Review – Blair Witch (2016)

2015 was such a solid year for horror. What's with all the flops this year?

Adding to my ever-growing list of disappointing 2016 horror films is the third film with Blair Witch attached to the title. To be honest, I hate doing things like this. I absolutely hate giving bad reviews. I hate even more when I feel justified in giving these reviews – what’s going on, people? 2015 was such a solid year for horror. What’s with all the flops this year?

Let’s just get one thing out of the way before moving forward. This sequel was not needed. It is basically a poor imitation of the original genre-pusher from 1999 with none of the charm. The story, in an attempt to bridge the two films (we can just forget about Book of Shadows forever), follows the brother of the woman who disappeared at the end of the first film. He wants answers, and he wants to know if she is still out there (she’s not.). Following him is a young filmmaker who comes along to make a movie out of the whole ordeal (played by Callie Hernandez) and two friends who come for no reason at all. Before traveling out into the woods of Maryland where the original film took place, the group of friends meet up with two local weirdos who claim to have gotten footage of the witch (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry) who bargain their way into joining the group of witch hunters.

You know the rest of the story. The group goes out into the woods and strange things start happening. What was that noise? Who put those rocks there? Oh, my! The film really never had a chance. Simon Barret, writer of the film, is all too eager to rehash plot points of the first. They modernize it by giving the characters iPhones and drones to mount cameras on, and instead of relying on the psychological horror method, they attempt to show much more than what is needed. You don’t need to imagine much here; they’ll show you.

Which, in itself, is not such a bad thing – but they way they present it is. I would have had no problem with the film if they had deviated more from the source material. Why did it have to be found footage? Because the first one was? This Blair Witch seems cheap and forced. The found footage style in this movie seems like a lazy way of retelling a story that in no way needed to be retold.

But look – these wouldn’t be such big issues if the film had some decent scary moments. Hell, I’d settle for something even halfway spooky. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, outside of one or two scenes. Unfortunately, one or two scenes is not even close to enough to justify sitting through a feature-length movie.

I’m not a hater. I’m really not. I consider myself to be one of the most forgiving horror fans I know; trust me, there are legions of us that are much more critical than I am. There are just some instances, though, when I can’t lie to myself and force myself to enjoy a movie. I shouldn’t have to. You shouldn’t, either.

The Geeked Gods Score: 1.5/5. Blair Witch is not a good movie.

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