Witchboard hovers pretty heavily over the line between horror and horror/comedy, but never fully commits to either one. The movie is not at all scary or suspenseful, nor is it ever laugh-out-loud funny. But you know what? That's okay. Like I said, Tenney's approach to the story is different from what others might have done, which is part of what makes it such an interesting film. It doesn't seem typical of an 80s film - it takes itself more seriously, and is not at all sleazy, cheesy, or cheap (in the good way). Witchboard establishes an odd and difficult tone for itself, but it manages to make it work.
Some outside characters are the ones who have to die in Witchboard. The first is a friend of Jim's who is killed by falling sheetrock on a construction site. Jim's missing hatchet becomes the culprit that causes the accident, which brings in this whole unnecessary sideplot with a detective who is convinced that Jim is a killer. Seriously, it's not that important. Another poor soul is first chased through their house by an unseen force and then tossed out a window where they land on a very sharp sundial. Again, points for creativity. The death of a main character was very surprising, and actually made me mad because I liked the guy. He gets a hatchet to the face and then falls in the water - but I'm still trying to figure out how the ghost got the hatchet in the first place and where it went... The climactic scene between the spirit and Jim also has the movie's big effects shots within close succession of each other. The quality is indicative of the time, if you get what I mean, but I didn't mind so much.
Witchboard is odd and somewhat unpredictable, but it's a nice change of pace from a decade that had so many movies that were similar to each other.