Movie Review - Blair Witch (2016)

This movie is in the found-footage genre that the original The Blair Witch Project (1999) popularized almost twenty years ago. When it comes to found-footage films, the premise, or framework, is one that you must accept. The credulity is strained when the story is a retread and the characters are so underdeveloped. Essentially, found-footage means the footage was found. If that's true, then questions arise like who found the footage and what was the result of finding it. Much like my criticism of The Purge: Anarchy, the better movie is the one that focuses on the aftermath and the drama of people reconciling the issues, removed from the crazy and violent incidents. Director Adam Wingard like most directors revel in the cheap thrills of those incidents, the noises in the night and the figures appearing out of nowhere in the dark.

James Allen McCune stars as James, a guy in his early twenties or so whose sister disappeared in the woods in Maryland. In fact, his sister was Heather from the 1999 film. He asks his friend Lisa, played by Callie Hernandez, to come with him to Maryland to try to search for Heather 17 years later. Lisa is a filmmaking student, so she's tasked with documenting the whole thing with digital cameras.

Corbin Reid plays Ashley and Brandon Scott plays Peter. Ashley and Peter are the black couple and fellow college students who also come with James into the woods to search for Heather. They ostensibly tag along for moral support, not because they have any special skills. Ultimately, they just exist to aide in the movie's body count.

Wes Robinson plays Lance and Valorie Curry plays Talia. Lance and Talia are a similarly aged, white couple that supposedly finds evidence that Heather might still be alive. They live near the woods where she vanished and they seem to know a lot about the history of the woods and the mysterious disappearances and deaths there. They tag along hoping to prove that the myth of a witch or some, evil, supernatural force is real.

With a guy motivated by the disappearance of his sister and creepy things happening in the woods, aside from the original film, I was reminded of The X-Files. The problem is that The X-Files in one hour does more character development and mythology than this movie does in nearly twice that time. Of the six actors in this movie, little is learned about their characters and no kind of dramatic arcs is achieved for any. They're just lambs being led to the slaughter.

This is typical with trashy horror, but, at least with trashy horror, there is something else like gore or heart-pounding action or chases to supplement the lack of good dramatic writing. The final few minutes ramp things up, but the narrative takes a long time to get there, mostly wading through references to the first film that makes the whole thing mostly boring. I also have the same criticism of this movie as I did with Insurgent. It's a sequel that ends basically the same way as the first. There's no progression, nothing new added, so no point to this movie at all.

One Star out of Five.
Rated R for language, terror and some disturbing images.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 29 mins.


Popular Posts