MOVIE REVIEW: 'Blair Witch'

Posted at 9:04 AM, Sep 16, 2016

Phil Villarreal's novel, Zeta Male, is available at Amazon.

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - "The Blair Witch Project" pretty much birthed the found footage horror movie concept back in 1999, so leave it to its sequel to kill it.

"Blair Witch" is a sloppy, forced attempt to resurrect a franchise that should have been left to die in the Maryland wilderness. The idea is the same as the first movie -- dumb, camera-toting 20-somethings seek out a legendary demonic spirit whose specialty is doing very little for most of the movie before eventually deciding to pop up and make people die. According to the opening subtitle, the footage was discovered in 2014 and patched together.

You'd think the new gang of Blair Witch chroniclers would have a better shot than their predecessors, since they are armed with powerful modern technology such as cell phones, drones and emojis. And there you would be wrong. 

Over the last decade and a half, the witch has developed some new powers. She can now make houses appear and disappear, and neutralize GPS devices. My favorite is her ability to make drones crash. If she somehow manages to make e-cigarettes explode, I would vote for her for president.

The ill-advised project to play "To Catch a Predator" with the Blair Witch is spearheaded by the younger brother of one of the 1999 victims who thinks it's possible that his sister has been chilling with the Blair Witch in the woods for 15 years. And he's "the smart one." That alone should give you the idea of how easy the pickings this crop of visitors is for the Blair Witch to snuff out.

The film's first hour is a slow, dull montage of jumpy, stomach-upsetting snippets of the filmmakers pointing their cameras at each other, walking around aimlessly and starting and resolving typical road trip conflicts that pop up when you travel with frenemies. It's all so boring that the Blair Witch doesn't even bother to make an appearance.

Once she eventually gets around to showing up, we are treated to slow, dull montages of jumpy, stomach-upsetting snippets of the filmmakers scampering around as bloody forest hellfire engulfs them, usually just off camera. Director Adam Wingard tries to have things both ways by inexplicably keeping the camera on victims as they cower in fear or scream in agony, not bothering to account for who might actually be behind the lens at the time.

I'm OK with the franchise being as dead as the Blair Witch's conga line of victims at this point, but if there musrt be another sequel, it must be from the witch's perspective herself. Strap a GoPro on her and let's see what it's like for her to stalk and kill her prey, and give us an idea of what she does during her downtime. 

At least maybe her supernatural powers could keep the camera steady and the audience's stomachs calm.

RATING: 1.5 stars out of 4