Blair Witch (2016) Doesn’t Have the Patience
You can see the promise of something good in Blair Witch (2016), but it never develops. It’s a tall order to live up to The Blair Witch Project (1999), and you can see some unique elements in the new movie that could have been developed into something great, but the movie takes the safe route instead. This is the sequel the now defunct Artisan Entertainment wanted way back in 2000 when they got Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, which was edited and warped by studio interference. This new movie has more kids dying in the woods, people running around, and strange noises in the night. It’s a studio’s wetdream.
The thing I appreciated about The Blair Witch Project was its slowburn tone and minimalistic efforts. It wasn’t in your face and making you jump all the damn time. It had some character moments and scares felt more character driven. The new Blair Witch has too much of that. It’s loud. The voices and nightly occurrences are unquestionably supernatural. There’s jump scares like modern horror films. Unfortunately, audiences have moved on since the phenomenal 1999 release. There were 3 people (including me) in the theater for this movie. It’s too bad.
James Allen McCune plays James, the much-younger brother of Heather from the original movie. He’s out to find his sister (!) and discover what happened to her, after seeing her in a Youtube video. I like this premise. Unfortunately, it just leads to the same tricks, muddled with jump scares. The kids wander around the woods with a couple of locals and experience some of the same things as in the original. That’s pretty much all that happens. Some time travel and reality bending is thrown in for color, but never explored.
The original movie had an interesting reality warping concept that could have been explored and I think I would have liked that kind of movie a lot. Besides the obvious fact that a video tape is a type of filtered reality, I wonder what an exploration of the time warping concept could have turned out. Heather and her pals walk around and end up in the same place. Her brother does the same thing in the new movie. Time seems to operate on a different level in both movies. Is that a concept worth exploring more?
Unfortunately, this movie operates in a world where people are aware of the Blair Witch Project, but the filmmakers thrown in some heavy-handed exposition for newcomers “to explain things”. Also, Heather’s brother is kinda dumb-sounding in spots, as he hopes his sister to be alive 17 years after she disappeared. I guess she’s been living off twigs and dirt. I was honestly expecting more from this movie and I feel really let down by this sequel, which tries to make me believe walking backwards out of ghost’s house without looking at it is a good concept. It ultimately doesn’t have the patience to explore anything. Not the characters. Not the interesting concepts. Not any new, unique elements. Nothing. Most of all, this sequel can’t match the hype or creativity of the original.