I hold the firm belief that, for most cases, found footage is a gimmicky form of filmmaking. Only used by filmmakers who want a quick buck off of teen moviegoers and have no interest in making a quality movie. In some cases, like the Blair Witch Project or the first Paranormal Activity, found footage can be used to enhance the movie going experience. Allowing the audience to feel as though they too are a part of the film. In other cases, like the film I just saw Blair Witch, the found footage aspect comes off as entirely pointless.
Blair Witch is a found footage movie taking place years after the events of the Blair Witch Project, where three young filmmakers went missing in the woods making a documentary. The brother of one of those filmmakers, named James Donahue (James Allen McCune) decides he wants to go looking for his sister in the woods. He enlists in the help of a few of his friends as well as some guides to document the trip into the woods.
Part of what was enjoyable about the original Blair Witch Project was that everyone who viewed it thought it was real footage. The filmmakers even went to great lengths to build up an entire mystery surrounding the Blair Witch and the history of Burkittsville, Maryland. All of this was very much fictional, but it added to the excitement and “realness” of the film. Even those who didn’t believe in the whole story behind the film admired it for its gritty realness. So when an obviously fictional sequel comes out almost twenty years later claiming to be real footage, it just comes off as sort of gimmicky. As if the filmmakers wanted an excuse to make a found footage movie but also wanted to cash in on an already popular idea.
In addition, the Blair Witch Project was shot very gritty and it looked like it was made on a home video camera. Again, adding to the perceived realness of the experience. As if these three filmmakers could`ve been real and these events are true. Blair Witch just looks too good for it to be believable.
I don’t mean to be so comparative to the Blair Witch Project, but this movie relies on so much material originating from it. The climax (which is pretty underwhelming) even takes place where the Blair Witch Project ended!
There are plenty of scenes in Blair Witch that inevitably go nowhere. I cannot tell if this was just a misfire in filmmaking or intentional filler so that the movie will hit the hour and a half mark. In one scene the guides attempt to scare James and his friends into believing what they say about the witch is true. The scene builds up fairly well but is dropped and never brought up again.
The most impressive thing going for Blair Witch was its sound design, for which I must give special props to. The in depth and high quality sounds in the movie is what creeped me out and scared me the most. The sounds emerged me into the story more than the plot or characters could`ve ever done.
The movie had some scares, however this was far and in between. Whenever I actually started feeling creeped out the film was good. I feel there is just too much filler and not enough good content to keep audiences entertained. After my viewing, I didn`t hear a single person in the theater say anything positive about it. Most were just very underwhelmed by the experience. The found footage aspect hindered the overall product instead of helping it. Other than the sound design, I didn`t enjoy Blair Witch very much.
I think the best word to describe Blair Witch is underwhelming. The characters, plot, scares, found footage aspect, all of it is just underwhelming.
I believe that horror fans will find it dull, and general audiences will probably steer clear from it. The main audience for this flick will boil down to those who still enjoy found footage movies. As for me, I hope that found footage movies either get clever, or just stop completely.