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Friday, September 16, 2016

Blair Witch 2016 * 1/2 Stars

Blair WitchDirector: Adam Wingard
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid

I remember it clearly. There I was, sitting in an air conditioned movie theater during the hot summer of 1999. The film was The Blair Witch Project, a grainy, disturbing little masterpiece made for I guess $60,000. It was the first of its kind, a found footage experiment, a real-time horror documentary if you will. After "Project" was over, I left staggered and shaken, raving positively about it to anyone who would listen. That was a long time ago. 17 years have passed and tons of found footage/hand-held camera movies have since made their way to the silver screen. I have a few things to say about that: These kinds of movies are now lame. These kinds of movies are now tired. These kinds of movies have ran their course. These kinds of movies are now irrelevant. These kinds of movies have run out of ideas. These kinds of movies have drones now! Huh? Yup, you heard me.

So OK, Blair Witch (my latest review) is the direct sequel to The Blair Witch Project. It is made for more money, it is indisputably made to be more modern, and it is more tech-savvy. No matter. 2016's "Witch" lacks the intensity, extremity, and psychological warfare that made 1999's "Project" such a worldwide financial success. It takes the worn out path, reveling in systematic jump scares that are drawn up out of thin air. Translation: "Witch" is sadly, half hitch.

Lacking in character development, overall buildup, and decent enough acting, Blair Witch comes at us with an almost rail thin premise and plot holes aplenty. An example of these plot holes would be a trouper getting a huge gash on her foot. The foot becomes infected. She gets sick. Then, she pulls a bone fragment out of said foot but we never know why or what the point of it all is.

Image result for blair witch 2016 movie scenesAnyway, the story goes like this: Remember Heather Donahue? Well she was the star of the original Blair Witch Project. She went missing and was pronounced dead after her and two friends ventured into the evil Burkittsville, Maryland woods all alone. Cut to present day and her brother (James Donahue played by James Allen McCune) is hellbent on finding Heather in the haunted house that she disappeared into (located somewhere in the Black Hills woods). Brother James ventures to Burkittsville twenty years later. He is accompanied by a female/male couple, an attractive film student making a docu, and two kooky local residents. And like every other horror film, these dummies venture where they are not wanted while ticking off the unholy spirits. Guess what (spoiler), they don't come back. How predictable.

Certainty and flimsiness aside, "Witch" has some of the most jittery camerawork I've ever seen from flicks of the hand held genre. It's like the cinematic equivalent of a seismic earthquake that you want to avoid watching. Oh and I almost forgot, everyone in "Witch" also has too many digital devices so it's hard to tell who's doing the filming or documenting. It's inconsistent editing especially during the times when they are randomly turned on and off.

All in all, Blair Witch gave me a thought after it was over. My thought was, why don't producers have the guts to tell their directors to stop making this swipe. If it's for profit, well we all gotta make a living so I guess you'll get a little sympathy from me. If it's for integrity, well you'll get nothing, absolutely nothing. Blair Witch is a bad, unnecessary sequel. Sadly, this witch casts a spell on itself. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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