Day 1 (RJ): Blair Witch

For my first of many film reviews this month. I chose Blair Witch. Earlier this year a trailer for "The Woods" was released. This trailer showed young people, in the woods, crying. Why wouldn't I want to watch that? A couple of months later some rumors started circulating and some said that it was actually a Blair Witch sequel. It was finally revealed that The Woods was actually a sequel and that they had been hiding it. I was ecstatic. The Blair Witch Project has been one of those nostalgic films for me. It doesn't really hold up today since many other found footage films have much more interesting premises, but there's always been something about using my imagination to see the witch and the terrible things that happened to the Blair Witch crew. Growing up in the south, there was no shortage of woods for me to explore. Naturally, these sort of films have a special place for me.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.

My expectations going in were pretty high. I knew a few things. I wanted to know more about "the house", I wanted to see the "Witch", and I wanted to be psychologically terrifying like the first one was. Really, I just wanted to feel like I did when is as kid.

The Good:
I got all of the things I wanted. They showed much more of the house. They did a great job with set design. The spaces were tight and dilapidated. This lead to some claustrophobia. They played on this a good bit throughout the movie. Some characters would end up in really tight or uncomfortable spaces. One scene in particular has an actress pushing her body through a hole underground while the camera faces her. This went on for an uncomfortable amount of time. It forced the audience to experience the same claustrophobia that she did. I felt very uncomfortable (in a good way) during this scene. So, let's get down to the Witch herself. They DID show her. She lived up to my expectations. I did not want to see a pointy hat or black clothing. This thing had long arms and legs. Likely from being weighed down with rocks. She looked just as I hoped. She would peek out from behind trees for brief moments like some kind of terrible stripper on a pole. Her scenes inside the house were fantastic, too.

One of my favorite aspects about the Blair witch universe is the way time works. Once they've stayed the night it seems they're taken back in time to when the Blair witch herself existed. It also seemed that separate parties experience days differently. This makes me, as a viewer, feel trapped.

The Bad:
I know the found footage genre is known for moving the camera, but there was just an over exaggeration of movement. One character had a Canon DSLR for filming guerrilla-style. I immediately noticed they didn't have any handles or stabilization. Of course, the scenes with this camera looked like they tied it to a bear having seizures while running through the woods. It was almost too much and I do not get motion sick.

It also felt that there were too few characters. I can't explain this, but old horror films felt like they had huge groups of people picked off one by one. After only a short time, it felt like we were down to 2-3. Maybe this was to push things along, but it felt a little underwhelming.

The freaking jump scares. Too often did this cheap trick come up during the film. Sometimes it didn't even make sense. The person holding the camera would be calling a name and point it slightly to the left when the person they were looking for comes right into frame and says "Hey!". This just doesn't work for me.

Overall, I liked the film. There were great moments where I felt the psychological pressure they intended. However, it was a somewhat shallow film that hit a nostalgic spot in my heart. I'm giving this one 5/8 bits. Worth watching, but maybe just a rental.

TL;DR
Some teenagers fly a quadcopter onto an old lady's property and she shows them what freedom is.