Can Blair Witch capture the subtle terror of it’s predecessor? Read our movie review to find out:How soon do we forget what made movies great? Most everyone from 1999 remembers the cultural phenomenon of The Blair Witch Project as a film that was admirable for being cheap and scary for feeling real.
Whereas other found footage movies merely attempt to stage a realistic recording, The Blair Witch Project truly felt as though someone had found a mysterious tape in the woods from people that went missing. A witch is never seen and no blood is spewed as the only bodily fluids seen are tears and snot from a fearful confession.
It should be clear as day what made this movie great: less is more. The filmmakers didn’t need bodies flying, loud jump-scares, bloody wounds or computer-generated monsters to make their film genuinely terrifying. But in 2016, we apparently need all of these for a horror picture.
The new Blair Witch lacks any and all appeal as it falls into a repetition of both the original movie and current horror trends. The brother of one of the unlucky three campers from the previous pictures decides to venture out into the same woods his sister was lost in and find out what happened to her. New footage was found and he becomes determined to track down his sister with the help of his friends. We don’t know much about this foursome except that they’re all friends and one of them is a filmmaker. The movie is more preoccupied with them squabbling about paper-thin relationships, getting drunk at a club and setting up their equipment for the expedition.
Committed to capturing everything they say, all of them wear mobile cameras as earpieces, carry an extra camera for filming and bring along a flying drone camera so they always have a top view of the area. Keeping it safe, each of their cameras has GPS and all of them bring along walkie-talkies. They even bring along a freaky local couple that film the journey into the woods on an older DV model in case the digital cameras fail. Armed with flashlights, food, first-aid kits, tents and sleeping bags, they appear to be armed for anything these woods can throw at them. Everything, that is, except for the curse of a witch.
For the entire first half of the movie, nothing interesting happens. The characters goof around, babble a truckload of exposition about the dark legends of the woods and have their hearts race when they think they hear a noise or a voice. They toy with the cameras, tell a ghost story over a fire and reaffirm their disbelief in magic.
I’m sure these scenes were intended to let us know and love the characters, but they’re so steeped in the very basics of horror victim setup that I couldn’t care less about them. They’re just meat for the horror movie formula. Don’t worry if you forget their names; they’ll be sure to scream them in the woods when they get lost.
In the second act, there is a bit of a mystery in how the woods begin to toy with the group. A bloody wound begins to spasm as it refuses to heal. Time begins to escape our characters as they awake at odd hours and find themselves wandering for different amounts of days when split up. The trees begin to entrap the campers as twigs and vines surround their paths and block their routes. And those iconic dolls made out of twigs and rope make their presence known when the unwitting campers awake to them in the morning.
Read more of our Blair Witch movie review to get the scoop on the ending: