Blair Witch Review

Blair Witch is the sequel to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. It is amazing that the original Blair Witch Project hit theaters nearly 18 years ago.  The reboot is directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. These two also collaborated on films such as The GuestYou’re Next and V/H/S. Judging by their past work, it would appear that Wingard and Barrett are the perfect people to write and direct a rebooted blair witch film.

Blair Witch takes place many years after the events of The Blair Witch Project. Heather Donahue’s younger brother James plans to enter the Burkittsville woods with two friends and documentarian Lisa Arlington who hopes to make a film following James’s search. Two local residents accompany the search as well. It doesn’t take long before shit starts to hit the fan. The group inexplicably sleeps in until 2:00 PM and then finds stick figures hanging from the trees around the campsite. It only gets worse from here as more supernatural things interfere with the group’s search.

The original Blair Witch Project is credited as being one of the most crucial films in the history of horror cinema. It was the first film to utilize a found footage premise and it did so with an incredibly effective marketing campaign. The end result was a film that left viewers unsure whether it was real or not. The film achieved an stunning level or realism that encouraged viewers to believe that it was real “found footage” that was discovered in the Burkittsville woods. Any effort to reboot this film cannot have the same effect because of the rapid developments in technology over the past couple decades. Blair Witch understands this fact and smoothly incorporates present-day technology such as drones and webcams into its narrative. However one must suspend their disbelief to an extremely high level to accept the idea that this new Blair Witch is true found footage. The chances that this amount of footage would survive the events that occur are slim to none. The skills with which the film is shot and edited also helps diminish any “realistic” qualities.

Yet I assert that Blair Witch succeeds on both a technical level and with regards to entertainment. I was enthralled by every moment of this film. Perhaps I am predisposed to enjoy watching unsuspecting people meet a horrific downfall and the closer this downfall appears to reality, the more invested I am. Wingard treats this film as a longer version of a segment from V/H/S, where found footage is utilized throughout. Blair Witch starts innocently and the ending is where the real meat of the film resides. The only complain I can muster is that Blair Witch uses too many “jump scare” moments that are cheap and do an injustice to the film’s goal of realism. The original Blair Witch Project had no jump scares so you would think that the reboot would do the same. The tendency of my fellow audience members to react loudly to these jump scares exacerbated my hatred of them.

Aside from this small complaint, Blair Witch is a must-see film for horror fans.

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Is Creed another Boring Reboot?

A few weeks ago I watched Creed, the seventh iteration in the Rocky franchise. The movie stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed and Sylvester Stallone as Rocky. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. Having only seen the original Rocky, I have no investment in the franchise. I am so accustomed to reboots being less effective than originals. We live in an age where it seems like every movie is a reboot, because the only way to make money is to make something that people will recognize. No one is willing to risk their chance of being entertained on an unknown.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with reboots. I am actually happy when things from my past are remade. It provides the chance to re-experience something that I love in a new way. It also gives me a window to see what people liked before I was born. Five years ago, I had no familiarity with the Rocky movies. I had some experience with them from their famous iconography, mainly from parodies. People, punching meat, running up the stairs in Philadelphia, etc. But I had no who Sylvester Stallone was or why the original film spawned so many sequels.

Thanks to current podcasts and movie reviews, I have gained an appreciation for the Rocky films. The original Rocky is a phenomenal experience. It’s an uplifting underdog story that makes you feel good. Rocky doesn’t even win his final boxing match but his participation alone feels like a victory. Just competing in the ring with Apollo Creed is enough. I feel this idea is the true core of Rocky. The idea of not being influenced by anyone else’s ideas. Rocky doesn’t cry and bemoan his loss. He knows that his journey to the final match was worth it. He doesn’t need to win because victory alone doesn’t mean anything to him.

I feel this message is carried into Creed. Adonis does not win his fight either but his effort is still inspiring. Without effort, victory is nothing. Creed succeeds because it maintains this message. I recommend the movie to everyone.