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Review: Blair Witch

Blair Witch
09.16.2016
7 10

Blair Witch review Adam Wingard Simon Barrett horror Lionsgate

PLOT: James, the younger brother of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT's Heather Donahue, receives a video that appears to show the infamous footage of her final days in the haunted Black Hills Forest, where the fabled Blair Witch resides. Setting out with a group of friends and two strangers who know the area, James plunges into the woods to find out what really happened to his sister.

REVIEW: I was definitely among those on THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT bandwagon when it first came out in 1999. For me, the fear of the unknown is much realer than any masked stalker, and that little movie's effective toying with our emotions was one of the more startling theatrical experiences I had had up until that point. Obviously, having seen it multiple times since, the film has lost some of its initial power, but I still can't forget how much it stuck with me that summer.

Blair Witch review Adam Wingard Simon Barrett horror Lionsgate

Now we have BLAIR WITCH, which I actually saw months ago when it was still known as THE WOODS. Walking into the screening room, I had no idea I was about to see a BWP sequel (in the same exact screening room as the first one, no less!), but I was happily surprised when it started and it became immediately clear that I was getting the long-awaited follow-up. (No, BLAIR WITCH 2 doesn't exactly count.) Does it have the same raw power as the original? No. It's scarier, I suppose, just because director Adam Wingard is more skilled at suspense and filmmaking than Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick were back in the day, but it's still just a found footage movie, which we're all so very used to at this juncture. That's not a hard knock on the film - it works on its level - but I think we've seen so many films of this ilk by now that it's near impossible to find any new tricks up this particular sleeve. Even the addition of a drone and go-pro cameras don't add too much to the proceedings, the name of the game is unaltered: run, scream, whimper, freak out, repeat.

Like the original, BLAIR WITCH is fairly simple in set-up and execution. The group is a bit larger this time, and there's an element of tension among them because two of their number are slightly suspicious outsiders, but once they get lost in the woods the payoffs are basically the same. If you're anti-found footage, BLAIR WITCH isn't going to convert you, but if you're willing to be patient with the format, Wingard rewards you with a handful of nerve-jangling spooks. The original didn't rely on jump scares to goose the audience, but Wingard employs them well, and I can't deny I was jolted more than once and left appreciative of the experience. Jump scares get a bad rap in the horror community because it's easy to dismiss them as "cheap," but it's always fun when they're done right. James Wan knows how to utilize them, and so does Wingard here. I will say, however, that the movie isn't as fun as Wingard's THE GUEST or as thrilling as his YOU'RE NEXT. If anything, BLAIR WITCH is a bit of a step backward, but there is the sense Wingard just had to get this one out of him, so you can't get too worked up over it.

Blair Witch review Adam Wingard Simon Barrett horror Lionsgate

As for the cast, they're... fine. No one here really stands out, and they are perhaps slightly less realistic than the original batch of actors, whose naturalistic performances lent BLAIR WITCH PROJECT an added sense of haunting immediacy. You can predict that this gang isn't going to fare too well in those woods, so there isn't much in the way of surprises in store; it's more about how they'll get theirs. There's one really cool death scene that has unfortunately been spoiled in the trailers, but it was a sincere shocker when I first saw it. There's also a honey of a freaky sequence where a character is wedged in a tunnel (also spoiled in the trailers) that is one of the more unnerving scenes I've seen in a horror movie this year.

BLAIR WITCH is a solid rendition of an old song. Not an instant classic or guaranteed to be spoken of fawningly in 20 years, but you get what you expect... if you expect a found footage movie with some decent scares.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:20PM on 09/17/2016

50/50

What made the original Blair Witch Project great was the fear of the unknown. What you didn't see scared the sh*t out of you. I watched it before seeing Blair Witch, and I'm happy to say, IMO, it still holds up very well.

Blair Witch had the opportunity to really try and build off of this and hold itself higher than all of the recent found-footage films, but ended up succumbing to the same structure of all the rest. While it had some good scares and decent suspense, the film's story felt
What made the original Blair Witch Project great was the fear of the unknown. What you didn't see scared the sh*t out of you. I watched it before seeing Blair Witch, and I'm happy to say, IMO, it still holds up very well.

Blair Witch had the opportunity to really try and build off of this and hold itself higher than all of the recent found-footage films, but ended up succumbing to the same structure of all the rest. While it had some good scares and decent suspense, the film's story felt convenient, but worked for the plot. All in all, not bad but I wish they thought this out a little better in execution. Blair Witch Project is basically the mother of the found-footage genre, and Blair Witch didn't do anything to uphold it's legacy other than giving us a little more story and leaving nothing to the imagination.
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5:48PM on 09/17/2016
It was serviceable, but it didn't further the mythology in any way, shape, or form. Basically, it adds one or two twilight zone-like elements into the mix, but doesn't go anywhere plot-wise with those elements. What it does do is make a choice to completely embrace a supernatural angle instead of leaving you thinking the whole thing could of been the work of some psycho living in the woods, (the first film left this more open to interpretation). Besides that decisive choice, this sequel follows
It was serviceable, but it didn't further the mythology in any way, shape, or form. Basically, it adds one or two twilight zone-like elements into the mix, but doesn't go anywhere plot-wise with those elements. What it does do is make a choice to completely embrace a supernatural angle instead of leaving you thinking the whole thing could of been the work of some psycho living in the woods, (the first film left this more open to interpretation). Besides that decisive choice, this sequel follows the formula established by the first to a tee, including the fucking ending. Seriously, why even do a sequel- never-mind a sequel 18 years after the fact-if you're not really going to add anything to the story? Any new plot point brought up or added to the story, (drone anyone?) isn't utilized in way that could shake things up. Technically competent, filled with far too many false boo-scares, and tired from using an old formula; the Blair Witch only succeeds when treated like a theme park ride with the requisite amount of scares. That is the consensus I think most will come to on this flick.
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1:47AM on 09/17/2016
Movie sucked!
Movie sucked!
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6:10PM on 09/16/2016

4/10

Last night leaving the theater after seeing this, was probably the most disappointed I've been in a long time. The reviews everywhere have been praising this as a game changer. That 7/10 above is probably the lowest score I've see given to it online. But this just felt like a straight to dvd remake disguised as a sequel. Can be compared to that new Cabin Fever abomination. Fake jump scares galore for the first half of the film. Then key plot points like a particular character's injury are just
Last night leaving the theater after seeing this, was probably the most disappointed I've been in a long time. The reviews everywhere have been praising this as a game changer. That 7/10 above is probably the lowest score I've see given to it online. But this just felt like a straight to dvd remake disguised as a sequel. Can be compared to that new Cabin Fever abomination. Fake jump scares galore for the first half of the film. Then key plot points like a particular character's injury are just completely abandoned and deemed utterly pointless. The tunnel scene was a time filler and some of the acting (Lane) was just atrocious. It was nice seeing the house again, still has the creep factor going for it and I like how they added to the lore of the stick figures (Best scene, you'll know which one). Overall though, this was such a let down, especially after all of the high praise received. Stick with the original folks.
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6:49PM on 09/16/2016
High praise? There was definitely some positive early notices, but critics are slamming this - 38% on Rotten Tomatoes.
High praise? There was definitely some positive early notices, but critics are slamming this - 38% on Rotten Tomatoes.
6:52PM on 09/16/2016
Now the real reviews are coming in and the scores been dropping like a rock. But the overwhelmingly positive reviews were from months back, playing at film festivals and early screenings.
Now the real reviews are coming in and the scores been dropping like a rock. But the overwhelmingly positive reviews were from months back, playing at film festivals and early screenings.
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2:58PM on 09/16/2016
Since Jimmy O's review back when this was first announced, i had been waiting for this thing.

Gotta be honest, although i definitely enjoyed it.. but it was a bit disappointed.

The ending left me a bit annoyed, they could have done something so much more than the way they ended it. They had questions that really were not answered.

enjoyable, but needed a bit more to really be great
Since Jimmy O's review back when this was first announced, i had been waiting for this thing.

Gotta be honest, although i definitely enjoyed it.. but it was a bit disappointed.

The ending left me a bit annoyed, they could have done something so much more than the way they ended it. They had questions that really were not answered.

enjoyable, but needed a bit more to really be great
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1:54PM on 09/16/2016

Built on the mythology

Overall, I enjoyed what the film for what it was. It was easily better than the original, my only issue was showing what the Blair Witch looks like.
Overall, I enjoyed what the film for what it was. It was easily better than the original, my only issue was showing what the Blair Witch looks like.
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9:51AM on 09/18/2016
Personally, I didn't think it went anywhere with the mythology except for sprinkling in a few details here and there. What I liked about the first film was that it left things completely open to interpretation. The one thing this new film does which could be considered a bold choice is limit the explanation to something firmly rooted in the supernatural. Besides making that decision, what the filmmakers did here was akin to giving an old car a new paint job without working on anything under the
Personally, I didn't think it went anywhere with the mythology except for sprinkling in a few details here and there. What I liked about the first film was that it left things completely open to interpretation. The one thing this new film does which could be considered a bold choice is limit the explanation to something firmly rooted in the supernatural. Besides making that decision, what the filmmakers did here was akin to giving an old car a new paint job without working on anything under the hood. The formula is mostly the same, except now it's tired because so many other found footage films have followed the same path in the 18 years since the original Blair Witch Project came out. I have to respectfully disagree with you on this film being superior to the original as well. I think that's mostly because when the first film debuted, its approach was new and novel, simple yet scary. I can't give this new film a higher recommendation because it came in with a shiny new paint job and little else. It needed to do something surprising, perhaps a little more risky with its formula, to win me over. It satisfied me as a basic horror movie theme park ride and nothing else. Also, why does the Blair Witch stomp around like Godzilla and throw trees at people now? lol.
1:44PM on 09/16/2016
Generous 5/6 for me
Generous 5/6 for me
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11:48AM on 09/16/2016
7/10 sounds better than I expected.
7/10 sounds better than I expected.
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