Blair Witch

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Back in 1999, a film was made that revolutionized the industry with the use of “found footage” technique.  You find a ton of movies trying to copy the Blair Witch Project, a film that had many people believing that it was real.

17 years later, we have the second sequel to that 1999 movie. The first sequel was anything but good.  How would this new film compare?

James (James Allen McCune) and a group of his friends head into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland after seeing a YouTube video about finding the mysterious house.  James’s sister was the character from the Blair Witch Project who disappeared.  Holding out unlikely hope that she might still be in that house, James took off to the forest.

Lisa (Callie Hernandez) was recording everything for a documentary she was working on about James’s sister’s disappearance.  James’s best friend Peter (Brandon Scott) and Peter’s girlfriend Ashley (Corbin Reid) came along to help.

They meet a pair of YouTubers Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry) who had discovered the tape in the woods.  These two horn into the search to continue their own paranormal investigation.

Once in the Black Hills Forest, things start happening that make the group freak out.  Lane and Talia leave, but realize soon that leaving was not an option.

This movie was better than the first sequel, but it was not as strong as I thought it was going to be.  There were some definite tense moments with a lot of frightening images.  Blair Witch uses the found footage genre better than most, but it can be taxing to watch at times.  I have never been a huge fan of all the shaky camera stuff, but there is enough here that is done well that I am not bothered by the camera work.

I thought that the film took too long to get going.  I liked both the idea of the documentary Lisa was working on and the YouTubers investigation.  I would have liked to see more about them.  I was not much of a fan of either Peter or Ashley.  I thought both of these characters added nothing to the story except giving some excess weight to be killed off.

I did think that the use of the history of the original Blair Witch was creative, making James related to the original film’s main character.  One wonders where the parents of these two are.  Why would they not stop their son from following (quite literally) in his sister’s footsteps?

There did seem to have a lot of similar situations from the first movie in this film.  It could be considered a homage to the first film, or some might consider it a rip off of the first film.  To me, I did not mind the similarities.

I found Lane one of the more intriguing additions to the story, and the fact that there was some hinting at time displacement with him was very interesting.  Unfortunately, I do not think that it was used well at the end.  I did not think they paid that piece of information off.  Perhaps it was done to just set up for future stories, but I wanted more of that strange time warp mojo in this one.

The characters did several things that I found dumb.  It usually led to trouble for them.  Peter, an African-America character, went off into the woods at night by himself and I wondered if he had ever seen a horror movie in his life.  Ashley started climbing a tree after the drone that her group had brought with them.  Gee, what was going to happen there?

Yet, I was entertained for the most part.  There was nothing that was so drastically bad that I felt my intelligence was insulted and the film definitely had some good parts, in particular the new mythology about the forest and this strange time loop that Lane and Talia had been caught in.  More like that might have made this a better movie.  Still, it is passable and better than a lot of sequels that come out 17 years after the original.

3 stars

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