PLOT: 20 years after his sister vanished in the Burkittsville woods, searching for the Blair Witch, a young man and his friends set out to try and find her.
I’m a fan of the original film, The Blair Witch Project. I probably haven’t seen it in about 15 years, but I think it’s still an iconic film in the world of horror and independent cinema. Moreso, its influence on viral marketing can still be seen today. That said, I’m not sure a sequel was really all that necessary, and after seeing what Blair Witch had to offer, I still can’t help but feel that way.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think Blair Witch is a poor film; I think Adam Wingard does a pretty decent job directing this and he’s able to really make you feel the dread that lurks around every corner, but the payoffs are cheap. People jump out of the darkness for no reason on multiple occasions, oftentimes accompanied by a sound that can’t be placed diagetically. It’s not quite a cat lurking in the closet, but it’s the middle-of-the-woods equivalent.
Because of this, none of the thrills stick with you. The originally film was able to leave you with chills for days, simply with the imagery of someone standing in the corner of an unfinished basement. This one, with a much bigger budget, can’t seem to pull off the same amount of worthwhile scares. Sure, I jumped a couple of times, but so what? I jump when I’m making popcorn.
There’s some grossness when a girl gets a cut on her foot and then something burrows underneath her skin (which, I might add, is completely inconsequential to the story), but that’s it.
Gore Rating: 1 out of 5
This film does a good job of ratcheting up the tension, which they achieve by using the whole found footage aesthetic to their advantage. And being pretty claustrophobic, this is the first film that offered a scene that I literally could not watch. Unfortunately, a lot of the tension payoffs are red herring jump scares that feel extremely cheap. Like, why do characters jump out at other characters when they didn’t answer to their name being called for five minutes?
Scare Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Sex/Nudity Rating: 0 out of 5
This movie got a lot of hate when it first came out and subsequently tanked at the box office. It’s surprising to me, not because it’s a particularly good film, but it’s pretty run-of-the-mill. Maybe people hold the original in higher regard than I thought, but this is just an unremarkable 90-minute horror film. It’s really cheap with the jump scares, but it’s also pretty intense. I can’t say I would recommend it, but I wouldn’t say avoid it, either.
Overall Rating: 5.5 out of 10