into a magic shop following a vicious assault. After a ritual over a fabled Ouija board, a centuries old hag is brought back into our world to enact vengeance on the perpetrators. However, the lines of retribution quickly become blurry and now the whole town is at risk. You know, just a normal week in New York.
Ouija Witch is written, directed and executive produced by Robert Michael Ryan, with writers John Doolan and Cuyle Carvin. It was produced by Alysa Blasetti and Cuyle Carvin, and features cinematography and editing by Korey Rowe. Special effects were performed by Rita Mae Sylvester. It stars Miley Rose, Jeremy Dean, Ryan M. Shaw, LeJon Woods, Rivera Reese, Maggie Wagner and Cheyenne Phillips as Mary Blackwood and Blade Runner’s Sean Young as Lilith. That’s right, former Hollywood star Sean Young is in this movie – as the dastardly magic store saleswoman. There’s always got to be one big name or cult star attached to an indie film like this to try and bolster sales. And if you’re a Sean Young fan, she actually has a sizeable part here.
I’ll start with the three aspects of Ouija Witch that I didn’t enjoy. First, it was predictable. You know after the first 20 minutes exactly how this story is going to play out. Second, the camera quality appears to jump back and forth at random – but it stays just about average for an indie caliber film. Third, a few of the actors REALLY didn’t pull their weight. A serious recasting should have taken place or at least numerous retakes. Sometimes they seemed bored or forgot their lines and were trying too hard to improvise. Given that an actor’s performance is such an integral part of making a film, this one lost several points based on that aspect alone. My other two points are pretty common in movies that weren’t made for a million dollars. However, I do wonder what the behind-the-scenes crew could have pulled off with a bigger budget.
Now for the things I did like. First, the writers REALLY knew how to build a story that gradually led to a successful climax. Even the minor plot elements were executed beautifully. Second, mad props to the special effects artist Rita Mae Sylvester. Her work on Ouija Witch earned back most of the points that the bad acting warranted. Very impressive make up work. Third, the villain – Mary Blackwood – was an actual witch with all the proper elements to her name. I love that her main ability was to make people kill themselves or appear like they killed themselves because she could always cover her tracks. She can also teleport, use telekinesis and can glamour, but when she’s haggard, she looks like something straight out of THE WITCH. Fourth, all of the other behind-the-scenes work was stellar. Fifth, Ouija Witch had a higher body count than I expected.
Not the best film you’ll see, but it’s certainly entertaining. It’s not an “in your face” kind of horror film but think of it more like a supernatural revenge thriller mixed with some drama. Ouija Witch beckons you to stay until the end. An old school, vicious witch tale with a modern twist. A journey which teaches that you never really know who you’re dealing with. Surprisingly and suspiciously supernatural, I say! Final Score: 7 out of 10.