I fully understand the reasonable popular criticisms of “Blair Witch” (2016). But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really enjoy it — I’d give it an 8 out of 10.
Yes, it’s largely a retread of the first film in 1999. This putative sequel is effectively a remake, given how closely it parallels the original. (And there are a lot of people who hated that movie to start with.)
There are other problems too. A subplot’s non sequitur segue into body horror is entirely out of place, for example, and we have at least two characters who are so irritating that we can’t care much about their fate. And then there are some missed opportunities involving technology. (Much attention is paid to a drone that the ill-fated protagonists bring along in their trek into the woods, but it is underused later in the story.)
Still … this still worked for me. I have always really liked found-footage horror movies, and I also like stories featuring local legends. (They’re just more engaging to me than yet another slasher film or third-rate, no-budget zombie movie.) And there are a couple of moments of brilliance. The scariest has already been spoiled by the film’s trailer (seriously, f*** you, Lionsgate marketing department). But there are other nice touches … one is the dread-inducing, reality-bending story arc of the two locals who accompany the main protagonists. (And weren’t these two supporting characters the most fun and interesting, anyway?)
And we indeed finally get glimpses of the titular Blair Witch! They are brief and few, but they’re a damned effective, scary payoff.
All in all, this is still an offbeat horror outing in the same vein as the original, and I think the better parts made it a decent viewing.