September 24, 2016

Theatrical Review: Blair Witch (2016)

"Not as good as expected, but not as bad as it could have been."
(aka All Out of Time)
Release Date: September 16th.
Country: USA.
Rating: R.
Written by: Simon Barrett.
Directed by: Adam Wingard.
Starring: Callie Hernandez, James Allen McCune, Corbin Reid, and Valorie Curry.

Love it or hate it, The Blair Witch Project (review HERE) changed the Horror landscape in 1999. It wasn't the first Found Footage movie ever, but it was certainly the first to capture the attention of audiences on a massive level. TBWP was an Indie movie that went on to gross $250 million worldwide on a budget of $60k, which made it one of the most profitable movies of all-time.

A year later they came out with Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which got way more hate than it deserved.

And now here we are with a new Blair Witch sequel in theaters,and we have to say that it's probably the 2nd best of the series. Yeah, we liked part 2. Critics be damned!

20 years ago, Heather Donahue disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while on the hunt for the Blair Witch. When her little brother James sees a video online that he thinks has a glimpse of her in it, he and his friends set off to Burkittsville find her. Why he thinks she'd be alive after all that time and still living in the woods is beyond me, but I suppose it's possible.

James and his crew track down the people who uploaded said video, and they all head into the woods together. Just like in the first movie, eerie things begin to happen when they set up camp for the night: there are stick figures hanging in the trees; rock piles in front of tents; creepy cries and noises come from the darkness; and people disappear. Yes, the Blair Witch is still there, and she's still not very friendly.

Unlike the first movie... well, there are some plot points that we can't spoil for you here, but suffice it to say that things get really weird and none of it is explained all that well. Or is it?!?

Blair Witch was a fun ride to take. It had its share of scares and tension throughout, and a truly harrowing scene involving a tunnel, and it left me wanting more... if only to get answers to the questions that the movie's crazy plot twist left me with.

Look, love it or hate it, The Blair Witch Project took a very simple premise and executed the hell out of it. It felt real, and if you were able to let it pull you in and accept it as such, it delivered some genuine terror. This sequel though was a mixed bag. On one hand it played almost exactly like TBWP (at least to a point), and it did recapture some of that original magic; on the other, it tried to do its own thing and add something... unexpected... to the whole mythology, and I'm honestly still not sure how I feel about it. I like what it had to offer, for the most part, but I think that it complicated things a bit much, and hence it didn't do much business at the Box Office.

It was cool to see Valorie Curry show up in this one too. She's the goods.

Ok, so what in the hell was with that twist?


Time Travel? They're stuck in a time loop? Alright, that's interesting enough, but how about cluing us into why, and how it's possible, or even what the point of it is. And what was the creature? Word from the writer himself is that it WASN'T the witch, but "something" else? Elly Kedward? A goblin? A Jim Henson puppet?

Why did they have to go and make it so ambiguous? The story is pretty simple: There's a witch in the woods, and she feeds on those stupid enough to trespass on her land and disrespect it. Why fuck that beautiful premise up by adding time travel to the mix?

Why was this movie so much like the original? For a while there it felt like a remake with the way that it hit so many of the same beats and unfolded in the same way. Not sure if Wingard and Barrett were trying to recapture the magic of the original or what, but it really felt like a "re-telling" with a crazy plot twist thrown in at the end to make it its own beast.

Barely any gore in this.

And even less nudity.

I liked this sequel, although not anywhere as much as I liked the first movie. Where TBWP shook the foundations of the genre when it was released in 1999, Blair Witch seemed to be content with aping its style, and adding in a bizarre plot twist to make it play more exciting. Or at least that was probably the intention, anyway.

I say it's worth seeing, just go into it with an open mind. 


Blair Witch is in theaters now.

Oh those witchy women...


  1. OK, I just have one question for you J.S., being that you know about me and my ability to get movies, is it worth it for me to go and see this in the theater? I watched the original one in the theater, not knowing anything about it, and like other people walked out of there creeped out and not sure if what I saw was real or not(yeah, wouldn't it be nice to pre internet again sometimes, lol).

    So I was thinking about going to see this, but seeing the first part of your review, it looks like it wasn't nearly as good as the first one, but really how could it be. Also, I usually save the theater for big movies like Interstellar and Avengers. Haven't been there for a horror movie in forever.
    IDK, I'll probably just wait and watch it at home. Money isn't really the issue, it's more about convenience. Would you go and see it again, knowing what you know now about the movie?

    1. It was a cool movie to see on a big screen. Would I go see it again? Sure, if someone I know hadn't seen it, I'd go with them.

      I honestly probably need to see it again to know how I really felt about it.

    2. You 100% don't need to see this in theaters @Mike! Barely mediocre. Better horror movies on Netflix and Amazon

    3. That's all I needed to hear, thanks....

  2. BTW, as soon as you can, you should check out 'The Good Neighbor'. It was really well done. And it was one of the first movies in awhile that I could not for the life of me tell you what the ending was going to be about, till it was practically over.

    1. That and Train to Busan are next on the watch list. Glad to hear that TGN was solid.

    2. So I still haven't seen tbw yet.
      I fucking love everything the Wiengard has put his hands on, even when he is just the actor. The Guest was insane. While I'm sure this can't beat the original, I can't see how this can't have part of Wiengards personal card to it.

  3. Thought it was awful. Wasted the drone, characters didn't give a fugg about the black guy disappearing, was it a troll in the forest or a witch (uhh), FF is still terrible in terms of camera work, ruined the mythology of the first film, and a lame ending that they clearly thought was clever.

    Just a poor film overall.

  4. I'd give it a B if it wasn't for some of those dumb jump scares and if it played less like a remake with better decisions. I think in the trailer the scene when someone was running through the woods, which wasn't in the movie was footage from when Lane and Talia went missing for days. I also think the creature they showed was Heather.


    1. I never thought about the creature being Heather. That's jsut about as plausible as anything I guess.

      I just wish it had been a bit more clear cut as far as what was going on. Ambiguity is cool to a point, but not if it muddles the payoff.

  5. I was so excited about this movie after all the hype and early reviews so I immediately booked to see it the first day it was shown in my area. Honestly, I really wanted to like it but it didn't have the effect the first movie gave me. No goosebumps at all. In fact, I just wanna get to the ending immediately. Watching this on the big screen after office wasn't a good idea. It strained my eyes more. Haha! I think the first one had more realistic shots that will make you believe it's really a found-footage film.

    Totally agree with your comment on the time travel thing. I was also confused with that. Thought it was some alien or whatevs and the giant twig(?) wasn't creepy at all. A witch would have made it creepier I guess. Oh well.

  6. It was a pretty good horror movie. But for all the hype def not. The tunnel scene gave me the heebiejeebies, I'm a bigger guy and the thought of getting stuck was creeping me out

  7. Can you really call this a sequel? I mean there was a Blair Witch 2 that had real actors and not shot Found Footage style!

  8. I like it. Far way better than that garbage Nightlight last week, if I'm allowed to compare both because of the same tone. About the time travel you mentioned, I don't think it's supposed to be time travel. IMO, I think Lisa just experienced the same thing Heather had.