It’s been 17 years since a whole bunch of people got the shit scared out of them by sticks, twine and Heather Donahue’s mucous in The Blair Witch Project, that success story that got the ball rolling on the now-dreaded and despised “found footage” horror genre.
It’s been 16 years since the first sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, One Too Many came out and essentially killed the franchise, although the found-footage cheapie-horror shtick would live on, peaking with Cloverfield (2008), and pretty much sucking before and after that.
Now, here in 2016, a second sequel to The Blair Witch Project has made its way into cinemas. Would Lionsgate take the opportunity to reintroduce a once-promising premise into a new style of film—perhaps a traditional narrative about the Blair Witch, set in the forest, without the gimmick of people running around with cameras filming themselves, even when they are in great peril?
Nope. This movie is essentially the original, but with louder noises, a few more gizmos (drones, walkie-talkies, better tents) and, yes, lots more sticks tied together with twine, and more piles of rocks.
For those of you who are scared shitless by stick men made out of twigs and twine, and piles of rocks in front of tents, this movie will fuck your shit up. As for the other 99.9999483472 percent of you: You will be bored out of your minds.
How does this new story tie into the original? James (James Allen McCune), the long-suffering brother of the original film’s Heather, has found … a tape. That tape contains shaky footage made by someone moronic enough to try to keep the action centered rather than focus on a much-needed getaway. In said footage, a messed-up looking woman is glimpsed for a second—so James instantly thinks it’s Heather.
James assembles a crew of idiots to go into the cursed forest where people disappear, and strange tapes are found, in search of the house where the footage was filmed by some moron who didn’t just drop the stupid camera and get the hell to safety.
That crew includes a bunch of actors and actresses who basically don’t matter much, so I won’t even name them. Lets just call them The Band of Idiots Who Choose to Leave Their Cameras on and Run Around Hyperventilating, yet Keeping the Action Centered for the Most Part While Some Sort of Malevolent Force Tries to Eat Them.
Seriously … what better way would there have been to drive a stake through the heart of the lame “found footage” horror genre than to take the franchise that basically started it all, and introduce an all-new approach to the subject matter? Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next) had a chance to do just this, but he instead opted for a louder, shakier retread.
The newness of this version is supposed to be reflected in the usage of drones and hi-def cameras. Well, it still features assholes finding stick men in the woods and then running around with cameras raised to their faces while a freaking witch or something of that ilk is trying to devour their souls!
OK … there are a few moments of inspiration. There’s the suggestion that the group is stuck in some sort of time loop, and that the tape James viewed has a really bizarre origin. The final few minutes of this movie are better than the ending of the original, including a scene in which one of the characters gets stuck in an underground tunnel.
But it’s too little, too late, because the rest of the film is just a series of scenes of nimrods playing with STICK MEN in the woods while CONTINUING TO FILM THE ACTION as they try to avoid getting disemboweled by a BLOOD-THIRSTY WITCH!
For the best in cinematic witch action, see The Witch. For unnecessary and useless retreads, go ahead and plunk down for this P.O.S.
Watch out, though … it has scary sticks and twine and rocks in it.
Blair Witch is playing at theaters across the valley.