“… a shameful retread of the original film, with none of the charm.”
I wanted to like this movie; honestly I did. Even after seeing the mediocre review scores it was getting, I sat down in the theatre with a optimistic outlook. I tried. I tried so fucking hard to like it but it just wasn’t good.
So Blair Witch (originally announced as ‘The Woods’) takes place roughly 20 years after the original film “The Blair Witch Project”, and follows the main character’s (Heather) brother. After seeing his sister’s footage of her final moments he believes that she is still alive; even though it has been (approximately) 20 years. He begs his friend who is a film student (sound familiar?) to help him by making a documentary about their journey into the Black Hills Forest (sound really familiar?) and she agrees. For some reason four other people tag along and they go on a fun camping trip. Whoops, that’s not right; they get terrorized by the Blair Witch.
This movie made me immensely sad for multiple reason, but first we will talk about presentation. This movie, much like the first Blair Witch film, presents itself a being real. That means that someone supposedly found this footage (I’m assuming in the Black Hills Forest); and again decided to edit and release it to the public. My problem with the film arises at the fact that they must have gotten someone who was completely brain-dead to edit this film. Now, I’m aware that this metaphorical person is fictional, but I stand by my accusation that whoever edited this film was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. This is seen in many different ways, namely WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU KEEP THE VIDEO GLITCHES IN THE FINAL EDIT YOU FUCKING DUNCE. That question was rhetorical, but I need to vent. It’s not only the video glitches (which make no fucking sense by the way), but the long stretches of nothing (black screen and no audio). Seriously, it’s like they gave this footage to the local daycare centre to edit for them. But like I said, I understand some of these choices; which brings me to my next issue: jump scares.
Horror films practically rely on jump scares nowadays (not that Im longing for ‘the good old days’ or some shit) which makes me kind of sad, especially in the case of Blair Witch. The Blair Witch Project is one of my favourite horror films because it doesn’t berate you with horror; it allows a slow build over time so by the end of the film you are frozen in fear. Blair Witch does exactly the opposite. One thing I hate about current horror films is fake jump scares. You know the scene: There is a dark room, the main character is walking through it, someone pops out and scares him (and the audience), but oh! It’s just his friend. Blair Witch has that in spades, and they present themselves in such shitty ways. For example: none of the characters have audible footsteps unless they are in a scene where they don’t inexplicably jump out at the camera. I would struggle to count the amount of times that a figure popped in front of my face, only to realize that it was a stupid fucking character who apparently floated over here because even though I was sitting in a theatre with really loud audio, I didn’t hear shit. What’s even worse is the audio ‘pops’ whenever the cameras switch (which make less sense than the glitches). This is an even lazier way to scare an audience and again adds to my point that the editor forgot to wear his helmet that day. And of course I already talked about the audio and video glitches, but I’m still mad about them because they make no fucking sense. It’s a digital camera. Either the footage gets corrupted, or its fine. Don’t fuck me around with glitchy bullshit.
Despite these video glitches, these cameras are the most resilient I have ever seen. This is kind of an obvious one (if the cameras didn’t survive, there would be no movie) but Blair Witch pissed me off so much I’m going to talk about it. These cameras survive drops, water, and even have battery lives that last up to multiple days (I’m looking at you, consumer drone; I know your batter life is an hour at most). Sure there are some scenes where batteries get changed; whoops, I mean one scene. In the entire movie. But that’s alright I guess because there were about 20 fucking cameras in this film. I mean not only was the editing shit, but it kept cutting to different perspectives which made everything so disorienting. I thought the purpose of this movie was to scare you, not induce an epileptic episode. I guess I would have preferred a seizure to what I got anyway.
The rest of this review will be spoiler filled. If you don’t yet understand what I think of the movie you can skip down to my rating.
Blair Witch starts off with a message: “This footage was found in 2004, get it? This is true story too.” Or some such bullshit. What confuses me is the fact that it was never explained whether or not ‘The Blair Witch Project’ was ever released in this universe. Heather’s brother says that he’s seen the footage, but then he proceeds to get a lot of information wrong about it. If the movie was released, we could assume that all of the chatrooms would have been created. We could assume that the website was present, which detailed where Heather’s footage was found; and yet, the character mentions that “Rustin Parr’s house was never found”. Really dude? Where do you think they found your sister’s footage you fucking idiot? Maybe he was the one who edited this film.
More lore is “introduced” stating that Rustin Parr killed kids in his attic (even though we know it was his basement), and that the Blair Witch was tied to a tree. Granted we knew of that last bit, except for the fact that she was tied to a tree 20 feet in the air with rocks tied to each of her limbs. Riddle me this. When the supposed townspeople came back and she was missing form said tree, why did they assume that animals ate her? YOU JUST SAID SHE WAS 20 FEET IN THE AIR! were there dinosaurs in the 1800’s that I’m not aware of? But that’s okay, because that line was just a setup to introduce the fucking abomination that they call The Blair Witch (although I like to call her Slenderman).
So the group goes to sleep and wakes up with stick men all around them. They freak out (no shit) and decide to leave. on their way back to the car one of the group members (a Blair Witch truther) comes clean and says he made the stick men. “I know that the Blair Witch is real, and I wanted you guys to believe it too”. THEN WHY THE FUCK DID YOU MAKE THE STICK MEN?Of course when they see the stick men, they will want to leave; which means that you will never see the Blair Witch. So why did you plant the stick men?
Meanwhile, one of the characters cut her foot in the river. So what happens? a magical worm or bug or something is taking control of her body. Because what else would happen if you get a cut on your foot? You would just bleed? Get the fuck out of here. This and other questions were never answered. This is where the move started to fall apart for me. When out to get firewood, one of the 3000 characters comes across the Blair Witch, whose footsteps sound like that of a giant. Because why not. And then he disappears.
The first film, many theorize, dealt with time travel. It makes sense considering that the original group could no longer find their car, or a road. This film took that and fucking ran with it. Scratch that, it took it, got into a vehicle, and drove three states over with it. Not only does this film show the characters travel back in time (supposedly), but it shows other characters age like 10 years over the course of the film. What the fuck. You kind of have to introduce something like that before you throw me into the deep end. So a bunch of shit goes down and eventually the group gets to Rustin Parr’s house (which they still adamantly claim is NOT Rustin Parr’s house), and the go inside. This house is not the same house form the original. it looks the same from the outside, but inside the layout is completely different. Is the Blair Witch a carpenter now too? It’s like no one thought to watch the first film at all.
So one of the characters runs into Robin Williams fro Jumanji in the basement (this is the time travel guy) and gets thrown into a hole. Luckily, there is a smaller hole in this hole that can be crawled through (another new piece of lore). So she crawls through the hole and ends up back in the basement, despite not travelling in a circle. Don’t ask me. We then get to run into the attic (remember? Where Rustin Parr totally killed all of those kids). In the attic we learn that the Blair Witch only kills people that look at her, which is why Rustin Parr stood in the corner. Did you get that? WHICH IS WHY RUSTIN PARR STOOD IN THE CORNER! I feel like I’m losing my mind. We get to see some fancy bright lights, which like the leg monster, is never explained, and then we get to play hide-and-seek with Blair Witch and a flashlight. This is where we find out that the Blair Witch is fucking great at impressions and then the credits roll.
When the first Blair Witch film ended I was terrified. When this film ended I was only afraid for my life.
Ultimately, Blair Witch is a shameful retread of the original film, with none of the charm. While trying to further to story, it mutilates parts that have been beloved by many for years. It just made me sad.
I give Blair Witch a D