On May 10th, 2016, a teaser trailer for a film vaguely titled The Woods was released to the public. Two months and twelve days later, the official trailer was released, and it was revealed to be Blair Witch, a sequel to the 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project.
Having never seen the original film, I rented it on Amazon Video the night before viewing the 2016 sequel. By its conclusion, I was quite impressed with it and hoped that I would feel the same about the sequel.
The following review contains spoilers.
Blair Witch (2016) Review
My issue with Blair Witch goes beyond any preconceived expectations about the film. Visually speaking, it is one of the most impressive films that I have ever seen…but that’s about where the compliments come to an abrupt halt.
Despite opening strongly with a brief yet memorable chase scene, the majority of the film fails to provide the viewer with a quality plot and adequate amount of character development.
To make the situation worse, both the entertainment and scare factor are relatively low, despite the setting having the potential to provide just the opposite.
Although the general premise itself is reasonable enough — James Donahue, the younger brother of Heather Donahue, one of the three people who disappeared two decades earlier, begins to search for his sister with some friends after a video seems to confirm that she may still be alive — there is much left unexplained.
This reality is made worse due to a noticeably unsatisfying and unoriginal conclusion that pays homage to the original film, The Blair Witch Project, in an overall detrimental manner.
What is wrong with Ashley’s “infected” foot? Are Heather and Michael still alive? How are the woods seemingly able to manipulate time and space itself?
Even with all of its opportunities to provide something of greater value, the film still fails to expand upon what it includes, ultimately leaving the viewer with nothing more than another cliché horror film to add to the ongoing list.
Furthermore, and as previously noted, there isn’t much to enjoy or be genuinely frightened by.
Once the film’s pace increases, it doesn’t really slow down. Although this might work in some films (such as Adam Wingard’s You’re Next, one of my personal favorite horror movies), it completely backfires in this case.
Characters are gone before the viewer has the opportunity to truly learn anything of interest about them, and the scares — most of which are of the jump scare variety — are rushed and largely ineffective.
Criticisms aside, Talia — who is played by Valorie Curry, an actress that I became familiar with through FOX’s TV show The Following — managed to actually scare (and disturb) me prior to her [sadly abrupt] death.
That being said, it’s disappointing that she wasn’t given a larger role in the overall film.
Pumpkin Rating & Conclusion
2 / 5 Pumpkins
Despite being visually impressive, having a strong opening scene, and featuring a disturbing performance by Valorie Curry, Blair Witch fails to be a worthy sequel to The Blair Witch Project, or even a standalone film.