Guys, guys, the wait is finally over. After the announcement of San Diego Comic Con, and seeing an article that was roughly titled “Adam Wingard’s new film “The Woods” is actually a new “Blair Witch.” Hype level over 9000, sign me up, pump it straight into my veins! all that stuff. So its safe to say that, my expectations were very high. Other than James Wan, Adam Wingard is my favourite modern day horror director, I think what he does is always excellent. Just for references, my favourite “classic” horror director is John Carpenter, why? Watch The Thing, you’ll find out.
lets get right into it shall we?
Blair Witch is a film directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Barrett. The film is about James who discovers a video showing what he believes to be his sister’s experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, he and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.
**Spoiler** If you haven’t seen the first movie, watch that, then come back here, or google the ending… doesn’t matter much to me, I’m just a blog
The sister is Heather from the first film, so James and her experience the same woods in one life time…
If you read my other posts, entitled “On The Road to Wingard’s Blair Witch” you will know that I’m a fan of the combination of director and writer – Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, but if you haven’t I’ll catch you up on their filmographies.
I first learned the name Adam Wingard after watching the original V/H/S (2012). I said previously, it was The ABCs of Death(2012), but I didn’t actually know his name, then went back to revisit ABCs until after V/H/S. I knew that myself as an audience was in for something special, and after V/H/S/2(2013), his name was implanted in my brain and I was most definitely a fan. So after going on IMDb and learning his name, I went back through his filmography and watched some of his older films, and by films I mean film because it was available to buy on Blu-Ray at Target when I was working there. That film was a blind buy, I only looked at the name, and that movie was called You’re Next(2011). Which turned out to be nothing sort of brilliant (for the review of You’re Next – https://andrewmoviespot.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/on-the-road-to-wingards-blair-witch-13/ ) and then he did The Guest(2014), and that too was nothing sort of special and unique and hilarious… you haven’t seen anything quite like it, and you owe it to yourself to see it. (Review for The Guest – https://andrewmoviespot.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/on-the-road-to-wingards-blair-witch-2-the-guest2014/ ).
While looking up Adam Wingard, I learned the name Simon Barrett. They have collaborated on many many films, and always do they do amazing work with each other. He was the guy who wrote most if not all of Wingard’s films.
Blair Witch had me hooked right from the opening scene to the end credits, I was on the edge of my seat, I had my heart in my throat, I came out of the film feeling so many things, but mostly I was extremely content.
I won’t ruin any parts of the film, because spoilers suck especially in a horror movie, I don’t want you to expect anything, Going in blind, especially in horror is the best idea. Trailers give away too much, every time. But what I will do is give some interesting things I enjoyed about the film, I’ll give my negatives, well negative and then conclude it all up. But please, if you go see this movie, especially those people on my Facebook, message me, I’d like to discuss what you thought, more so if you were a fan of the original Blair Witch Project (1998) – (my review here – https://andrewmoviespot.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/on-the-road-to-wingards-blair-witch-3-the-blair-witch-project1998/)
I thought it was really neat how they set up this movie. So yeah the synopsis is what happens, but everyone is equipped with a personalized camera, and then theres the more skilled camera people that will have this personal camera, that is always from their Point of View and they were also carrying a hand camera so they could look around them, and behind them etc. But I think an interesting way that they decided to film, was that they got a drone that could be controlled by a phone, so they would launch this drone up in the air and be able to look at their surroundings. I think filming this way, especially in the day time provided some very nice cinematography, even though it was all woods. But you were a part of the movie. I find with all this point of view film making, that myself as a member of the audience is actually another person who is with them. I’m watching all this going on, but I actually can’t help them, and I’m forced to see exactly what they see. This provides tension, like extreme tension. You want to close your eyes, but you don’t want to miss anything.
I liked how the film was cut too, you weren’t focused on one persons camera for a huge amount of time. Usually film makers use this tactic to create more tension, but the way it was cut definitely made up for the lack of one scene drawn out. Very well done.
I will also talk about the woods themselves. The woods that the movie took place in, much like the original Blair Witch Project, were a character in itself. I felt intimidated by the woods, I felt like the woods were “watching me” it was just crazy. I think the best thing that Adam Wingard did with the woods though, was he made a vast open space of trees, the woods, feel claustrophobic. Like I felt myself shrugging and getting anxious, I don’t think I’m scared of tiny spaces, but theres just something about horror movies that get me. Feeling stuck or getting trapped in a small tunnel, scares the bejesus out of me. But the whole movie, Adam Wingard was able to create tension, even in the day, but especially at night. You’re closed in, and the point of view is limited.
I can’t even imagine making a found footage film where the cast members are actually filming the movie, but Adam Wingard has such an interesting way of filming his movies that even if he wasn’t behind the camera directly, it still felt very much like an Adam Wingard film.
The cast of the film was great, I haven’t heard of any of them but I thought they all played their roles quite well. I was actually a fan of every character, I have no complaints about that.
The script was very good, as good as I would have expected from Simon Barrett. There were genuine moments of some funny lines that was a small break from the ball breaking tension and the claustrophobic-ness of it all. I was very happy with the script.
My only negative about the film, was that there were parts where I felt the pacing was a little off. It lagged behind on parts that really didn’t matter to the plot or to force more tension, I actually felt the tenseness go away, but immediately when there was a Point of View change or a scene change, the tension was back. It was a lull in otherwise a very well done and well directed film.
So, overall my final review of one of my most anticipated films of the year from one of my favourite horror director and writer – 4.5/5. I loved this movie, I thought it was tense, and an extremely worthy sequel to a very original movie. The Blair Witch Project was truly one of a kind, but Blair Witch taking place 16-17 years later, is a nice return to the Blair Woods. You owe it to yourself if you’re a horror fan to go see this!
Until Next Time!
NOTE: Blair Witch is playing at Cineplex theatres in DBOX, I will be going to see this in DBOX on saturday. This will add something new to the film, my brain was moving and I was imagining how DBOX would go with the movie. I wanted to see it without the gimmick to write my review of it, but I will add my DBOX thoughts of the film and if it is worth seeing in DBOX as opposed to regular. I hope it will be, but a bucket list item of mine is seeing a horror movie in DBOX, I’m genuinely scared but incredibly intrigued to go see this film especially in DBOX. So stay tuned for a small follow up of just DBOX thoughts – probably in a follow up post. I will also post if the film has rewatchable value.