Blair Witch (2016)

After finding a video that may have shown his sister Heather, James Donahue (James Allen McCune) decides to head out to the woods where she went missing many years prior.

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry

MPAA Rating: R for language, terror, and some disturbing images

Fun Fact: Was promoted as a film called The Woods to keep this film a complete secret.

Blair Witch is a direct sequel to The Blair Witch Project and it doesn’t reference Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. This film even goes back to the original found footage style of film making. It’s interesting to see how he filmmakers wanted to keep this a secret and it worked. In my review of the first one, you can tell that I thought it was a great film. The second one, not so much. How does this one fair to the other two films?

The problem with Blair Witch is that it’s a boring rehash of the first film. It just feels slow and uninteresting in what is trying to be told. Technically it’s a sequel but, it just comes off as a reboot/remake. It has the same plot with a group of people getting lost filming a documentary and trying to find something. In the first hour of the film there isn’t much going on other than a group of people getting lost in the woods. While some might say that’s all the first one had nothing going on, this one doesn’t have any interesting visuals or any true atmospheric scares. The film relies on jump scares and there’s about four of them of just characters running into the camera because they’re trying to get away from something. What made the first one great was that there was a genuine creepy atmosphere to it and the visuals get unsettling. Here it’s mostly dark and you only have a flashlight and brief glimpses on what is going on. We get brief glimpses of this monster type character with long limbs. It looks like a decent effect but, due to how the film is shot we don’t get much more than that.

With this film, we get some uninteresting character development. The only character that has any motives is the James character. He wants to find out and get closer about his sister. The interesting thing about him just like his sister, doesn’t understand what they’re going up against and I did feel bad for him at the end. The Lisa character is just there to film a documentary, the Peter and Ashley characters are just there, and the two locals just want to go out there with them and don’t really have a reason to other then claiming they found some footage. Which asks the question how did they get out alive when others couldn’t? I won’t spoil anything in case you want to see it.

One thing that I thought was neat was using different types of cameras. Technology has obviously upgraded since 1999 so there are going to be new ways to film something. There’s ear piece cameras, security type cameras, and even a drone. The drone isn’t used much and it would’ve been neat to get some shots and possible scary shots with it but, sadly that wasn’t a creative direction that was used.

Overall, Blair Witch was a disappointment. It just rehashes what we have already have seen in the first film. Most of the characters are uninteresting and the biggest downfall is that the film makers don’t rely on the atmosphere to bring in the scares. It feels like a typical mainstream horror film when it’s just all dark and there’s jump scares to prove a point. In what could’ve relaunched interest in the series sadly makes me think and maybe others that we should focus on something else.

Verdict: Miss

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