It seems as though 2016 is the year for collaborating characters in movies, remaking movies, or creating sequels to movies from the past. In the case of Blair Witch, it is creating a sequel to a movie from the late ’90s called The Blair Witch Project. Although the movie is supposed to be a continuation of the popular movie from 1999, it seems as though Blair Witch is just a copycat that brings no new elements to the table. It follows the original almost too precisely that at certain times it’s almost as if the film is more attempting to draw out memories from its predecessor than to stand on it’s own and offer new material.
The movie begins when a young college man and a few of his close friends decide to venture out into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland in hopes of uncovering the mystery that surrounds his missing sister, Heather Donahue. Her rather odd disappearance from 17 years earlier had led many to believe that it was connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. The group seems to be extremely hopeful towards the beginning of the film, especially when two locals offer to guide them through the dark and haunting woods. As the night becomes evident, a visit from an eerie presence soon makes them realize that the legend of the Blair Witch may be all too true.
Perhaps for someone who has never seen The Blair Witch Project, this movie could be a decently scary movie. However, Blair Witch seems to tip its hat to the original without fully rediscovering its power. Trying to bring an old story to a new generation can’t be totally bad, but it can’t be totally good either. It simply lacks a new, fresh angle.
Another thing that made this movie hard to watch was all the hard-to-follow camera shots. The characters in this film are making a documentary about their adventure in the Black Hills Woods, which means almost all of the camera shots are through the eyes of the videographer, or in this case, one of the characters. Nonetheless, having that kind of perspective in a movie is a great element to use, but only if it is done the correct way. I personally found the movie difficult to watch because of the camera shots. I believe it may be nothing more than a sophisticated clone of the original.
Although Blair Witch hasn’t been getting as much attention as the original one back in ’99, it’s still a good scary movie and I’ll admit it made me jump a few times. The movie starts out with a somewhat creepy scene and it really makes you wonder if you are going to make it out of the theatre in one piece. After that opening scene though, things drastically slow down and it takes quite a while for them to pick back up again. I personally found myself getting kind of bored for the first twenty minutes or so of the movie. However, the house towards the end of the movie was incredibly well done on the scary side of things. It really lets off a “don’t go in there!” vibe.
So, I think it’s fair to say that even though it is so comparable to the original, it doesn’t even compare, but it will give you a good scare. Director Adam Wingard had quite a bit to live up to when it came to the original classic, but if you enjoy oddly terrifying films with incredibly boring introductions, I imagine Blair Witch might be the perfect film for you.