Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast
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Blair Witch Project kick started the trend of found footage horror, it Single-handedly made the genre excel to the highest heights. In 2016 the legend returns with a remade version of the classic picture, and our Jordan Samuel provides the official review.
Film Review: Blair Witch
The Blair Witch Project was the first true horror film I saw growing up, it haunted me throughout my childhood; manly due to the realistic found footage style. No other movie had that effect on me. Those dark winter nights were awful after seeing the picture, so when it was surprisingly announced that a reboot would be made I was very optimistic. With the latest leap in technology, could a found footage movie work in the current climate?
I was scared to see a classic be remade for a modern audience.
Even the first trailer left me feeling a bit cold inside, especially with the trend of unnecessary horror remakes (Poltergeist). I was nervous to see where Blair Witch would wind up.
I have always enjoyed Adam Wingard’s direction in his movies, so Blair Witch was quite an interesting franchise for him to reboot. His horror roots made me feel at home with this decision, but how does Blair Witch stack up?
Find out as ComiConverse goes into the spooky world of the Blair Witch.
Blair Witch Synopsis:
A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James’ sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch. At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realise the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.
Blair Witch is a run of the mill cliché horror film, that boasts some good ideas but it sadly doesn’t push any new boundaries. It wouldn’t be hard to be a massive improvement from Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 – which was an awful sequel – and Blair Witch actually tries to be a decent horror film. I got the sense of disappointment when leaving the theatres. It just felt like a wasted opportunity for the franchise.
Blair Witch isn’t an awful film, by any means, with the characters feeling real (unlike many horror films), the critique come more from a scripting standpoint. Blair Witch fails in delivering anything new, instead it retreads elements from the original. The same basic premise is followed here as a group of college students venture into the Black Hills in Maryland to find a friend.
This would have been fine in 2002, but for a modern-day horror film it never really explores anything different; nor does it adequately mix-up the story-line. The original Blair Witch Project was such a groundbreaking concept, so to see this revival falling behind trends is very saddening. Wingard does try his best at developing the characters a lot more than the original did, but the character motivations leave a lot to be desired here. Many possibly intriguing elements get sidelined for a crappy teenage story filled with cliché issues (something I wished wouldn’t happen)
The opening moments showcase scenes from the original’s cabin climax, which are revealed to be YouTube footage. It delves into the social reaction to the horrible truth of Black Hills; picking up twenty years after the original film with Heather’s brother James (James Allen McCune) exploring her disappearance.
He is then helped out by his girlfriend Lisa (Callie Hernandez) who is joined also by her friends Ashley (Corbin Reid) and Peter (Brandon Scott) with some expensive camera gear. On the way James and his friends get reluctant help from some hardcore Blair Witch fanatics Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), with the latter being a standout addition to its cast. I cannot give much away in this review, but expect to see some generic jump scares and cringe-worthy dialogue, with the actual story being rather forgettable.
The film looks good, but just don’t expect anything groundbreaking; even though the found footage scenes gave me a headache similar to experiences found in the original. The cinematography is quite amateur, feeling a lot more like Paranormal Activity in the sense that everything feels like it was shot with bog-standard camera setups. The soundtrack is great and actually works well in these sequences, adding proper tension – something that was really needed.
Ultimately, Blair Witch is a run-of-the-mill horror flick, which fails at providing anything significantly new from the gimmick which has become mainstream, after grabbing headlines in 1999. It may be a cut above the previous Blair Witch sequel, but it just falls in that straight to the DVD shelf category of films.
I would wait for the Christmas DVD sales before going to grab this one.
Have you seen the Blair Witch?
What are your thoughts on the revival of this franchise?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Jordan Samuel is a Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him Twitter: @JordanESamuel
Ultimately, Blair Witch is a run-of-the-mill horror flick, which fails at providing anything significantly new from a gimmick that has become mainstream, after grabbing headlines in in the 1990’s.