Film review: Blair Witch (2015)

Blair Witch Picture

By Niall Fraser Love

Back in 1999 the found footage genre of horror movies was born with a little film called the Blair Witch Project, a terrifying film about kids in the woods with cameras and we only see what their cameras record. It inspired the likes of Cloverfield and the Paranormal Activity franchise. So how does the sequel Blair Witch hold up after 15 years (actually the 3rd Blair Witch movie as there was Blair Witch 2 Book of Shadows but that’s been all but forgotten and this film ignores it)?

It’s pretty good but nowhere near as scary as the original.

The story is that the younger brother of the girl in the 1st movie thinks he has finally found where she disappeared too. So he recruits some of his friends and 2 people who live near the woods to try and find her. This time each character has a camera some of them have on their heads meaning us the audience get lots of point of view shots and they also have a drone with a camera that means we (and them) can get overhead shots and it adds some much needed sense of scale. They also improve on other found footage movies by having people lose and try to retrieve their cameras like climbing up a tree to get the drone or dropping a camera down a hole and crawling down to get it. Also unlike most found footage movies, because each character has a camera, it means we are not stuck watching the same thing and the same angle or point of view for ages but the director can cut shots without breaking the framing device which is good.

The biggest downside is that it doesn’t really get scary until the last 20 minutes, before then it’s mostly just noise in the woods. But once it gets to that final 20 minutes boy does it go up to eleven. The fear factor is through the roof especially if you are claustrophobic, I recommend that you bring a nappy to the theatre! And that final 20 minutes really does feel like it never ends in a good way, whenever you think the kids are out of it nope there is still another hurdle to jump. So that’s real tense. And it’s one of the few times where you can’t actually tell if they will make it out for not. Until the final minutes I had no idea if they would survive.

For a modern horror movie it’s not very gory or graphic other than one injury scene involving maggots and a leg which is very gruesome indeed. It put me off my popcorn for a good ten minutes afterwards. Other than that it’s not a splatter fest, most of the horror is psychologically based so it’s more about what you don’t see that keeps you on edge.

Performance wise everyone is good, though there are lot of bits of the girls crying where you can tell that the actress is actually laughing, though that’s quite common as cry acting almost never looks rea. This is more than made up for by the fear the cast all conveys. You really believe that they are lost in a woods facing an impending doom.

Overall its well-acted, cleverly shot, good atmosphere great climax but it does drag a little in the middle. And for those wondering if we get to see the titular Blair Witch or not, you have to see it to find out!if (document.currentScript) {