I’ve been holding off writing this review in an attempt to wait for the dust to settle – the release of this ‘sequel’ was always going to be met with a fifty-fifty response from fans of the original.
Whilst it is linked (directly) to the original film I thought it was important to watch it (and review it) as it’s own identity…something tells me I’m one of the only people to have done this! 🙂
I also think it’s important to point out that Myrick and Sánchez decided to take a ‘back seat ride’ with this movie and leave the direction in the capable hands of Adam Wingard (he directed You’re Next and The Guest).
So with this in mind, the movie was always going to have a slightly different flavor to the original.
Still, look on the bright side…at least there was no danger of it ending up like Book of Shadows…
I don’t actually know why I’m even bothering to include the plot as most of you are already more than familiar with the film! But I like to stick to a template of sorts, so here we go…
After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his vanished sister Heather (the snotty girl from the first film!), James and a group of friends head to the forest believed to be inhabited by the Blair Witch.
James is obviously a bit of a dumb f##k…
Mixing it up a Bit!
I thought I’d handle this subject first as I’m still in two minds as to whether or not it was a good direction for the movie to travel in.
The film sort of ‘leans’ on a couple of Found Footage genres throughout it’s running time and I’m unsure why this is?
It’s clever – definitely clever…but it lacks any solid sort of explanation?
For some reason the Blair Witch entity seems to be a bit wrapped up in a ‘Bigfoot feel’ at times…almost as if they stole a few scenes from Bobcat Goldthwait’s Willow Creek.
On top of that the conclusion of the film seems to point towards an alternative dimension wrapped up in a bit of UFO activity?
I felt this was a gamble – and by reception the film has received…I don’t know if this gamble has worked out entirely in it’s favor.
I should stop at this point and let the reader know that I enjoyed this film, along with this brave new gamble…but I can see why so many people did not follow suit!
Okay…jump scares are a relatively new addition to the Found Footage genre and they do have the tendency to work and work well – no difference here really!
The only problem I have with this movie’s ‘jump moments’ is the sheer amount they pump into the first 45 minutes or so of the running time!
If I was a 60 year old dude with a pacemaker watching this I would have taken a dirt nap by the 30 minute mark – was there really a need for so many jump scares?
I suppose it’s down to the cinema side of things – these ‘jump outta your seat moments’ work really well when a couple of hundred people all flinch and scream at the same time!
This Blair Witch offering was originally filmed under the working title of The Woods to make sure that fans of the franchise would have no real idea what was coming up – it worked.
Director Adam Wingard was fully aware of the fuss that would surround a Blair Witch sequel made 17 years after the original…so he ‘controlled’ it’s existence.
We only knew about the upcoming Blair Witch release when HE WANTED US TO. That was a pretty good move in my book!
What the doubters need to realize is that this movie needed to stay true to Myrick and Sánchez’s style, but at the same time offer something modern.
Remember – this is seventeen years later…that’s a whole new generation of teenagers that needed to taste the Blair Witch flavor!
The film is definitely built on a back-to-basics method with a modern injection of effects that were not available to Myrick and Sánchez back in the late 90’s.
I have no problem with the use of these modern effects but I do have a slight problem with actually seeing the Blair Witch entity (if I can call it that?).
The original film relied entirely on the three protagonists and the audiences invested in them 100%. There was no need to actually see the Witch – that’s what made it so frightening!
I didn’t need to see the Witch – that sort of spoiled something from my youth…the mental picture is now gone…and it ain’t coming back!
But that is the only real gripe I have with this film – the ‘project’ as a whole was VERY enjoyable.
Once the party of friends enter the woods there is no room left for humor or teenage angst as the tension builds almost instantly.
Thankfully this Blair Witch offering has wiped Book of Shadows off the slate and we can now all look forward to a handful of worthwhile sequels (which are sure to follow).
Not what I expected but worth the wait. A brave move to dive back in 17 years later and an overall success.