Review: OUIJA BLOOD RITUAL (2018)
Text on the screen tells us we’re about to see footage obtained from the police. A camera prowls through a house full of corpses and what appears to be two survivors, one human, one feline. More text tells us we’re about to see footage from recovered from several devices, edited into chronological order but otherwise untouched. Sound like the start of a found footage film? It is, in this case, Ouija Blood Ritual by Dustin Mills (Slaughterhouse Slumber Party, Her Name Was Torment). Despite a prolific output, this is the first time he’s tried a conventional found footage film. The puppet snuff film Snuffet being anything but conventional. How did it turn out?
Three filmmakers Dustin (Dustin Mills), his sister Kayla (Kayla Elizabeth, The Dead Will Rise 2, A Meowy Christmas Vacation) and college buddy Rob (Rob Grant, In Guns We Trust, The Low Lives) are doing a web series. They perform and debunk various paranormal rituals such as Bloody Mary. Needing something to set them apart from the hundreds of other similar YouTube offerings, they decide to before a blood ritual to summon Closet Man (Brandon Salkil, Kill That Bitch, Bath Salt Zombies).
The kicker is, this used to be a popular Internet theme, like The Elevator Game or summoning Slender Man. But its popularity suddenly died out and the links to the videos are almost all dead. They’re about to find out why. Whether they can live to tell the story is another matter.
Mills hits the expected notes with the story’s setup. The opening footage, a team of paranormal “investigators” and a creepy, potentially dangerous ritual. Ouija Blood Ritual even manages to work in an abandoned mental hospital. But even as he’s doing that, he’s also using some found footage traditions to set up some misdirection. That makes for a nice change.
Ouija Blood Ritual also gets down to business a lot quicker than most found footage films. Unlike so many others that save everything for the last 10 minutes, Mills is unleashing the scares by the halfway mark. Which is restrained compared to his other films, but as noted, not bad for this kind of film.
And while we’re making comparisons, Ouija Blood Ritual is more serious than Mills’ goofy boobs and blood output like Zombie Ahole and Night of the Tentacle. On the other hand, it’s nowhere near the extreme violence and explicit nudity of The Hornet’s Disciple and the Scars She Left, and Her Name Was Torment 2.
Ouija Blood Ritual is currently playing a virtual engagement at Cleveland Cinemas. It will be available for streaming June 30th. You can check the Phantom Pain Films website for DVD/Blu-ray availability.