Blair Witch: That movie you watched almost two decades ago is finally back! And it's the same as ever! If you are anything like me, then you've also (not) been eagerly anticipating this sequel for like, forever! The multitudinous myriad of found footage films since its initial release have done nothing but obviously fuel the fire that is our desire for a satisfying sequel… am I right?
Maybe I'm being a little too facetious. I do know some horror aficionados that are genuine fans and were actually looking forward to a proper reboot, though fuck knows why. I watched the original sitting in the front row of the cinema with a bunch of buddies from high school. We had the class clown with us that day who constantly quirked throughout the film and turned it into somewhat of a comedy for me. I still remember him shouting, “Run Forest! Run!— which, at the time was still a pretty fresh joke and definitely garnered a good couple of chortles, myself included.
Is it scary? Yes. It's not scary though because it's a good horror movie. It's scary because it affects us right down to our DNA. Allow me to explain what I mean: our ancestors survived because they were afraid to go out at night. Predators hunted at night, fear of the dark kept us huddled safely by fires and away from danger. Jump scares are simply quick responses to loud noises or sudden imagery that cause those little synapses to spark, kick in the adrenaline, and trigger that fight or flight instinct that got your great-great-great grandaddy laid but got his inquisitive brother killed. That fear is what kept our Homo Habilis forefathers alive while their less jumpy, less twitchy brethren were mauled, murdered or eaten. That whole edge-of-your-seat-heart-racing feeling is simply your instincts telling you to get the fuck out of this situation.
And that's all that Blair Witch is: an attack on the senses that fools you into thinking that you are scared. There is no actual horror involved at all; it's nothing but triggering all those existing instincts via shrieks, bangs, clangs, sight deprivation and whatnot. It's primal fear. You may argue that this is skillful film-making or that our hardwired fears are the root of all horror, but in all honesty I find it a cheap cop-out used when a film lacks actual story, depth, and integrity — It's not even an original idea.
Look, it's not a badly made movie, but if you've seen the first (which is better) then you've pretty much seen this too. It's ultimately an updated clone of the original but the kids now have slightly better tech and the lore is marginally more fleshed out. There is absolutely no character development and essentially no plot. The jump scares (ad nauseum) work until roughly half way through the film or until you bore of them. I could not tell you the name of any of the characters nor did I come to care for any of them. Maybe if they'd made it more of a monster flick I'd have had someone to cheer on—....
Unless found footage films are your thing (and I, for one, don't mind them) or if you're a big fan of the original, give this one a miss. It's barely mediocre. Check the trailer out down below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.