Blair Witch (2016)

blair witch poster 2016 movie
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 3/10

Not much

Loses any mystique that the original film had

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Blair Witch

Studio:   Room 101

Genre(s):   Horror

Release Date(s):   September 11, 2016 (Toronto International Film Festival)/September 16, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating:   R

blair witch james donahue woods james allen mccune

Good to see that stupidity runs in the Donahue family

James Donahue (James Allen McCune) has always questioned what happened to his sister Heather who disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville while on a video project researching the Blair Witch.  When James finds evidence that Heather could still be alive in the woods, he puts together a team of his friends to go to the woods with a new search and new technology to answer his questions.  With his friends Lisa (Callie Hernandez), Peter (Brandon Scott), and Ashley (Corbin Reid), James enters the woods guided by locals Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry)…but getting out of the woods could pose a problem.

Directed by Adam Wingard, Blair Witch is a soft reboot/sequel to the original The Blair Witch Project from 1999.  The film was largely panned, but it did receive a strong return at the box office.

blair witch lisa under house callie hernandez

Scarier than most of the movie…and no monster

The Blair Witch Project (like it or not) was innovative.  It took the idea of found footage and documentary horror to a new level and recognized the power of online marketing.  Over the years many have followed the film in style and presentation…but many failed to capture what people liked about the original.  Despite tons of room for innovation, Blair Witch has the same problems of the original plus the problems of the films that followed it.

Blair Witch has a lot of the original film’s style but loses the innovative storytelling.  Not many people knew what to expect with The Blair Witch Project, and some left the theater thinking it was actually real.  This isn’t the case with found footage films now.  You know what to expect and you get what you expect…a poorly assembled story with horror that isn’t really developed because of how the story is told…plus, a lot of predictability.

blair witch lisa callie hernandez monster ending

Oh look a Slender Man looking monster like in every found footage film…

The cast also is consistent with the original film and this isn’t a good thing.  The original cast of The Blair Witch weren’t very good actors (but that somewhat added to the mystique of the original film).  Here, you expect more from the cast because of advancements.  Even some of the worst found-footage film have believable casts.  Here, the cast is a cliché and doesn’t live past the cliché.

Visually, I really, really wanted more.  You finally get a few short glimpses of the Blair Witch but that is about all.  The addition of drone technology doesn’t develop into anything good, and better camera equipment also isn’t utilized.  It is just the same shaky, dark video of the first film in the least threatening woods ever.  It isn’t fun or particularly scary (and then you add a weird alien light to the mix and time travel…huh?)

Blair Witch was kind of what I expected because I didn’t love the first Blair Witch…but I at least admired what The Blair Witch Project was able to do through viral marketing and really working the idea of horror documentary.  I gave it a chance however since I like some of the films of the people behind the relaunch.  I just wish I had stayed out of the woods for other reasons.

Related Links:

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Book of Shadows:  Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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