Sunday, September 18, 2016

Blair Witch [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (2 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review 

Blair Witch [2016] (directed by Adam Wingard, screenplay by Simon Barrett) is a rather benign "20 years later" sequel (wow, it's been nearly twenty years...) to The Blair Witch Project [1999] which, "back in the day" had really "turned heads" / caught the attention of movie goers and movie producers alike.  Yes, the original BWP was the very first film built around the "lost footage" device that has become part-and-parcel of horror / "scary movies" ever since. 

So how does the sequel do?  To be honest, "Eh, pretty well..." IMHO ;-).  Indeed, I'm somewhat surprised at the R-rating (for language mostly and, yes, least one of the "college aged couples" going out into Maryland's "Black Hills Forest" in search of "what really happened to Holly" (one of the college aged women who disappeared in the first film) more-or-less clearly set-out to do so with the expectation of sharing a tent together (They die, of course ... But then, in the "Shakespeare as a teen" (as HE _could_ have been "back in HIS DAY...") ETHOS of the whole "lost footage genre" ... they ALL "kinda have to die ..." ;-)

The technology of course is updated, reminding us today of JUST HOW HUGE the "state of the art" handheld "minicams" of 1999 still were.  In the current film, the characters wear "flash cams" mounted to blue-tooth style earpieces, the batteries powering them presumably being no larger those powering today's hearing aids.  One character even brings along a little plastic "Walmart Special" four propeller helicopter drone ;-). 

None of this technology, however, is a match for the well-timed-to-be-scary "wind gust" or random howl of some random animal, wild or domestic, in the distance.  Add rain (and the mud it produces) and between shaky cams and shaky flashlights, it all makes for one heck of a low budget, and quite believable "scary high school / college camping story" ;-). 

The best comment about the film that I've heard came from the teenager who sold me the ticket as I went to see it.  I asked: "So did you see it yet?"  "No, and I don't plan to.  I'm just a big scardy cat" ;-)  Scardy cat indeed ... ;-)

Folks, this is not Citizen Kane [1941], nor even Psycho [1960].  But for teenagers and those who _were_ teenagers "back in (some) day" who used to go hiking or camping, it spins a pretty good tale ... ;-)

Not bad really, not bad at all ;-)

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