Friday, September 16, 2016

Blair Witch – review

The Blair Witch Project is a creepy movie that has a very genuine feel to it. The sequel entitled Blair Witch, attempts to market on the first film’s charm but misses all of the aspects that made it successful. It was as if the makers of the movie asked themselves what made the original film memorable and just replied “the woods and motion-sickness inducing photography.” The characters are forgettable and the scares resort to jump and gross-outs.

James Donahue, the younger brother of Heather from the first film, sees some footage online which makes him believe that his sister is still alive in the Black Hills forest. This is despite that it would mean she survived for 16 years hidden from search teams. James and a group of his friends go into the woods to see if they can unravel the mystery. Once they get into the woods strange things begin happening and they find themselves a part of the horrors of the Blair Witch.

When you consider that the first film was improvised, filmed on a tiny budget, and didn’t show much of the scares, it is amazing that it stands up as a legitimate horror film today. Blair Witch has the aspect of being lost in the woods but with the same jump scare clichés that could be found in your everyday horror film. This could be forgiven if the characters were interesting or memorable in anyway, but they are one-dimensional caricatures that are disposable.

The biggest crime is that the film considers itself a Blair Witch movie but does create tension built on what you don’t see. Even Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 got this aspect right.  The deaths are shown and even the Blair Witch makes an appearance looking like the creature at the end of Quarantine but with sound effects of one of the Ents from The Lord of the Rings movies. The filmmakers resort to loads of the same jump scares that were popular in the 1980s. Why make a movie like this if you cannot even capture the aspects that made the first movie popular?

Blair Witch is a missed opportunity to make a modern twist on a spooky movie that comes off like an American legend. It fails to deliver anything new and will likely be forgotten in time.  I only slightly recommend it, and only if you are a fan of the original, and only as a rental.  This movie makes Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 seems like a smart movie in comparison.  It is another case of banking on nostalgia to sell movie tickets to mediocrity.

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