- September 16th, 2016
- 1 Hour 29 Minute Run Time
In 1999 The Blair Witch Project was released forever changing the horror genre. It was a small budget film made to look real and it gave film makers a entirely genre of “found footage” to run with. Now in 2016 we are given “Blair Witch”, the direct sequel to the original (pretending the original sequel never happened). This is a film that was filmed in secret and originally shown off under a different name before a big reveal to be the new “Blair Witch”. So after all this does the film make a dent in the horror genre like the original did?
The story follows closely after the original in that we have a group of people discover a tape showing the end of the last film. We soon find out that the leader of the group James, is the brother to Heather, the girl in the video and he believes that she is still alive. With a group of friends and a handful of the latest technology they soon meet up with the couple that found and uploaded the video and embark on their trip into the forest haunted by the Blair Witch in a attempt to find his sister.
Now my first big gripe with the film comes from the story. Gone is the simplicity of the first. For this one they give up a big backstory, character development (if even just a little), and more of the myth of Blair Witch including the full story of how the woods came to be haunted. It is simply just too much and takes away from the film almost. Sometimes simplicity is enough and for Blair Witch they tried to create too much of a full fledged story with it.
The fact that so much more technology and cameras are in this as far truly hurts it. The suspense and fear is largely replaced when instead of viewing everything through one or two cameras we are instead treated to several cameras placed around, cameras on the characters heads, a drone, GPS, and everything in between. With all these cameras come constant cuts killing any tension scenes build up. I never felt truly in place with the woods around me as each camera cut would take me out of the location I was starting to grow on. Watching it as well the film just never feels real, I never once thought I was watching something that was being filmed like they would want you to. Now by the end when the character and camera count has dropped it does start to work more but by then it is just too late.
Worst part is that this film just isn’t scary. For the majority of the film we are treated to lifeless jump scares mainly resulting from character on character and not anything paranormal. By the end since the atmosphere is never truly set because of constant camera cuts and a horribly poor build up the film just goes the route of modern horror with a cheap ending. Even with some impressive visual lighting and sounds for the ending cabin I never once felt like there was tension or a fear of what was to come. You don’t care about the outcome of the characters and after the ending I was just left completely unimpressed. It’s sad when even the climax is boring and can’t do much to save the film.
Overall I had some hope that maybe this new Blair Witch would be good especially coming from a director that has put out some good horror films in the past. What we got instead though was a new rehash of a film from 1999 that managed to give no scares and lobs on unneeded story. Blair Witch feels like almost all other found footage films of the past few years and does nothing to set itself apart. I can’t recommend this even slightly.
Score : 2/10