By Francisco Portillo
“Blair Witch” has made a return to theaters after a decade of being shelved, managing to scare the hell out of audiences everywhere.
With the emerging popularity of horror films, it was only a matter of time before a sequel or remake of the 1999 classic, “The Blair Witch Project” was made.
Ignoring the original sequel “Book of Shadows,” “Blair Witch” takes place 17 years after the first movie.
The story follows James, who discovers that his missing sister may still be alive after reviewing the footage from the original movie.
As the original movie did, the director cast unknown actors and used the found-footage style of filmmaking.
Made famous by the original movie, the found-footage format is made to seem as if the movie is an actual recorded document. This works in the movie’s favor, as it adds to its believability and overall uneasy atmosphere. Viewers will feel as if they are part of the group with this filmmaking style.
As found footage films usually do, this movie is sure to make film-oers experience motion sickness. The quick cuts and constant camera movement the audience nauseated towards the end of the film, but did not ruin my enjoyment of the movie.
The premise of the movie is an intriguing one and explains certain plot points in the original movie, but overall, the script was not very strong. The actors do a great job with what they are given and elevate the horror factor.
The moments in which the characters are puzzled, or on the verge of mental breakdowns will create the same reactions from audiences. The characters’ deaths were predictable, even reverting to the stereotypical trope of minorities being killed off first.
While the script was not very strong, director Adam Wingard is able to play audiences like an instrument. Like James Wan, who directed both Conjuring movies, Wingard has a grasp on what scares audiences most.
Instead of taking easy jump scares, Wingard has the audience uneasily waiting for the scares to come.
The original film is notorious for being a great movie despite the low budget. With a relatively higher budget than the original, the producers certainly had more tools to play with in post-production. The excess of funds must have led to them deciding that they would show the physical embodiment of the witch itself.
As opposed to being a purely psychological horror film, the director made the artistic choice to provide the visuals for the witch as opposed to leaving it up to the audience’s imagination what she may look like.
The computer-generated-imagery (CGI) for some of the character’s deaths are a bit wonky. The cuts are so quick that it’s evident to the audience that the producers didn’t have enough money to render all of the visuals necessary to deliver a convincing experience. The use of CGI takes away from the effectiveness that the first film presented.
Overall, the movie works well and is worth a watch for fans of horror films.
“Blair Witch” has a runtime of 89 minutes and is rated R for language, terror and some disturbing images.