Review: “Blair Witch” Feels Too Much Like the Original





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Posted September 23, 2016 by

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I had a friend the other night that was telling me he loved horror movies, but there’s just not a lot of good ones out there that he’s seen lately. This sent me into a ten minute speech where I listed as many titles as I could and as many creators as I could that are changing the face of horror. Names like S. Craig Zahler, Mickey Keating, Mike Flanagan, and what I consider to be the best writer/director combo at the moment: Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. When I heard that the latter was making “Blair Witch” I couldn’t have been more excited. With titles like “V/H/S/”, “You’re Next” and “The Guest” under their belt, I couldn’t wait to see what they were going to do with “Blair Witch”: a title that lends a rich backstory and the freedom to do really whatever you want. Unfortunately what I got was what was more of the same of what I already saw in 1999. A group of young people going out to the Black Hills and getting lost along the way and terrorized by an unseen entity. I will admit, this go around was much much louder than the original so it did change that part up. The rest of the film felt too familiar for me to really get invested or even be scared by what was going on. I had already heard the cracking branches that seemed to be coming from every direction, I’d already been inside the house of the witch and seen the handprints on the walls, and I’ve definitely already watched a group of people fail miserably and cry into the camera.

This isn’t a remake, mind you. This is a continuation of the story that we first got in 1999 with “The Blair Witch Project”. In that film, Heather Donahue and her friends Joshua and Michael went out to the woods to document anything they could find about the witch and prove the folktales true. In this new film, it’s Heather’s brother James (James Allen McCune) that gets together a group of friends and multiple cameras after a video was found out in the woods that James believes he caught a glimpse of his long lost sister in. The rest of the movie is exactly what you think it will be.

I don’t blame Wingard and Barrett for wanting to revisit this story; for any fan of the horror genre, “The Blair Witch Project” (whether you love it or hate it) was a game changer. Original creators Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez were able to terrify audiences and get them to actively participate in the experience of the film. They went so far as to create interactive websites and a complete history behind what could have easily been thought of as a throw away film. and if you read long enough you may just start to believe it’s all true. They did all the heavy lifting and any creators that come after them are only tasked with making their version original as well. What I didn’t want to see is what I got with “Blair Witch”. At the very least build upon what was already there; maybe do a prequel to the story instead of a sequel. Just make it different.

There aren’t any scary parts to this movie, or any imagery that will stick in your mind after you’re done watching it. There are just, like I said, very loud noises. Everything is loud. I guess if that frightens you then you’re in for a treat. There are also multiple shots of their droid hovering in the air and looking down on them and you get to listen to its motor whir at an annoyingly loud level.

I’m sure Wingard’s and Barrett’s next project will blow my mind and I’ll be right back to loving everything they do; “Blair Witch” just feels like a speed bump in what was otherwise a very smooth ride.





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