Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Blair Witch


Summary: Film student Lisa (Callie Hernandez) suddenly gets the moviemaking opportunity of a lifetime: her boyfriend James (James Allen McCune) finds video proof online of where his sister Heather (the main character from The Blair Witch Project) disappeared. With his friends Peter (Brandon Scott) and Ashley (Corbin Reid) and a lot of high-tech, versatile equipment (camera headsets, GPS, a drone camera, etc.), they set out to the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland to explore the woods where the video was found. But tagalong locals Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), who found the tape in the woods to begin with, warn them about the legend of the Blair Witch and how unexplained things seem to happen in these woods. Lo and behold, after a night in these woods, time and space become bendable, their equipment starts malfunctioning, and strange and unexplained noises and symbols start appearing in the night. All the while, everyone is wondering just what they got into.

Review: Blair Witch was a lot better than I was expecting and set the bar pretty high for found footage horror films. I haven’t seen the original, but this film stands on its own. Admittedly, the first part of the movie is a little slow, establishing characters and taking it’s sweet time giving vague hints about the mythology, though neither are particularly gripping. However, once the scares and the supernatural stuff starts, everything kicks into gear; the characters show us exactly who they are under pressure and the mythos of the Blair Witch starts to worm into your brain as you try to figure out exactly what’s going on. Speaking of, the movie is great for not giving you all the details of the oncoming horror, but enough for you to connect the dots and paint the full picture yourself.

One thing essential to good horror that this movie gets perfectly is pacing. It knows when to ramp up and when to let you breathe, all the while keeping you on edge while you’re in the woods. There are also little quirks that prick your psyche into uneasiness, like the occasional electronic squawks when a camera goes on or the low underlying bass noise like Paranormal Activity used. One great tool is how they have the cameras get distorted when there’s something supernatural nearby, as if there was a lit sign saying, “Okay, enough of the little leagues. Time for you to really get scared.”

Originally, I was going to rail against the constant false jump scares because those are really overdone (for those who don’t know, a false jump scare is when the movie tries to startle the audience with something that isn’t actually frightening, like a door suddenly opening only for a car to jump out, particularly after a lot of build-up). But then I realized the twofold brilliance of it. First, it’s putting you in the mindset of these paranoid characters as they start to freak out over everything, not sure what’s familiar and what’s something new and terrifying. Secondly, they’re just a warmup act for the third act, where jump scares are practically abandoned and everything goes into overdrive. Oh yes, that third act was one tense, terrifying symphony of scares.

Oh, and I can’t forget that this movie succeeds where other horror films fail: having likable characters. It’s not like Don’t Breathe where the characters are robbing people or Unfriended where they’re all cyber bullies. The goals of our protagonist are noble without being a Boy Scout or Superman. They only start to unravel when they are subjected to this alien forest that plays with time, light, and their perceptions. It’s for this reason alone that I’d like to recommend this to everyone I know, although it is definitely not for the faint of heart. I actually thought that I was going to have a heart attack from all the tension and anxiety coming from the screen. But yeah, if you can stomach some good scares, this is a great movie to kick off the Halloween season.

Fun Tidbit: The marketing for this movie is actually the polar opposite of its predecessor. The Blair Witch Project had a ton of viral marketing, a fake documentary, and much more to get people hyped for the movie. This movie, on the other hand, kept everything under a tight lock and key for the longest time. In fact, the first anyone heard of it was when people at 2016’s San Diego Comic Con got a special screening to a new movie called The Woods, which was being advertised around Comic Con. Once the screening was over and the people realized what they actually saw, down came the banners for The Woods that were scattered around the convention hall and up went the Blair Witch promos. Kudos for keeping a lid on it for that long.

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