Blair Witch: Bared it all!

blair-witch-review

“I know its been a while since I have written anything. Its partly due to procrastination and partly due to personal commitments. Nonetheless I had been following 2016’s movies, games, books and music. I just never got back to writing as much as I did before. I had a baby boy couple of months back, had a job change where I have to travel close to 4 hours a day, if that doesn’t explain why I wasn’t writing, I don’t know what will. I was haunted by the fact that I couldn’t write, so here’s to 2017 being a fruitful year….hopefully.

Let me start with a movie from my favorite genre: Horror.”

The Blair Witch Project was a movie that I so fondly remember watching in my early teens and getting scared shitless. The grandaddy of the found footage genre, there was something creepy about the movie and its ambiguous ending that gave me sleepless nights. I almost believed their ‘missing students’ marketing campaign that gave all the more chills watching the movie. Only after an year or so, I found out that it was one of the finest marketing campaigns ever and the actors/students were all alive and kicking and probably laughing at us. The joke was on us, but hey, it was well worth it.

I’d seen a almost all horror movies that released last year and a fair share of it were just plain disappointing. The horror genre isn’t for everyone and only once in a while do we get a good one and most times it’d be predictable rehashes and filled with horror tropes. So when I heard about Blair Witch directed by Adam Wingard (of You’re Next & The Guest fame), I was obviously excited. How could I not? It was a sequel to one of my favorite horror movies.

Followed by a short marketing campaign where the movie was labelled ‘The Woods‘ and then later revealed to be a sequel to The Blair Witch Project, Blair Witch stays clear of (that atrocious sequel) Book of Shadow’s events completely and follows Heather Donahue’s brother, James and his friends back to the Burkittsville, Maryland when he thought he saw his sister from a recent footage that was recovered from the Burkittsville. 4 friends, nifty little gadgets for recording footage and 2 weird tag-along residents all sets out for Burkittsville. Boy oh boy, this is gonna be fun. Blair Witch does build the tension in its first half. The forest feel claustrophobic and genuinely feels like you WILL get lost. The 6 people who ventures into the forest meets their worst fears (and worse), faster than you can say WTF. It felt kind of fresh and Wingard’s touch was definitely apparent in its attention to sound and visuals. But halfway through the movie, it all falters and by the end of it what you get is neither good nor bad experience.

The Blair Witch Project felt genuine, the reason for which were the actors and their impeccable performances, a vague yet comprehendible plot and a never-before-seen shaky camera and panic-struck-runs (who could forget Heather’s running nose) through the woods. Shot on tapes, it felt authentic and novel at the time and the marketing campaign helped us a lot to relate to those film students. Blair Witch on the other hand though, screams Hollywood. The moment you see the stereotypical ‘pretty’ faces, you know that you are watching a Hollywood movie. The actor’s performances were above average but it felt like ‘performances’ than genuine responses to situations. Blair Witch also makes the mistake of rehashing a lot of scenes from the original and while it might be plausible to have the same mysterious occurrences in the sequel, it felt unoriginal and lazy. While the original followed the ‘less is more’ concept to give you genuine thrills, Blair Witch sheds light on the witch as well as what happens in the forest. The info, some subtle and some not, were a bit satisfying to know but it axed ‘scares’ for us to learn them. The worst of Blair Witch‘s issues were those intolerable jump scares. Had it been approached the right way, those jump scares would have been effective but the third time somebody creeps on the actor and yells out their name, you’ll start rolling your eyes.

To Conclude, was Blair Witch better than Book of Shadows? Yes and tons better.
Was it entertaining? Partly, because it was better than most of 2016’s mainstream horror movies. Are you going to remember it as much as the original? Absolutely, not! Was a sequel/reboot necessary? As always, Not at all.

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