Blair Witch

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Blair Witch
2016
Directed by Adam Wingard
Starring James Allen McCune and Callie Hernandez
In Theaters Now

I wanted to like Blair Witch. I really did. I wouldn’t call myself a “die hard” fan of the original, Blair Witch Project, but I still contend that it’s one of the most inventive and deeply chilling horror films of all time. While it may have more or less kickstarted the “found footage” genre, it made smart choices. Perhaps part of the charm of the Blair Witch Project is that it wasn’t hampered by all the cliches that have become so commonplace in the found footage genre. Or maybe it was because it was smartly written, brilliantly acted and while it had some creepy elements it made you create the horror in your own mind. A lot of people I’ve met who don’t like the Blair Witch Project, aren’t that smart. And while I wouldn’t contend that you have to intelligent to understand it, the more you allow your mind to wander, the more you can create something pretty terrifying out of that 1999 film.

Which brings us to the sequel. While this is technically the third film in the Blair Witch series, the less that’s said about Blair Witch 2: Electric Boogaloo, the better. That film took a meta approach weaving the movie and a traditional horror plot together for something what wasn’t satisfying on any level. Blair Witch (2016) has the benefit of going back to what worked in the original. Unfortunately, it far too often strays into the same problems that have bogged down the genre since the original.

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One of the things I did like about this movie is that it’s a nicely devised concept. Heather from the original Blair Witch (sadly no cameo) had a kid brother that we never saw. He’s grown up wondering what really happened to his sister and is convinced to go out to the Black Hills to find her. Of course, there’s some plot holes you could drive a semi-truck through as well. For example, Heather’s brother James, isn’t the one on the quest, but rather his friend Lisa is. She’s also making a documentary, because, of course.

Naturally we know that these characters are going to end up in the woods and bad things are going to happen. I don’t think I really need to give spoiler warnings, because nothing in this movie is really going to be spoiled by mentioning these particular plot points. I mean, everyone knows that there will be creepy woods stuff in a movie about the Blair Witch.  Continue reading