!SPOILER ALERT! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK:
Oh, Blair Witch Project how you terrified me when I was ten. You terrified me to the point that I was scared to go camping or even walk outside of my house in the dark (FYI: I live in the semi-woods).
Oh, Blair Witch (the 2016 sequel) how you terrified me with your jump scares and gore for your total run of an hour and a half. You made me realize how much I missed the brilliance of the first film. You did, however, introduce interesting lore into the Blair Witch legend (but more on that later).
The Blair Witch (sequel) is bad. Horrible. Garbage. Disappointing. Maybe I'm biased? I enjoyed what the first one represented. Blair Witch Number 2 lacked the mystique that its predecessor had.
For those of you unfamiliar with The Blair Witch Project:
The year is 1999. Found footage was not ruined by the likes of Paranormal Activity and viral marketing had not been fully utilized. The Blair Witch Project is released (as a documentary it would seem). They ran with what they had going for them: found footage. They made websites, released news stories, created this "Blair Witch" legend and made everyone believe that Heather, Josh, and Mike were real. They were teenagers that had gone missing in search of this "Blair Witch." I mean... the characters had the actual names of the actors GODDAMN.
What made Blair Witch (1999) so fantastic was the work that was done behind the scenes. It was brilliant and had never been used before. The movie itself is terrible. Nothing happens and it's super boring. The part that was terrifying was the thought that this was REAL found footage. Man, was the joke was on little ten-year-old me.
And that is precisely where Blair Witch (2016) fails. It offers nothing new. It is basically a rehash of the original with newer technology (aka droid, head cam, etc.) It shows glimpses of the Witch and the acting is significantly better (not saying much here...). But it's still found footage and it lacks what the first had: that viral campaign behind it that made it seem so real.
What I did like about the new one was the relationships between the characters: they seemed more human and had a real purpose of why they were in the woods. You felt for them (damn you James!) and felt the connection between the characters. Plus it introduced this new concept in the BW legend: the time warp (it's just a jump to the left!)
Basically: you learn that the characters are stuck in a night that never ends. You see one of the characters age faster than the others even though they entered at the same time. When James is looking for his sister, Heather and actually sees her at the house (supposedly) he may actually be seeing her. This would also explain why Lane and Talia had that video of Lisa inside the house.
Perhaps the Witch controls how fast time passes for each of her victims and they're stuck in a neverending nightmare. It's a theory of my own variety. While it doesn't make me like the movie, it does make me respect the thought that went into it (if that was what the writers intended that is).
Final verdict: 4/10. Blair Witch relied too heavily on its audience love of the story and lacked the mystery and general creepiness of its predecessor. This may be due to the overwhelming amount of "found footage" horror movies but Blair Witch didn't introduce anything new into the genre. It followed a typical jump scare/found footage cliche. At least it was better than Book of Shadows (trailer below).
I got through 30 seconds of this: