Blair Witch (2016)
September 14, 2016 7:38 PM - Subscribe

After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.
posted by MCMikeNamara (11 comments total)
I liked Blair Witch, and I like Adam Wingard, but I feel like either he hasn't seen Grave Encounters or he was hoping nobody else did. Didn't stick with me at all. Pity.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:46 PM on September 20, 2016

Help me out...there were some big inconsistencies with the original mythos here, right? Two that I noticed immediately: Near the beginning it's said that no house (nor remnants of a house) were ever found, and that the footage from the first movie was just found in the woods somewhere...But wasn't the original footage found under the burned out foundation of Rustin Parr's house? This bit was particularly confusing to me, because I think in this movie the local guy says that the house shown in the original movie was NOT Rustin Parr's house...I don't remember exactly...But I'd always assumed that it was, even if the actual house had been destroyed that Heather and Mike were led to a "ghost" version of it.

The other thing was that they say in this movie that Rustin Parr had stood in the corner to avoid seeing the witch (or else he'd die)...But that's not what the original legend said. He took two kids into the basement at a time and made one stand in the corner while he killed the other. They do make a point to say that the legend changes depending on who is recounting it, but that detail everyone seems to agree on even though it contradicts what was established before.

I surprisingly didn't hate this, but I didn't like it very much either. I enjoyed the intensity of being in the house during a thunderstorm at the end, and messing with the time for different characters I thought was an interesting notion, but otherwise I was just kind of bored.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:13 AM on September 21, 2016

I believe the footage was found in a house that had burned down over a hundred years ago, so before Rustin Parr. I have many thoughts on this as I was a huge fan of the first one. I'm still trying to sort it all out.
posted by MaritaCov at 9:00 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I went out of my way to pass through Burkittsville on a drive a couple of years ago, I was surprised at how beautiful the landscape around that area was.

For a moment before going to see this new one I thought maybe we'd some more of the real Burkittsville, but then I thought nah, there's no way the town would let them film there again. I don't think they were too thrilled by the level and kind of publicity they got from the first one.
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:55 AM on September 21, 2016

I was really looking forward to this but ended up being really disappointed. I don't really care about story and mythology holding together all that well, though I was bothered that the first film had such a tidy set-up to those unforgettably chilling moments at the very end and this one just kind of aped the earlier film slavishly instead of developing a story of its own.

The first half of the film I thought was fine. A decent group of characters, a pair of interlopers with shady intention. Once the supernatural stuff started to happen and the picture went all shakycam, I started to lose interest and the last scenes in the house were just pure tedium. I did like the scene where Ashley climbed the tree and the other scene where Lisa crawled through the tunnel (which was genuinely unpleasant and claustrophobic) but neither of them seemed to grow out of the narrative in a realistic way. And boy does this film rely on things that go bump (and crash and BANG) in the night; when people watch it at home with only their TV speakers on, I don't think it's going to be half as effective as it is in a theater with the sound mix cranked to 11.

To be honest, by the halfway mark I was really rooting for this one to abandon the found-footage gimmick and just become an ordinary movie but, alas, it was not to be.
posted by Mothlight at 9:01 PM on September 21, 2016

Overall I think it lacked the mood of the first but I'm not sure that can be captured again in the Blair Witch universe. The way they made it was so different and risky that no studio would let them get away with it. I was really disappointed by the need to show and explain things left unanswered in the first film. I know many people were angry with the first film for never showing the "monster" and the vague ending but I don't think this was a way to bridge that divide. The flashes of the witch and the tents flying away were eye-roll inducing for me and changing the location from the basement to attic was confusing. I'm still wondering if that had a point that I missed.
posted by MaritaCov at 5:21 AM on September 22, 2016

It was not a good idea to do the same thing as the first one again, replacing the growing sense of dread from the original with tropes of found footage horror that have gotten kind of tiresome by now. I want to see a Blair Witch movie that's not found footage, as long as it's better than Book of Shadows was. I wasn't a huge Sinister fan, but I really appreciated that it was about found footage, but the narrative storytelling wasn't in that style. So you could have it both ways...Some scary found footage stuff, but you weren't stuck in that realm the whole time. I think that is partially what Book of Shadows was going for, but it somehow got really, really jumbled up. There's still room to do it better in this series, I think...Assuming that the low box office for this one didn't kill the chances of any more movies.

My understanding is that Myrick and Sanchez wanted to do a prequel about Elly Kedward, but Lionsgate were only interested in producing a less-expensive-than-that rehash...On paper, Wingard and Barrett actually have a decent track record, so it wasn't like bringing in any old hacks to take over, and it probably seemed like an easy slam dunk. Oh well!

Btw, while I love the first one (at this point mostly because of how it was made; the impact of the scares do lessen quite a bit on repeat viewings), I think the most entertaining Blair Witch thing for me is still the Curse of the Blair Witch mockumentary that was made to promote the first movie.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:16 AM on September 22, 2016

On paper, Wingard and Barrett actually have a decent track record, so it wasn't like bringing in any old hacks to take over

This film didn't feel like them, either- I was never worried about what was going to happen to the characters, or that I'd see something horrible, only that something would pop into the frame very close to the camera again and startle me. I'm legit confused how the makers of You're Next and their bits of V/H/S 1 and 2 created this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:47 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have mixed feelings about this, I found the first half (or more) just so heavy with the same old found-footage nonsense that I was almost totally checked out by the time the spooky stuff started to happen. I don't think I was the only one either, after all the jump scares that were just camera turning slightly to reveal a character another guy in the theatre said "oh come on" disappointedly and we all agreed. One is a silly cliche, but after the third or fourth one in a row? Oh come on.

I did like the messing with the sense of time and space for different characters, and the breaking the wooden doll/ breaking that girl was pretty awesome too. I thought it was a decent horror movie at the end, it's just a shame they had (what felt like) an hour of aggressively bad film making preceding it.
posted by selenized at 11:08 PM on October 5, 2016

I enjoyed The Blair Witch Project quite a bit, but this wasn't nearly as good. As others in this thread have pointed out, there were some nice touches, but there was way too much shaky cam effect and it became visually and narratively incoherent, as well as too similar to the original.
posted by orange swan at 8:16 PM on November 25, 2016

Finally got around to this one very late, echoing the general sentiment. Really enjoyed the first, but this one never clicked and just descended into a chaotic shaky-cam mess. Glimmers of promise that never really panned out. Two or three times I thought I saw where they might go and I said to myself, aha, it'd be really creepy if they did this, but then they never did that thing sadly, just more shaky-cam and screaming.

I did appreciate the circularity of it at least. Near the end when Lisa is outside the house it's clear that she's standing near the lightning-split tree from much earlier in the film, where dude said he found the footage, so that was a nice touch.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:13 PM on February 3, 2017

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