Review: Blair Witch

For those who are wondering why I haven’t been posting very often as of late, the answer is “school”. Before school, there was a decent balance in my life with family, work, church, and movies, and now that I need to squeeze this unwanted element back into my routine, a few of these elements have to suffer. I miss going to the theatre; a bad day at the movies is still better than a good day at school.

 

Coincidentally, going to see Blair Witch is still better than a good day at school… but not by much.

 

 

To the best of my knowledge (as I have not seen the original), the lure of 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” was that it was trying to trick people into thinking that what they were seeing is actually real found footage.

But this new Blair Witch movie cannot possibly hope to achieve this, so since the film really does not have anything of sheer substance to offer, my best guess is that they made this sequel and tried to sell it as a smelly nostalgia bomb.

 

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So the film’s about the guy above whose sister was Heather, lead of the original, and he wants to go find his missing sister despite the fact that she’s been missing for over a decade. So why is he interested after all this time? Well, because he found a video someone  posted on Youtube that was taken in the Blair Witch woods, and he saw a 1-second shot of some creepy looking woman in the background who he thinks is his sister.

Right off the bat, I couldn’t help but think, “Well that’s kind of dumb… and a bit overused… but fine, I’ll play along.”

 

And this chick who goes with him is some sort of filmographer who secretly wants to make a film of their adventures in the Blair Witch woods. This, of course, gives us the reasoning behind why they’re filming every second of their lives. This excuse for why the cameras are always on works almost all the time, but there were still a few times, especially in the beginning of the movie, where I felt that their use of cameras was out of place (for instance, some of the characters are filming a conversation they’re having at a loud night club. Why? Because they need to throw plot points our way).

 

All the characters in this movie have enough traits to not seem like robots, but there’s nothing interesting about them whatsoever. There are times during the beginning of the film where it seems like they’re establishing personalities that might pay off later in the movie, but nope. Of course they don’t. Nothing pays off in this movie.

This begs the question of why they even bothered with these scenes? When a horror movie creates these uneventful points at the beginning, I always assume it’s so that they can establish their characters as likable or at least interesting so that there’s some sort of payoff later in the story. But since this film, along with many other horror films, doesn’t even do anything with their pre-established character traits, I can’t help but wonder why they even put them in the film at all.

 

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The most annoying thing about this entire movie was all the fake jump scares. Well over two-thirds of all jump scares was one of the characters unintentionally sneaking up on another character for dramatic effect. After the fourth or fifth time they did this, I became so angry because I felt that this film was cheating me of any sort of legitimate experience whatsoever.

These jump scares were made all the more worse by the fact that I constantly questioned HOW they were able to sneak up next to someone in the woods where each footstep makes a bunch of noise, and WHY they were sneaking up on each other in a woods that is said to be haunted!

 

This does not even mention the fact that all of these character are incredibly stupid. I always wonder, in these forest-based scary movies, why there’s no buddy system. These guys walk far away from their camp multiple times without making anybody go with them, and there’s so many other things that they do that are nonsensical that just so happen to conveniently cause their continuing harm or even their demise.

The product of this is that when some of these characters do eventually bite it, I don’t feel scared or horrified for them; I just throw my hands up in the air and think, “What the hell did you think was going to happen?”

 

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In regards to the “monster” there is no real method or motivation to its madness. I understand that this was the movie trying to be intentionally vague, but if they were going to make the monster hardly ever appear and make its actions nonsensical, then they should have compensated with better writing and better character development. Because they did neither of these things, Blair Witch will just go down as a bland horror movie that I will forget in a week.

 

Blair Witch provides nothing new to the horror genre and presents the bare minimum amount of scares necessary to be remotely watchable. Although there were a few elements that I found unique or interesting, they do not come close to remotely compensating for all of its downfalls, and I’m giving this movie a 4 out of 10.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Blair Witch

  1. Soooooo… I was among the people that watched the original Blair Witch in the year 2000, when it made its way to VHS tape. Admittedly, I was a wee ten year old then, but I was terrified. The movie held up to future viewings.

    It was really the movie that brought “found footage” to big screens. Prior, there may have been the occasional art house film that incorporated it, but it wasn’t mainstream. After Blair Witch did so well, of course there were copy cats, none more successful than Paranormal Activity.

    What really set Blair Witch apart at first was its marketing campaign. Back when the internet was still in its dial-up phases, the producers would stalk around college campuses and post missing posters of the cast of the movie. They would go onto message boards inquiring about the Blair Witch, and dedicated an entire website to the town of Burkettsville (I can’t spell that one without looking it up). Along with that, they basically dropped their actors off in the woods, then would proceed to slowly steal their food, wake them up in the middle of the night to purposely scare them, and purposely take away their maps.

    So largely, the original shows the actors/actresses feeling that the director/producers essentially tortured out of them. Method-Acting by force.

    I liked your review. It sounds honest and true. We’ll be watching it and putting it up for Horror Movie month – coming soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I rewatched Blair Witch Project last week. I hadn’t seen it since renting it once it hit video stores back in 2000, and I figured it would be interesting as a time capsule of what was considered scary but would ultimately feel antiquated. I was surprised, even knowing exactly where the film was going, how often it gave me goosebumps. It somehow achieves this perfect balance of not drawing too heavily from traditional film tropes while simultaneously not trying to be so realistic that we’re inundated with the banal minutiae of everyday life. It’s sparse enough that none of its mysteriousness is spoiled yet visceral enough to warrant real chills. A great film.

    But this new iteration looks awful. I don’t know how you make a sequel to the Blair Witch Project without either pumping up a lot of the first film’s charms with steroids or going in such a completely different direction that associating it with the first is nothing more than a cynical draw to get people into the theater because you think no one would see it were it under a different title (which happened with 10 Cloverfield Lane, if I’m not mistaken, though that was a good movie).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Blair Witch chose the imitation option; I’ve heard a lot of people say that Blair Witch has ALOT of the same points and beats that The Blair Witch Project had. I cannot verify this myself because I have not seen the original, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did this.

      But a lot of people have said that The Blair Witch Project is worth watching. Maybe I should check it out for myself.

      Also I thoroughly enjoyed 10 Cloverfield Lane is well!

      Like

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