Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Rocker and Halls Reviews: Blair Witch

Posted on November 12, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By John Rocker and Aaron Hall, Free Press staff


Blair Witch is the direct sequel to the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project, and is directed by Adam Wingard. The movie follows James Donahue (James Allen McCune) whose sister Heather went missing years ago along with two others while investigating the myth of the Blair Witch in the woods of Maryland. Finding a video that could lead him to his sister, James and his friends head to the same woods where she disappeared, documenting what will begin a terrifying experience for them all.

What did we like?

John: I’ve only gotten into the horror genre recently, but the finale of this film was the first time in a theater this year that I’ve ever felt terrified. There was confusion, panic and horror. The way the film jumps back and forth between the characters’ cameras as they were experiencing this scene was great. The credit has to go to director Adam Wingard for how he constructed the scene, and to the actors’ performances which kept me immersed in the moment.

Aaron: One of the aspects of the film that I enjoyed was the sound design. From the natural sounds of the forest to the mysterious, and terrifying, noises heard at night by the characters, everything enhances the film’s intention of putting you as an audience member on edge. The performances by the main cast were all great and felt genuine, which I think is important in a found footage film since it needs to feel as real as possible.

What did we dislike?

John: As much as I liked the finale and how it executed pure terror, I felt the rest of the film had issues pulling this off. It would try to pull off cheap jump scares, and this is normally done by having a long period of silence followed by a burst of sound. Those moments had me frustrated, as those weren’t actually scary moments. Also the majority of this film just isn’t that interesting, as it’s mostly a retread of the events that happened in The Blair Witch Project. A few new ideas are introduced, but much more could have been done.

Aaron: A complaint I have is that some aspects of the movie feel too similar to the first film, especially in the final act. In some ways I feel the film has to have familiar beats to the original, since it has to reintroduce the Blair Witch mythology to a new audience, but overall I feel like it brings nothing new to the table. In a similar opinion to John, I also think that the film had a lot of unnecessary  jump scares, and while watching the film I missed the subtlety of the original Blair Witch Project where the horror was slowly built up. I also think the film could have used more character moments, where they have time to interact in perhaps a more relaxed manner. Once the scares begin there is little breathing room or downtime, which could be seen as a good thing for some, but as a result I felt little to no attachment to the characters.

Who would enjoy this movie?

John: Horror film fans will get the most enjoyment of this, especially those who enjoyed The Blair Witch Project.

Aaron: If you are a fan of The Blair Witch Project or the horror genre in general I think you will find enjoyment in the film. If you don’t do too well with horror films, like myself, this might be one you will want to skip or wait to see.

Our Rating: Wait for DVD

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