Thursday, 22 September 2016

REVIEW - BLAIR WITCH (ADAM WINGARD)


In the unceasingly inconsistent career of director Adam Wingard, one sees as clearly as anywhere else in cinema that a good movie is always, unfailingly reliant upon a good concept. The genesis of what eventually will show on our screens, the foundation for what a team of thousands will create - the movie itself is vitally dependent on its strength and quality, regardless of what wizardry that team may concoct to improve the experience. Indeed, Wingard is proof that a bad concept can inspire bad filmmaking, and vice versa. Blair Witch is a bad concept, I'm afraid, and you're correct to infer thus that it inspires bad filmmaking, but it's primarily just a really, horribly bad concept. 17 years on from The Blair Witch Project, it requires analysis as its own entity, yet connections and comparisons are inevitably rife; suffice it to say, briefly, that Wingard takes most of what worked in 1999 and either ditches or desecrates it. But even aside from its direct relation, Blair Witch is quite obviously a massive mistake - whether or not it purports to upend the cliches it employs most generously, there's nothing valuable in watching the same old scares recycled over and over. It's an incessantly familiar film, whether or not you've even seen either of its predecessors, and gains utterly nothing in ramping up both the scare quota and the volume to numbing levels - conversely, it loses a lot of its impact. Yet Wingard is proficient in manufacturing effective horror sequences, as trite as they may be. Blair Witch intends to increase the fear factor as it progresses, and, in spite of its frequent failings, its adjacent success in this regard makes this movie at least a little worthwhile. It also begs the question: with talent like this in his hands, why couldn't Adam Wingard have put it to better uses? A better concept, to start?