Nostalgic, Modern Rehash
Snoogans - wrote on 09/19/16
'Blair Witch' is the late sequel to the massively popular/polarizing memorable 'found-footage' hallmark film. After watching this continuation, it's clear that the filmmakers only purpose was to pay tribute to the original. In that regard, you could say they succeeded. This is essentially a beat-for-beat retread of 'The Blair Witch Project' with a modern twist. It's a nostalgia trip for fans done in a way that resembles the more fast paced, constant running/screaming, and loud noise filled tropes of the current glut of 'found-footage' flicks. I like very few actual films in this recently overdone sub-genre and 'Blair Witch' does little to stand out from them besides it's strong ties to the original. When the film focuses on expanding the series' mythology and recreating that same sense of weariness of being lost in the woods with an unknown/unseen entity, it works. There are some really effective moments... in the finale. It finishes strong with an elongated chase through a house that got me on edge. The use of camera angles and subtle frightening images was on point. However, all of the attempts at scares leading up to this event were pretty poor. Can't forgive those awful fake jump scares that only exist in the 'found-footage' genre in which characters loudly intrude upon the one person with the camera, startling them for no reason. This movie does have some clever additions such as the massively updated camera system involving multiple POV hands free recording from half of the group, as well as a slick handheld one with a mic, a drone, and even a GPS. Of course, nothing outside of the POV cams becomes useful, as everything stops working immediately due to unknown reasons (script issues). The characters absolutely unmemorable and underwritten. They have a semi-legit reason for being there, but they don't accomplish anything besides getting freaked out and dying. The expanding mythology and tense finale are the only positives worth mentioning. If the film had sustained that level of fright from the beginning, I'd be much more forgiving. It basically ends right when things start to finally get good.