Blair Witch: When World-Building Goes Wrong
Blair Witch is an absolute mess that builds upon its predecessor’s mythology and loses everything that made the original such a classic. I like that director Adam Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) and writer Simon Barrett tried something new, but it feels like they threw everything at a time portal wall and it and came back incomprehensible. I understand the plot elements and have read the theories, but none of them feel organic or interesting. I was bored by the panicked wooded jogging and when the witch hit the fan I couldn’t help but think about every other found footage film, which is slightly ironic because the original Blair Witch helped the genre explode.
My biggest issues with Blair Witch is that it avoids the slow burn and moves quickly into horror thriller mode. I love the how original beautifully transitioned into madness and left you a nervous wreck due to prolonged tension. There is zero time to build anything (character, plot, coherence) in the sequel because things quickly go wrong then everything gets turned to 11. Thus, the action doesn’t matter because we don’t care about the hastily created characters. They are simply fodder to be killed by loud noises, falling tress and witch trickery. I don’t want to go into deep spoiler territory, but there are elements of time travel, mythology and more time travel. The story is being expanded but it works against the plot because there is no focus or clarity to the narrative. I like when we are left with questions, but I dislike when the questions are the product of narrative shortcomings.
Help! I’m stuck in a subpar horror film!
I had a hard time believing that the six people would go into the woods. I guess Heather’s brother would be curious as to what happened to her 17 years ago, but his plan seems foolhardy considering the police and search parties couldn’t find the cabin he is searching for. You know all their high-tech gear will fail at the worst possible moment and they will find themselves walking in the woods and complaining about their feet. The characters don’t make a single impression and if it weren’t for IMDb I wouldn’t know their names, which sucks because Wingard’s other films introduced us to some badass characters.
Sharni Vinson crushed it in You’re Next.
Blair Witch expands the universe but it gives zero personality to the characters. I only recommend watching it if you are looking for a horror film featuring lots of falling tress and wonky logic.