Movie Review: Blair Witch (2016)

“There’s something evil hiding in the woods.”

0 Stars
Blair Witch (2016)

Blair Witch (2016)


Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid

Synopsis: The younger brother of a girl who disappeared in a wood that is rumoured to be haunted retraces her steps in the hope of finding out what happened to her.

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Blair Witch doggedly follows in the footsteps of The Blair Witch Project in much the same way that James Donahue (James Allen McCune) follows in the steps of his older sister, Heather, who, 20 years earlier, disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland.   Presumably, young James never saw the first movie, because the trigger that persuades him to launch a search for his sister is a brief glimpse of her in YouTube footage filmed from inside a derelict house in the heart of the woods in which she disappeared.   He’s joined on his mission by Lisa (Callie Hernandez – Machete Kills), a student filmmaker working on a documentary about the Blair Witch phenomenon, and his two friends, Peter (Brandon Scott – Stand Up Guys) and Ashley (Corbin Reid).

Once in Maryland, the four of them hook up with Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), the local couple who posted the film on the internet, who insist that they will only reveal the location if they’re allowed to tag along.   So, after giving no consideration to the possible consequences of retracing the steps of a group of people who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the six of them wander into the forbidding and uncharted woods like kittens skipping into a dog pound.   Of course, it’s not long before a series of weird occurrences considerably dampens their collective mood…

Technology has picked up a pace since the 20th Century, so James and his mates are equipped with mini head cameras and a drone, all of which do them no good whatsoever once they have ventured into the woods.    Of course, the cameras simply record their growing consternation turning to chest-squeezing terror when the weird stuff starts going down, while the drone merely confirms the hopelessness of their situation before conking out.   Sadly, those who saw The Blair Witch Project won’t be greatly alarmed by all this strangeness as most of it is nothing more than a repeat of Heather and her two companions’ experiences.   Day does yield to night on a permanent basis, which adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere, but it also provokes a level of panic amongst our protagonists which prompts them to monotonously yell one another’s name as they blunder about in the dwindling light of their torches.

For a sequel to have any worth it must add something to the storyline developed by its predecessor, but Blair Witch is interested only in recreating what it considers to be the most effective moments from the first movie.   The young cast give a decent account of themselves, but their characters are so thinly drawn that, instead of worrying about what’s going to happen to the m, we find ourselves impatiently waiting for them to meet their fates.   The Blair Witch Project was no classic, but it did at least set a trend in horror filmmaking that is still going strong after nearly twenty years, so your time would be better spent giving that one a rerun.

(Reviewed 13th October 2016)





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