Bland Witch Project

blair-witch

            Years ago, one horror movie decided to try the revolutionary technique of telling a story through the eyes of a personal camcorder.  It was new, it was interesting, and provided a fresh spin on the horror genre. Yes, the Blair Witch Project certainly put the found footage franchise on the map, if mot potentially birth the genre.  Now, seventeen years later we get another attempt at making a legitimate sequel that doesn’t end up in the raspberry category. Hi Robbie K here and I’m here to review Blair Witch, so let’s get started.

 

LIKES:

  • Creepy setting and creatures
  • Lisa is cute
  • Only 90 minutes

 

Blair Witch’s tactics for scaring have always been about using the unseen and imagination to give you a fright.  The third installment continues this trend and resorts to the nightmare  of the woods where unholy creatures have plenty of places to hide.  You’ll fill your time watching weeds, bushes, and an occasional trunk move as the demonic entity moves off camera and hunts our naïve young adults. The terrifying sounds of nature rebelling mixed with the anguished cries of the monsters gets under your skin only to be amplified by the silence that envelops leaving you feeling isolated and alone. And then BAM, you get a glimpse of the creatures involved in terror that adds that final edge to the mix.  Sure…it is not the scariest thing to grace the screen, but the realistic setting and the subtle use of special effects get the job done for making your skin crawl.

In regards to the cast, well they do alright in terms of the acting department being able to curse, scream, cry, and panic to the best of any teen horror movie. While they may not get the best actor awards, our cast certainly has the hot look down for its target audience to look at.  My particular favorite is Callie Hernandez playing Lisa the attractive film student filming the journey to find Heather.  Not only is she incredibly beautiful (or at least cute), but she is the character with the most brains and strength of the young crew.  I’m sure that others will find someone to place their bets on though, most likely based on who they find attractive. And if for no reason you can’t find a person to root for, you only have to wait about 90 minutes and then the whole ordeal is over.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Shaky Camera Work…again
  • Annoying jump scares
  • Less developed characters
  • Unanswered questions…again

 

When you think of found footage, you only hope the camera is stable enough to not give you motion sickness that leads to vomiting.  Unfortunately, Blair Witch has not been able to conquer the trend of tremor camera and this time it is primarily focused on bushes.  As our teens run through the dark woods, you’ll find yourself filling the shoes of the teenager as you collide with foliage and trip over nature. The only reprieve is the shot of our limited cast looking like hell or the fleeting image of some poor lost soul.  At least with other found footage film you get a little action or better shots of the monster. This camera work certainly makes it more realistic, but it also needed to center on the monsters  and provide some more details to fill the picture.

Because of the direction the film takes, there was also limited tactics to scare you with. While I praised the creepy setting and use of darkness to get you tense, Blair Witch resorted to jump scares as the primary means to try and wet your pants.  They timed things well at times when a loud sound or person appears on screen, but like many films they overuse this method and force it into the stale zone.  How many times do you need to see someone crash into the camera before you get bored of it?  For me it was three  before the tactic grew bland.  For those with highs strung nerves and are easily frightened, may still find themselves jumping like a Mexican jumping bean through the film.

   Of course all the jump scare tactics and shaky camera work displace any real attempt to develop our characters in this film.  We see two, maybe three of the six, provide some details to further the very thin plot, but seldom does it add any depth to the characters acting it out. While not the primary focus (I know this is a horror movie people you just want scares), I was hoping for a little more to the teenagers to help me latch on and care what fate befell them.  Yet Blair Witch has dumped any attempts at character development for shallow writing and dull camera work.

And of course, they also skimped out on providing any real answers to the questions we had so long ago. A few of the characters help provide some backstory to the all this mess and give the Blair Witch a little more bit, but outside of that…we get nothing.  Why does the forest stay dark? What exactly were those creatures in the woods? What happens to the Witch’s victims and why does she seek out victims?  So many questions and so few satisfying answers to fill those holes.

 

The Verdict:

            Blair Witch is okay, and is certainly an example of the mediocre works that found footage films are.  While the creepy environment will give you goosebumps and the cast is nice to look at, there is little more to this movie other than screaming.  The lack of details and stale jump scare tactics are unimpressive and therefore do not warrant a trip to the theater in my opinion.  Recommended audiences include: Blair Witch followers and found footage fanatics.

 

My scores are:

Horror/Thriller:  5.5-6.0

Movie Overall: 4.0

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