Stupid Woman Climbs Tree: A review of Blair Witch

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You’re lost in the woods in the middle of night, your best friends are missing presumed dead by the hands of some horrific tree destroying witch and you have a horribly infected wound on your foot. What do you do? Do you climb a tree in a bid to retrieve the drone that is wedged in the canopy? NO, of course, you don’t!

There’s a lot of dumb, cliched stuff in this sequel/reboot of the cult 1999 hit but the dumbest has to be this. 

It wasn’t like I was on board before hand. The first act had been so run of the mill, so similar to every single found footage and horror b-movie I’ve ever seen that I was wondering what exactly was the point of this new sequel.

Yet as we arrived at the second act, scary noises in the dark sending our characters searching through the bushes, I did think the film began to work effectively. The darkness was encroaching and the jump scares were well done, it wasn’t game changing but I got wrapped up in the nerve-jangling terror.

Trouble is when characters do things as stupid as climbing trees when a tree toppling monster is trouncing through the forest, I realised this wasn’t going to save itself.

In trying to do something different the film rather takes away some of the mystery of the Blair Witch, we get to see her in glimpses and she looks much like the creepy girl at the end of Rec.

There’s a certain thrill as our leads run through the same old abandoned house with jumps around every corner and it begins to feel a little like a Slender-man style video game. But the terror really ramps up when someone must crawl through a small, muddy, underground tunnel and for anyone who’s even slightly claustrophobic, it will be the scariest bit in the film.

There’s not a lot else to say. The film is as standard a found footage film as they come and whilst I’m not completely tired of the genre as some, I feel like this return to the roots is ultimately not worth it. There’s some interesting stuff with the manipulation of time that adds to the mythos of the world, yet everything is left hanging.

I’m all for ambiguity but when this film ends on the most cliched found footage trope of them all, I felt cheated. Spoilers for that here —> It essentially ends on the witch smacking the lead character and her camera, leading to it being dropped onto the floor and cutting to black.

In the end, the film only barely makes a case for its existence and despite giving a fair few good scares, I was more let down by the cliches then interested in the story.

Rating: C+

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