First of all, let me say, I went into this with no expectations. At all. If it’s possible to have lower than the lowest expectations, then that’s what I had. I pretty much assumed this movie would be absolute and utter shit. That being said, it wasn’t, and I want to share my thoughts on it with everyone. As usual, there will be spoilers, so don’t read any further if you don’t want to be spoiled.
There’s a group of four people. James, Lisa, Ashley, and Peter. It is set up that James’s sister was Heather (from the first movie). Lisa is his friend or girlfriend (not clear) and she wants to do a documentary of him going back to the Black Hills to find his sister. Who for some reason he believes is still out there. Which I agree makes no sense. That Heather would be out there and alive for like what? 17 years? Moving on.
They all have these earpiece cameras (thank God because it made the movement less shaky). There was also something about a drone with a camera on it so they could go above the trees and look around if they needed to (not a bad idea). They all had GPS tracking on them as well (I believe in the earpieces they were using). This way they could keep track of each other. At the beginning of the movie, James shows Lisa some youtube video he found. The person who put up the video says he found the tapes in the Black Hills. There is a reflection in the mirror of a really dirty/bloody girl (in the video) and that’s what makes him think Heather is up there still.
They go to meet the guy who took the video. His name is Lane and he has a purple-haired girlfriend named Talia. They insist that they aren’t going to tell James and his group where he found the tapes. No, they are going to take them all there and camp with them, that’s the only way they’ll know. Reluctantly they accept.
The whole time, Peter is complaining about how the woods aren’t really haunted. That everything is ridiculous. They eventually come to a stream to cross and that’s where Ashley cuts her foot, as for some reason they remove their shoes (and also don’t find a bridge to cross or some other way around).
The first night they are camping, Lane mentions something about how anyone who comes into the woods never comes out again. Peter points out that Lane found the tapes. Lane says that the key is having to stay overnight or else the curse doesn’t work or something. They stay the night and hear weird cracking noises like in the first movie. The branches breaking and such. Then there is a point where Lane is missing and there’s a jump scare. Actually, there are quite a few up to this point. However, Lane is fine so they all go back to sleep. When they wake up there are a bunch of those stick figures hanging around like in the first movie.
They all agree to get the hell out of there when Lisa figures out that Lane has twine in his bag that he used to make the stick figures. They all get pissed off at him and make him and Talia walk their own way. Then they somehow manage to walk in a circle. Ending up right back where they started, they can’t go further because Ashely’s foot hurts and they decide to camp again. Surprise surprise, the GPS doesn’t work right in the cursed woods (who didn’t see that coming?)
Peter checks Ashley’s foot and it’s moving weirdly so he goes and gets James who is an EMT. He doesn’t see it moving but says she has an infection and they’ll just leave in the morning. Except, morning never comes. Peter leaves to get firewood (before they realize how fucked they are) and there’s a bunch of cracking and stomping before he’s crushed by a tree (that falls) and is dragged off somewhere. James finds his flashlight but nothing else and heads back to Lisa.
Lisa has set up a camera to a tree to film the camping site. As she’s checking it, Ashley comes out of the tent and there’s another jump scare. Then Lisa says “Will people PLEASE stop doing that?” and after that point there are no more jump scares in the movie (which I thought was pretty neat). Then James comes back and he’s trying to tell Lisa he can’t find Peter. That’s when Lane and Talia appear again. They look mostly insane. Lane is babbling something about how it’s not really them and it’s a trick because it’s been five days. Talia wants food from them so he shoves her into their campsite and leaves.
Shortly after that, Ashley comes out of the tent and starts yelling at Talia who has found the stick figure dolls. She’s holding one, Ashely snatches it and snaps it which basically “snaps” Talia in half and kills her. The action really starts then. Tents fly in the air and everyone starts running for their lives. Ashely gets separated from them but finds the drone (which previously got stuck in a tree when they were trying to check where they were). She climbs the tree to try to get it, falls out of the tree, and get dragged off somewhere.
This leaves just James and Lisa. A big thunderstorm starts because, why not? They start to head through the woods looking for Ashley and they come across the house. This is when the audience gets the first small glimpse of the Blair Witch (and she’s pretty freaky). James runs into the house believing that he sees Heather in there. Lisa doesn’t want to go in but when she sees the witch she runs inside.
James goes into several rooms and thinks he sees Peter and Heather then it cuts back to Lisa. She is attacked by Lane and he throws her into some tunnel telling her “you have to do what she tells you”. Presumably, he means the Blair Witch. Lisa crawls through some long and narrow tunnels then ends up back in the house. She gets to the attic and runs into James. There is a flash of light and the house shakes and James tells her not to look at the witch. They stay in the corner not looking until James says he’s sorry and a moment later says “Heather is that you?” and turns around, dies.
Lisa, who didn’t turn around, has the bright idea to use the camera she took from Lane to back out of the house. That way she won’t ever be looking right at the witch. Except, the witch mimics James’s voice (him saying he’s sorry) and she turns. The camera falls and roll credits.
All of this is an overly simplified version of what happened. It wasn’t the best horror movie in the world but it wasn’t the worst. I have no idea why it’s getting so much hate. I’m glad I saw it in the theaters because I think the sound would have been less effective had I not. The visual effects were amazing (basically because they were all practical except for minor things). The suspense was well done, the camera shaking was less than the original. The acting was spot on too. It was definitely a movie that had the original Blair Witch feel to it but less of the long and drawn-out conversational stuff.
I will admit there were a lot of cliches. It was obvious that Peter would be the first to die because he was black and he was the smartest (as well as being a smart ass). Though there were hopes that one of them would get out, none of that happened either. There have been some great fan theories floating around about this movie. Either that the Witch can control time and space or she basically can open alternate dimensions (or both). If you take the events of the first movie and line them up with this movie it all fits very well. Were there problems with it? Sure. It wasn’t perfect, but as far as sequels go, it was very entertaining. Then again, you are talking to someone who also thought the first one was amazing (and no one else does).
It’s a shame that it didn’t do too well at the box office (and their whole marketing campaign to try to pretend it wasn’t connected to The Blair Witch first probably made it suffer) because I’d love to see a continuation of what this writer and director came up with. Sadly, there is very little chance of that unless it’s maybe a direct to DVD or NetFlix type movie. Overall I’d give it a 3.5/5 stars. Definitely worth the watch but still filled with cliches and tired scares that we all know very well.