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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Blair Witch | James Allen McCune, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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Blair Witch | James Allen McCune, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott | Review

They just can’t stop messin’ with her.

The titular scourge of Burkittsville, Maryland, shows her face (sort of) in this direct sequel to 1999’s Blair Witch Project, that found footage mega-hit that (didn’t create but) jump-started the genre.

This time around, a quartet of millennials led my James (James Allen McCune) brother of the missing Heather from the first film, sets out on a quest to find the mysterious house in the woods where she disappeared, even hoping to find Heather herself  (as if after 17 years he’ll discover her living off the grid and communing with nature).

Another young couple (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry) joins the group unexpectedly; they can lead everyone to the spot where Heather’s video tapes were found from years before.

The six overly confident explorers employ sophisticated high-tech gadgets including a camera-equipped drone, GPS system, Bluetooth, and walkie-talkies in addition to the hand-held, constantly documenting video camera to aid them in their search, setting up camp deep in the woods while periodically spouting stories surrounding the legend and curse of the Blair Witch.
 
It doesn’t take long before things go awry.  Someone gets wounded.  The group gets lost (so much for GPS).  Then night falls and all bets are off, as one by one the group’s members disappear among the darkness and the unexplained howling/screeching ominous noises that accompany every deep-in-the-woods-with-danger flick you’ve ever seen.

The laws of physics go berserk as the sun forgets to rise and the group forgets all about the buddy system.  The strange wooden symbols from 1999 appear.  So does the house, with its twisty corridors, handprints on the wall, and someone facing a corner like a toddler on a time-out.

After a promising start, the film begins to rely heavily on loud, jarring sounds, multiple jump cuts, and even a few seconds of black screen to achieve a sense of anticipatory dread.  While this production is slicker than its predecessor, it’s also much less subtle and consequently, less effective.  There’s more hysteria than horror here, and a larger, more diverse group of unfortunates is simply that many more underdeveloped characters to absorb.

Director Adam Wingard (You’re Next) starts slowly enough, but then tries to make up for it by cramming a frenzy of action into the latter part of the 89- minute running time.  Events don’t unfold so much as unravel, and that means that instead of icy fingers up your neck, you get your head bashed in.
 
Part of the Blair Witch legend holds that if you look at her, you die.  Perhaps the film should have taken its own advice.

(With Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, and Brandon Scott)

 

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