Blair Witch (2016)

The Blair Witch is back, get out the Dramamine!

Riding a wave of hype that seemed to stem from viral Internet postings and the suggestion that the video going around was possibly actual found footage, “The Blair Witch Project” became a box-office sensation in 1999 where it ultimately frustrated audiences with its no-budget production and made them more motion sick than terrified by the POV shaky cam madness.

It also spawned an entire genre of “found footage” horror films. It was unquestionably not only a box-office treasure trove but a complete genre game changer.

Seventeen years later (I’m not even counting the disastrous “Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows”), Hollywood felt the need to shake the Blair Witch piggy bank again and see if it was full of quarters after all these years. Only this time they recruited up and coming horror genre director Adam Wingard (“You’re Next,” “The Guest”) and gave him just enough money to give the footage a bit slicker look in the hopes that the witch would burn up the box-office again this Halloween season.

The only problem is that they apparently didn’t bother to come up with any new ideas or even write a markedly different screenplay. “Blair Witch” is more of a remake than a sequel. It follows the formula set down in the original scene-by-scene, nearly shot-by-shot. The new footage looks a little better (like DVD looks better than VHS) and they get to use a drone to get some cool aerial shots this time, but basically, if you’ve seen the original “Blair Witch Project,” you’ve already seen “Blair Witch,” and there’s little here for me to recommend you spend $10 in theaters just see the exact same film again unless you really enjoy motion sickness as an experience.

Initially, the premise of “Blair Witch” starts off promising. James is a young man who lost his sister, Heather, who was the final onscreen survivor of the original “Blair Witch Project,” in the woods in Burkittsville, Maryland. A viral video online containing footage of her last days gives James hope that she may still be alive. In any case, he wants to find out what happened to her so he and his friends set out to meet the couple who claim to have originally found the camcorder shot footage in the hopes of finding the old house seen in the grainy, shaky video.

Oh, and they also intend to document the whole expedition so that’s why you’re seeing their grainy, shaky cam found footage this time around. Sigh.

Second verse, same as the first.

Admittedly, there’s some spooky thrills to be had when our luckless hero finally finds that dreaded old house in the woods not unlike the chills and thrills we all get from exploring a seasonal Halloween haunted house, but the listless hour leading up to those fleeting moments could test the patience of a Buddhist Monk.

I say, “Burn the Blair Witch!” Get thee back to the pits of Red Box Hell, Satan spawn, grainy, POV, shaky cam heathen!

The Phantom of The Ville

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