Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes and clips and puts it all in perspective.
I did not want to like this trailer. I'm sick of found footage movies. We've seen it all many times by now. The shaky camera. The blacked out camera. Tripping and falling camera. Sarcastic characters at their most shrill, telling us how they aren't scared. Then more screaming, shaking and running. And vomiting. I'm the one doing the vomiting, but it's still part of the overall process. The Blair Witch Project was an original when it came out, and if you saw it before it was hyped, it was a genuinely scary film – and anyone who says otherwise is a liar! But all the found footage movies that came after really put a damper on the format.
So I came in not wanting to like this trailer… and you know what? I still ended up not liking it. Sorry. It was exactly as plodding as I thought it would be. I was proud of this trailer for one thing — they spared us an homage to the iconic close up on the girl's eyes in the dark as she breathes very loudly, completely terrified. The temptation to redo that shot must have been huge. Maybe they did, but I'm so glad we weren't subjected to it here. If I never see that parodied or referenced again, my life will be fine.
We have come full circle. The only way to make a found footage movie viable again is if we make a sequel of the found footage movie that kicked off the whole craze. If this wasn't a Blair Witch sequel then it would just be a knock off, so it's kind of a creative decision, ironically. The other found footage sequels I can think of (I'm calling Paranormal Activity security cam footage, even if that's not fair), both Cloverfield and the original Blair Witch, eschewed the found footage format to both wild success and dismal failure, respectively. Blair Witch is going back to what made it so popular. But we are a lot more savvy about this kind of film then we were 17 years ago. And none of what I saw in the trailer impressed me. I neither deserve nor need another Blair Witch, pentagrams or no pentagrams.
And if I didn't know Adam Wingard (You're Next) directed it, and the movie's gotten great advance notices, I'd be done with it. But I do know that. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, I am cursed with knowledge. If you are not up on your Bloody Disgusting news, the review snippets in the trailer may look like false advertising, like they are simply reprinting the quotes for the 1999 Blair Witch. Tell those no-nothings that they are wrong. People who have seen this movie, yes, the 2016 Blair Witch movie, genuinely seem to like it.
So against my better judgement, I'm coming for you Blair Witch. I'm sure I'll end up standing in a corner, not possessed, just dealing with motion sickness, but I'll give you a chance.