BLAIR WITCH (2016)
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Flick is a disappointing and scare-less sequel to the classic found footage horror The Blair Witch Project. It’s a true sequel this time, unlike the wonky Book Of Shadows which focused on the mania caused by the movie and was not a continuation of the film’s story. Found footage follow-up takes place twenty years later with Heather’s brother James (James Allen McCune) deciding to re-enter the Burkittsville woods after seeing footage posted on Youtube that he believes reveals his long lost sister. His trek to find his sibling is being documented by love interest Lisa (Callie Hernandez) along with two friends (Corbin Reid and Brandon Scott) and the two locals (Valorie Curry and Wes Robinson) who posted the footage that sparked this new expedition. Of course things start to go bump in the night in the Black Hill Woods.
First problem with Adam (The Guest, You’re Next) Wingard’s surprise sequel…it was secretly filmed under the pseudonym The Woods…is that never once did it feel like found footage. The cast all appear to be actors and not real people and the dialog, unlike the first flick, never seems anything but scripted…as by Simon Barrett. The first movie presented unknowns who improvised much of their dialog and it fooled a lot of people. Here these youths, with model good looks, never fool us for a minute that their trailer is just a few feet away and lost they are not. Second big problem is that not only is the film never tense or scary, but it actually was kinda dull for it’s brief 89 minutes. It may be a sequel, but it’s more like a tepid remake that rolls out the Blair Witch tropes mechanically from noises in the woods, to characters running through the trees screaming, to twig stick figures popping up regularly. Things pick up somewhat in the last few minutes, set in a familiar old house, but even that goes on for too long and doesn’t really go anywhere the first film hadn’t already gone. There is a little bit more blood and violence in this one and there is some newer technology, like ear cameras and drones, but Wingard and Barrett never do anything interesting with it. The drone is taken out of the picture soon after it launches. Done. There were a few claustrophobic moments in some tunnels towards the climax, but, honestly, the film evoked last year’s Nightlight far more than recaptured any of the tension and fear of the classic film that it’s a continuation of…especially in the house set last act.
This is a sadly dull and repetitive sequel that only has a few original moments and relied far more on way too many jump scares than actual fear. Wingard builds no tension or suspense and the flick is too polished and over-produced to ever feel like it’s actual footage. Whether James finds Heather, or we actually see the Blair Witch this time, is up to you to decide if it’s worth finding out. Some will say this is at least an improvement over 2000’s Blair Witch 2, but at least that film failed while trying to be original and interesting. This one is just a retread and a very generic and assembly-line one at that.
2 stick figures that are all too familiar.