Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Film Review: Blair Witch (2016)

Blair Witch (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: FandangoNow
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...most of the movie is underwhelming and disappointing."

After discovering footage of his missing sister, James (James Allen McCune) and his friends enter the Black Hills forest believed to be inhabited by the legendary Blair Witch...

Blair Witch is a sequel to the 1999 found-footage film. However, it also sort of feels like a remake due to the similar plot. So, there's a group of friends: James, Lisa (Callie Hernandez), Peter, and Ashley. James believes he has found footage (Like the genre! You get it?) of his sister, Heather, who vanished in the Black Hills forest when he was a child. Seizing the opportunity, Lisa agrees to help James explore the forest so she can make a documentary for school. So, along with another pair who serve as their guides, the group enters the woods and things happen. I emphasize things because this is another film where you don't really see anything. It leads to a ferocious, fast-paced climax and an interesting ending.

Blair Witch is, unfortunately, a mediocre film. I'm not the biggest fan of the original, but I appreciate it and I enjoy it. This film is a generic contemporary found footage film that doesn't know if it wants to be a sequel or a remake. Aside from some tidbits about the Blair Witch legend, the plot is not interesting. The characters are also generic; some of them are douchebags, too. There are some suspenseful scenes and some eerie visuals towards the end. Otherwise, the film is completely reliant on obnoxious loud noise jump-scares – and none of them work. It's just characters running into the camera over and over – and over. I think they scare the actors more than the audience. The characters scream and run, but it never feels ominous. The final act fixes some of its issues, but it still doesn't leave a strong impression.

The acting was good during most of the film. However, none of these actors can portray fear effectively. Screaming at the top of your lungs, making your eyes bulge from your skull, and panting like you're in shock does not equal fear. When the roles become demanding, the cast crumbles and the film begins to feel more like Scary Movie than a scary movie. Oh, and there was a reason I emphasized 'contemporary' in that last paragraph: this film suffers from the same issues most modern found footage films suffer from, which includes the annoying shaky cam, the 'convenient' malfunctioning cameras, and the dark shots where you can't see anything. The film was written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard. The writing and direction are underwhelming. The writing feels uninspired, as if it were written in a day, and Wingard's direction fails to create any horror for most of the movie.

Overall, Blair Witch is a mediocre film. I enjoyed parts of the film, but most of the movie is underwhelming and disappointing. It's not scary or exciting. The plot is lazy and forgettable, the direction is uninspired and safe, and, worst of all, it's just not that entertaining. It's a decent time-killer if you want to kill ~80-minutes, so I can really only recommend a cheap rental or stream.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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