I understand the large negative response Blair Witch has received with its unoriginal plot, cliché characterizations and cheap scares. However, I don’t think the film is as awful as everyone says it is. For the most part it’s an above-average horror film but it does have some good elements that deserve to be recognized.
This sequel to the 1999 original is about a student leading a group of his friends into the woods hoping to find his sister (Heather from the first film). As they get deeper into the forest time distorts and all hell breaks loose as the legend herself attacks.
Right, positives first. The film features some unique and truly disturbing ideas, the best being one of the students getting a wound in her foot that widens and cuts deeper by itself. This makes for some graphic scenes that I thought were genuinely cringe worthy.
While many people have criticized Blair Witch’s lack of subtly I actually appreciated it. The thing I love (and hate to an extent) about films like Donnie Darko, Cloverfield and the Five Nights At Freddy’s games is the thirst for answers they leave me with. The Blair Witch Project is another example. I wanted to know what made those sounds in the woods, I wanted to know if the witch was real.
Blair Witch provides answers but also leaves some mystery. We learn more about the blair witch mythology, see how time is distorted and, without giving too much away, get a glimpse at what could be the witch herself. I know a lot of people feel this film ruined the mystery of the original but I wanted answers and I praise Blair Witch for being creative and providing those answers.
Now onto the negatives. I think most of the characters are boring. I wasn’t expecting them to have fully fleshed out personalities but I thought they should’ve felt like real, everyday students like in the original.
James, the student looking for his sister, is obviously a horror film everyman like Ben in Night of the Living Dead or Billy in Gremlins. He leads the group and unsurprisingly survives most of the film. His character feels very inappropriate for the realistic blair witch aesthetic. Peter is the comic relief. He presents a confident and jokey persona, which makes him feel even more out of place than James.
The film features an annoyingly large amount of fake jump scares. Every time someone comes back to the camp or walks into shot there’s a jump scare. I personally thought this technique lost its effect years ago. Everyone knows about it now. I think modern horror audiences are too advanced to be scared by it, yet in Blair Witch there are countless fake jump scares.
Overall despite the unique ideas and revelations I think the film’s negatives outweigh the positives. If you’re a fan of the original and want to see more of the mythology I’d recommend it but if you’re looking for something as good as the original I’d avoid it.
I give Blair Witch a mediocre 4 out of 10.
UPDATE: I’ve got another new article up on MoviePilot. This one’s about Babylon 5, a space opera from the 90s I’m really into, you can see it right here.