The Movie: 7/10
There’s something evil hiding in the woods. That is the tagline, and the theme of the Blair Witch story and the world they have built around it. I like that tagline. It cuts to the quick if you have ever actually been in the woods and had that split second of, “What the hell was that sound?” and then the urge to run hits you. The thing about the Blair Witch thing is that I have always been a bit so-so about it. I did see the original in the theater and I did have to divert my eyes because it was making me feel like I was going to puke. Not because of the gore, there was none, and not because of the fear. I was just nauseous from the camera moving around. I’m not a huge fan of the found footage genre, if that even exists. I’m not a fan of the moving “hand-held” camera stuff. It’s kind of boring after a while, and that’s what was going through my mind when we were going to watch the latest in the Blair universe, Blair Witch. I shouldn’t prejudge.
I liked this movie. It was basically the same as the first one, yes, it’s true. A group of filmmakers go into the woods and find something creeping around. It’s not rocket science people, it’s the same story we watched 17 years ago, but with a little different motivation. The brother of one of the original filmmakers wants to find his sister. She disappeared in these woods and he’s determined to figure out if she’s still alive, or not. Oh, and the technology is up to date, of course. We have ear cams, drones, and those crazy new-fangled walkie-talkies! I understand they want us to identify with the characters and to stay one step ahead of the pending doom of being stranded in spite of the wide range of devices mean to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it’s a bit much. I mean, making sure we are convinced that the two young students are sooooo proficient with every single device that they run them like pros, nah…that’s my first pinprick in my bubble of disbelief that surrounds every movie I watch. I have to believe, on some level, that the characters are in a semi-believable situation based on the little fiction that’s been written around them. Between the low range performances, and the rush to get us on-board with their expertise I was sitting back and ready to have a bad attitude throughout the movie. I shouldn’t prejudge.
As the story progresses we meet a couple of characters who don’t help with the pinprick, it’s getting bigger and letting real life flood into my mind. They are too charicatur-istic of these people we are meeting along our journey. I liken them to cardboard cutouts. If I walk into a movie world like in a virtual reality futuristic suit what will I find in many fictional stories told through movies? Some characters will seem real, you can walk around them and they are fully fledged out, rounded people who exist, but in the unreal world. Others appear to be there when you first walk in the imaginary door, but as you walk through their fake reality you look behind them and they are flat, there is nothing behind the few things that are painted on the front. That’s actually how most of the people in this movie are, sadly. This I had to come to terms with throughout the whole thing, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. I still liked this movie.
There are moments of actual terror that cut me to my movie loving guts. I felt a gasp a couple of times rise up and come out of my mouth. That’s saying a lot. There is a somewhat voodooish situation with a stick figure and a young woman with blue hair…scary! There are moments of being trapped in what seems like a loop in a very friggin’ creepy broken down old house, which made my skin crawl at the thought of actually being there. The thing is that set, which they obviously had built to be a real old creepy house, made the movie better. I HATE it when people say this set is a character in the movie, but this time I have to admit it’s really true. I got a lump in my throat around every corner and through every rotting door.
This movie does a lot right, and a few things wrong…shocking. I did prejudge and that didn’t help that I was then looking for flaws, but the good stuff like the tension and the sets and the visceral feeling of dread through many scenes pulled me back into the “I’m glad I like movies and this one is a good experience” mode. As for it being a Blair Witch entry in the movie books, well, it didn’t impact me as much as it did AFTER I watched the extras and they talked a lot more about the legend and the bigger story they are telling. No movie should get better AFTER you watch the extras, but it is what it is. I liked it. Did I mention that? 🙂
I recommend it, but watch The Blair Witch Project first, take a pee break, get a drink and a snack and then watch Blair Witch. It’s a good night of being lost in the woods. Just bring a bucket in case you get motion sickness.
- Audio Commentary With Director & Writer – A technical look at the making of the film, this was recorded a couple of weeks after the opening of the film so lots of references to poor box office are mentioned.
- Never Ending Night: The Making Of Blair Witch (106 Minutes) – A superb feature length look at the making of the movie. This actually improves the meaning behind the film so you should totally give it a watch.
- House Of Horrors (16 Minutes) – A look behind the scenes at the house used in the movie.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I like this cover and since I enjoyed the movie I might consider having it as a poster. I would want the Blair Witch Project poster next to it though. Maybe I’ll shop for some mini-posters.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Blair Witch is presented on Blu-ray using an AVC 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Like the original the film uses a number of different camera techniques such as drones, webcams, camcorders and Bluetooth headset camera’s. The movie has a inconsistent look due to this. Things tend to look great when things get really dark and wiggly near the end of the film and that is a testament to the quality of encode given the difficult material.
The Dolby Atmos 7.1 track here is very effective using all directions including above you to pull you into the action. Screams and creepy noises come from all around you and the jump scares would be nothing without this track being loud and scary. Nothing here stood out as bad dynamic range is very wide so adjust accordingly.
Overall Score 7/10