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Blair Witch (2016) – Movie Review

Blair Witch (2016) - Movie Review

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

The Plot

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!

Jump Scares

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!

Conclusion

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.

Chris

16 Comments

  1. Hey Chris, first of all HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody!!!
    Finally we got rid of this shitty Ass called “Year 2016” !!!

    But back to topic 🙂
    i watched it couple of days ago and was really curious about it because as you mentioned it before, i think they needed big balls to go back to maryland and wake up the witch again.
    I kept my expectations low (honestly i thought the movie would be a disaster) and so it worked out for me pretty well. It wasn´t great but enjoyable till the end.
    I am afraid that they might ruin the whole “blair witch” myth if the keep going on pre- /sequels.
    But who knows…

    Greetings N

    • Well happy new year Noel – great to have you back here again! 🙂

      I think the sequels are definitely coming from what I’ve heard. But for some reason the new directors are set on trying to convince everyone there will be no more Blair Witch films…which stinks of bullsh#t to me!

    • Thanks Chris,
      Its a little bit like coming home every time 🙂

      If there will bring up more Blair Witch stuff (100% they will) then I got no other choice then watching it anyway…. Although I´m very skeptical.

    • Hi Milan & Stuart – sorry for the late reply!

      I have to be honest with you – I think that this Wingard and Barret are making it up as they go along! They’ve also claimed there are going to be no sequels…which is also apparently bullsh#t?

      I’m not really sure what that ‘thing’ is in the movie but I do know it SHOULDN’T OF BEEN THERE.

      The whole basis of Blair Witch is that you don’t get to see ANYTHING – that’s what makes it frightening. This Wingard and Barret have seemed to completely overlook this fact…but I still really enjoyed the film.

      I am seriously hoping that Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick get in on the next film a little more – maybe move out of the ‘executive’ chair as this film had a lot of GREAT moments!

      I’m just really pissed that they showed something supernatural on-screen LOL – that’s not the Blair Witch way!!!! 🙂

      • I agree with you there, they shouldn’t of shown a fully fledged Supernatural Entity (If that is what it was). I personally would of just shown a quick glimpse of a shadow at most just to evolve the movie and not make it the same as the first one. They didn’t need to make it about brother of Heather at all, all they needed is just some campers go to the woods and thinking that the Blair Witch is bullshit. If they make another Blair Witch movie then have it focus on the Police and Trackers and how they go to the woods to try and find the missing people from this movie and have it filmed via the Police body cameras.

        • That’s a pretty good shout actually – I like the idea of the police and trackers being the center of attention in the next film. Interesting concept…

  2. Chris, i was totally frustrated when i saw the witch. I thought ‘wtf! they’ve made the legendary Blair Witch looks so cliche, this is stupid!’. However, in an interview Wingard and Barett also were frustrated people think they see the witch on screens. They said that was not the witch, it was something like a witch’s minion. The witch does not have specific form. She is the power behind the woods. My best bet that the long legged we saw was Heather. As the end you can hear that James heard Heather’s voice and turned. I’m not sure since Wingard and Barret didn’t give a clear explanation of the entity, but it’s certainly not the witch, and i’m glad they play this card.

    • Hi Narasith,

      Sorry for the delay – I responded to this subject above (but you weren’t to know as I was slow moderating the comments!). I think Wingard and Barett are a little bit lost in the woods at the moment – they are making it up as they go along!

      I like this idea of the ‘creature’ being Heather – I’ve heard that many times over the last few weeks and it seems logical.

      I am completely pissed that they showed the creature on-screen though – this is a mistake you can’t ever rectify. Blair Witch is frightening because you cannot see anything – they’ve lost that trait now and they won’t get it back.

      If you take the creature out of the film would it have made any difference? Nope, not at all.

      So the visual of the creature should never really have been there in the first place…

      A shame but it is what it is…

      • Agree. They can add a creature in the movie…in some certain mysterious and obscure form, not in this figure!

        • Good stuff! Love it when people agree with me (because I’m that arrogant LOL) 🙂

          I was wondering if any of you have watched that ‘Encounter’ yet (2016 apparently). The reviews are pretty shit on it but I might give it a go later tonight…if my son ever decides he’s tired and goes to f##king bed!

  3. Now that a lot of people vented their hate for actually seeing the Blair Witch. In the 90’s I bought a Blair Witch figure and it sort of looked like the creature in the movie. I guess it didn’t bother me because I always assumed that the Blair Witch had many forms. Of course that’s in my own mind. So I think that I should direct the next Blair Witch. I believe a die hard fan could make a kick ass sequel to this Blair Witch with some funding. I guess a lot of critics didn’t like Blair Witch. One put it on his ten worst movies of 2016. Either he is a fool or maybe just a huge fan of the original? Anyway. As usual great review!

    • I find it mad that someone (a so-called critic) would put this on their ten worst films of the year (2016). He/she has to be a Found Footage hater…and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to review them!

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