“Lives Up to the Comparison to Friday the 13th Part V on the Box”
Of course it had to happen. After the somewhat scrappy and uninspired remakes of HALLOWEEN (2007), FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (2010) it was only fair that young moviegoers of the twenty-first century also got to have their own remake of the most successful horror film of 1999. Directed by horror’s own ‘King of Swingers’ (of the camera that is), Adam Wingard’s BLAIR WITCH is getting a digital, DVD and Blu-ray release from Lionsgate.
It’s kind of a sequel as well as a remake, in the way that films that are anxious to cover all the bases in a desperate attempt to appeal to as many people as possible are. James Allen McCune plays James, whose sister Heather (nudge nudge) disappeared in the woods around Burkittsville when he was four years old. Convinced by some dodgy video footage that she’s still there, he sets off with some friends on his own ill-advised and ill-equipped journey into the Heart of Found Footage territory.
BLAIR WITCH received decidedly mixed reviews on its cinema release last year and it's not difficult to see why. If you're a fan of the found footage subgenre this hits all the bases (not much happening for the first thirty minutes, followed by lots of frantic running around and wobblycam, brief glimpses of things towards the end). If you're not then you probably aren't going to watch this anyway, as, sadly there's nothing in BLAIR WITCH to distinguish it from the plethora of BLAIR WITCH wannabes from five years ago you can probably still find down the pound shop.
And that’s a great shame, because there are a couple of supremely scary and unnerving ideas here in desperate need of a proper film to be made about them. The group seem to get trapped in a time vortex, where a night can last five days. The drone they bring with them, in a nice touch, reveals from the air that the forest has changed and all paths leading out have vanished.
None of this is used to any effect, however. Instead we have Mr Wingard using his ‘swing the camera around as much as possible' style that has marred pretty much everything he’s made except THE GUEST (I’m beginning to think that’s his LORDS OF SALEM as it’s the only thing by him I really like). The sound design is horrible, veering between people whispering and then SHOUTING VERY LOUDLY or people mumbling and then ROCK MUSIC PLAYED AT AN ABOMINABLE VOLUME. It’s all profoundly irritating, uninspired, and very annoying. It also made me feel old - make of that what you will.Lionsgate’s DVD and Blu-ray release comes with a Wingard commentary, plus a number of making of featurettes and a special ‘low sound option for late night viewing’.
Adam Wingard's BLAIR WITCH is out from Lionsgate on digital platforms from 16th January 2017 and it gets a DVD and Blu-ray release a week later on the 23rd.