By Kim Larabee, Contributing Writer
Halloween is right around the corner and horror movies are making their appearance in the changing season. Recent arrival to Narrow Gauge Cinema, Blair Witch, with a runtime of about an hour and 30 minutes, is an R-rated continuation of the original 1999 horror classic film.
Similar to the original, the 2016 film follows college aged students through the woods and into a nightmare. “A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of James’ sister who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch,” Rotten Tomatoes summarizes. “At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.”
Joseph Needle, the president of the Nightmare Club on campus went and saw the movie with the club members. “I think my favorite part of the new Blair Witch film was the witch itself, as sort of an eldritch creature,” said Needle via email. “I thought the design of the creature, along with its presence in the background, rather than the foreground, allowing it to be more ominous, was the strongest element of the film.”
“I think the weakness of the film was in its seeming identity crisis,” Needle continued. “It was half intended to be a found footage film, but the intent didn’t feel genuine with the Hollywood lighting, and the sort of formal acting, which I thought was relatively poor for being too in between free-form and scripted,” he critiqued. “It would have done better sticking to one route or the other.”
“I’m also not a fan of the reliance on generally cheap jump scares, loud noises and flashing scenes, rather than something stemming from genuine horror or creepiness,” said Needle, “There was no atmosphere, which is what the original Blair Witch film was so adept at. The original Blair Witch was a true found footage film, it was incredibly believable, the acting felt like genuine human interactions, you could feel the relatable fear. That’s why it was so hard for so many people to believe that it was so fake, because it was so convincing.”
Needle said might recommend this film to other general fans of horror, but would not strongly recommend it gave it the rating of six point five out of ten.
Most members from the Nightmare club are critical when watching a newer horror movie. Everyone in the club has their own views of what they think a very good horror movie should be.
Veteran member Taylia Brewer had different views on the movie. She thought the best thing about the film is not seeing the witch until the very. Her least favorite part was the audio being highly screechy, the shaky video and the composure of the film in total. She thought that the original was a bit better because it was more realistic. Brewer said, “I would not recommend this movie to others, due to the audio and film quality ruining the whole movie for me. I would rate the new ‘Blair Witch’ a three.”
Nikki Murphy, an avid horror movie fan, also weighed in. She thought that the movie was really good, compared to Needle and Brewer. Said Murphy, “My favorite part was when the two locals showed up to the campsite ‘days later’ because it added a level of craziness to the story.”
Her least favorite part was when they showed the witch because it made it less realistic compared to the original movie where the witch never appears on screen at all. So many people in the 1990’s believed it was a true story because of the camera work and the fact that they actually never did show the witch.
Murphy went on to say that she loved that it was a continuation and not a remake of the original and it definitely lived up to the first movie. She gave it a eight point five out of ten.
Blair Witch is a movie that should be seen while it is still in theaters according to these student’s reviews. To add to the atmosphere, go at night instead of the day: that is if you are up for the challenge.