SPOILERS: When I heard that this new Blair Witch was coming out during Comic-Con, my expectations were set pretty high. I think that’s what ruined this movie in the end for me. I went and saw Blair Witch and I wasn’t that impressed. I’ve developed my own sort of rating system for myself, so if you haven’t read my Terminator I’ll lay it on you real quick. Three things I feel are vital to a movie are: Action, Story, and Emotion. A movie can work with any combination of these three things, but lacking in any is damaging for my overall opinion.
Putting it simply, all three are lacking in Blair Witch.
Let’s start off with action. In the original Blair Witch Project, the movie was deliberately slow. It built suspense with what little budget the filmmakers had and it worked. Nothing really happens until the end, but the descent of the characters and the creepy things that do happen along the way set the stage for the ending which is worth more than the price of admission. Blair Witch (2016), however, doesn’t really seem to understand this. It trades the slow build-up with creepy things happening for pointless jump-scares. When I say pointless, I mean, Really, Really, Really, Really pointless jump-scares. I mean the ones where there’ll be a loud noise when a character just pops out of nowhere to make sure you’re paying attention. This literally happens like three times in a row and the main character just asks everyone to stop it. Also the problem with jump-scares is that you become desensitized to anything the movie does to actually spook you at the end because it blew its load in the first hour.
This movie is only an hour and a half so that first hour should’ve gone by fast, but let me tell you it does not. Even then, when things do start to get crazy, bigger does not mean better. It’s shown in the trailers when the tent flies up in the air, the thing is, it is overkill. In the first movie, a tent shakes a bit because it was just a few guys shaking it on the outside. It was scary because you really didn’t know what was going on. With this new movie, the tent flies up in the air and people are shouting and running and it’s a big spectacle and you don’t know what’s going on, but not for the same reasons as the first movie. It’s certainly not better reasons either. There was only ever one part in here that created real tension, but I’ll go over that in a bit.
Let’s take a quick gander at the story. Why? That’s the number one question I kept asking myself the entire time I was watching this movie. First, why did they have the drone? I mean as far as logic goes, yeah it makes sense if you got lost in the woods, but it is never used for any real purpose in the plot. Like it never shows something in the distance or play any significant role other than a character dies trying to remove it from a tree. The film put so much emphasis on it, but it’s not used for anything.
Second, why did the girl who cut her foot in the river have that thing growing in her foot? Like the drone, the movie puts so much emphasis on this, but it’s never used for anything. She gets it, pulls it out of her foot and then immediately climbs a tree like she never had it. It’s never explained what it is, or what it does to her and its role in the plot. The weird foot worm curse thing is just there as a creepy shot.
Finally, why did you add time travel? It’s utterly baffling and it comes out of left field right at the end. “Wait…what?” was my reaction to this revelation. The idea that the Witch made it seem like night all the time works because that’s spooky and I can believe it because people fear the night and darkness and it’s shown that the Witch seems to feed on that. The idea that one of the characters was hiding in the house for years going around in circles or the idea that the footage found in the beginning of the movie was them, just sent back in time for them to find it is, putting it frankly, really stupid. Where does it ever establish that the Witch has some sort of time travel powers?
Ok, now that I’ve got all the “Whys” out of the way I’m just going to skip to the ending because it just angers me that much. So our remaining two survivors, Main Guy and Main Girl, trust me if you see this movie you won’t remember their names either, have figured out how not to be murdered by the Witch. They must stand in the corner and not look at it, which honestly is a cool way to incorporate the classic imagery and lore of the first movie in possible solution for our characters. Main Guy thinks he hears his sister, the girl from the first movie, and dies. Main Girl is our only survivor. She is holding a camera and turns it and the viewfinder around so she can see behind her without turning around. This is also really cool because it builds on the solution that’s been presented and it also incorporates the found-footage aspect that made movies like this popular. So maybe the movie ends on a positive note? Nope.
Literally, ten seconds after her friend bit the dust by hearing voices that weren’t there, she falls for the exact same trick. I’m sorry, as much as I want to you to live in a horror movie, but you deserve it if you die the exact same the guy next to you did when it perfectly avoidable.
Let’s just move on to emotion. To put it simply, I couldn’t remember the two main characters names, so I sure as hell don’t remember anyone else’s. That should give you a pretty good sense on the emotional attachment you feel for these characters and how much you won’t care about their demises.
So yeah, Blair Witch (2016) sucked. I’m not going to say there wasn’t good things in there. The part that I said created real tension? It was when Main Girl was crawling through the tunnels at the end and that was a legitimately terrifying moment. The part of the movie where things start to get good is unfortunately in the trailer and that’s when the wood voodoo doll is snapped in half. It’s still a pretty cool scene. Also, the final thirty minutes, while frustrating, were undeniably enjoyable in the simplest possible way.
Would I recommend this movie: No.