This last week I had the opportunity to see the 2016 kinda-sorta sequel to the 1999 Blair Witch. The original Blair Witch was innovative in its new style of horror film; with first-person perspective and found footage filming, it started a new era in horror. When it comes to the 2016 version, if you’re expecting any of what made the original so iconic…you won’t get much.
Blair Witch (2016), directed by Adam Wingard, relies on several of the old tactics to try and get cheap scares from the audience. It even goes so far as to reuse the standing-in-a-corner scene: a close-up face shot of the protagonist. It also uses an old shot from the original film without having the decency of calling it a flashback. The movie did have its scary moments and disturbing scenes, heightened by the close-up view and loud noise that it took advantage of again and again…and again. The movie is rated R for the usual sequences of horror violence and terrifying images, when in reality it should be rated R for the sickening use of the found-footage perspective. Jumping from each characters overly bouncy personal cameras to random group shots, it has more in common with Cloverfield than the original Blair Witch. The movie follows the younger brother of the original protagonist as they attempt to find her in the same forest several years later. The same exceptionally stupid decisions are made, and the story even ends up in the same house as the first one. It finally closes with the same predictable and not-so-happy ending that the first one did.
To be perfectly honest, I did enjoy the film simply because I personally love cheesy horror films, and I was a fan of the original. Although it wasn’t the best movie ever, it had its moments. It was an enjoyable experience to go watch it with friends. But, as usual, I will say what I always say: go and experience it for yourself. Just take a friend.