The Blair Witch Project jump started the found footage cinematic craze, so director Adam Wingard jumped on board to bring horror fans a modern Blair Witch sequel, essentially ignoring Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. Initially called, The Woods, it was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con that the real name of the film is Blair Witch. This was a marketing ploy to cover up the fact that this is a sequel no one asked for. Blair Witch 2016 is neither scary or innovative like the original. In fact, the only thing that differentiates this version from the original is the introduction of digital DSLR cameras, smartphones, and drones.
A brainless group of college-aged students decides to go into the woods to investigate the disappearance of the original Blair Witch crew, Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard.
Heather‘s younger brother, James Donahue, leads a group of tag-alongs including Lisa the videographer, and his friends Peter and Ashley. The crew is eager to get to the bottom of the disappearance of Heather Donahue, but as things become increasingly weird, the group finally agrees to leave their campgrounds. However, by the time they make this decision, it’s already too late. They are trapped in the Blair Witch’s clutches and have to fight for survival.
The direction and editing fit with the sporadic style of a found footage films. Adam Wingard wanted the audience to see the horror from various vantage points which add to the chaos of it all. He wants you to know that no matter how prepared you think you are, you’re never prepared to go against the Blair Witch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared for the 4K cam-so-shaky, you’ll feel like you’ve been caught up in a category four tornado. It’s shocking that for a modernized update, the transitions are extremely sloppy.
Now, this is not a film where anyone should care about how good the acting is. The audience is there for one thing, and that’s to be scared s**tless, which the movie does a decent job to keep of keeping the audience in suspense. As the group tries to escape, they are pulled further down the rabbit hole to the point of no return. As they get closer to the Blair Witch, the premise of the film is given away in such a lazy fashion it causes the movie going downhill fast. This is frustrating because the movie doesn’t give the audience a chance to think for themselves. Then every foolish horror trope you can think of is crammed in dumbing down the experience. People splitting up, people tripping and hurting themselves for no reason, gullible people falling for whatever, and going places where they know they shouldn’t. In the end, the movie turns out to be everything the first Blair Witch film managed to circumvent.
The Blair Witch Project revolutionized the way we saw cinema. There was a level of mystery that was so well hidden that many viewers were convinced the footage was real long after the movie release. Blair Witch 2016 tried so hard to be like the original, that the audience might forget this is a sequel. The characters are too vapid to be believable, and the film commits the ultimate sin of showing the audience ******Spoiler****** which was entirely unnecessary. The conclusion doesn’t satisfy and will surely leave the audience frustrated and unfulfilled.