Blair Witch review
I’ll start by bringing up the original found footage movie that started a new trend, The Blair Witch Project. While I was not old enough to see it back in 1999, I can recall this film being one of the most talked about of the year. The marketing placed a lot of confusion on whether or not it was even real (the fake missing posters helped). Though the cats out of the bag, it created a new idea that by filming a scary movie with a gruella-like gritty quality that gave it the impression that it was created with a camcorder, the scenario suddenly seemed more real and terrifying.
With the hype long past, The Blair Witch Project tends to create two classes on the movie’s critical stance. Either they like it for being truly scary or those that don’t, see it as a gimmick that becomes stale. Regardless, it brought about Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, and lots of other found footage movies. There seems to have been a decline with less of these coming out each year. Is the genre dead? It depends if another filmmaker can bring something new. Let’s see if the return to the woods in Blair Watch can reinspire these kinds of movies.
Like the original, we get an opening message that the footage before us was recovered from the nearby woods in Burkittsville, Maryland. We then are introduced to James (played by James McCune) who is the younger brother of Heather, the film student that was lost twenty years ago in The Blair Witch Project. He believes that she’s still alive and want to go back out to find her. He’s join by a fellow filmmaker Lisa (played by Callie Hernandez) and friends Peter and Ashley. Along the way, they run into two locals Talia and Lane, who the original people that found the footage from The Blair Witch Project. They too decide to come along for their own documentary.
In addition to the several cameras they brought, they also use a drone to get a better idea of where they’re at. They also have GPSs and several things to prevent them from getting lost. Unfortunately, the Blair Witch wants to give these young adults hell for stepping her territory. Throughout the days they spend hiking, they encounter rock piles, random noises, and more of those creepy stick people around their campsites.
To be fair, Blair Witch has a lot going against it. It’s been a long time since the last one (I don’t count Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 as part of the continuity), the found footage-style is now very common and everyone now knows that the events are fake. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if this movie brings new elements to the franchise. The good news is that parts of the movie do follow up on that. The use of multiple cameras was a good one and I appreciate that this tries to follow the events of the original.
The problem here is that much of this story is a rehash of The Blair Witch Project. The formula is the same, the questioning of the events is the same, and the arguing is the same. If you’ve seen the original, then you’ll be disappointed that a lot of this is more of the same. However, the climax in the murder house looks like it’s going to repeat, but it’s atmosphere becomes terrifying (along with events in the woods with another character). It even seems to hint further about what had happened to those twenty years ago I was on the edge of my seat as things, just got crazier then the next.
I’ll give this three and a half Blair Witch stick figures out of five. As I said, fans of the original will probably dislike this for its unoriginality. Those that didn’t care for the original or never saw it may get more out of it. I would hope that another sequel can finally give us more answers. I guess that depends if people are interested enough to return to the woods.