Blair Witch Casts a Spell of Dazzling Originality
Reviewed by Joshua Champlain for HumbleHeckler.com.
(Editor’s note: Film critic Joshua Champlain has recently awakened from a 27-year coma. Please keep this in mind when reading the following review.)
It’s easy for film critics to be cynical. So many movies completely lack originality and artistic integrity. So many movies are nothing more than the generic repackaging of well-worn filmic tropes, clichéd storylines, and established pop-culture brands. So many movies are clearly molded by the greedy hooves of capitalist swine in search of a quick buck without having to innovate or bear the burden of any creative risk. So many movies rely solely on storytelling gimmicks and archetypal characters to shamelessly pander to a well-established target demographic in order to put butts in seats on opening weekend. So many movies are so insultingly predictable, so reliant upon this paint-by-numbers philosophy of filmmaking that you just can’t blame critics for the unmistakable air of frustration so prevalent in their reviews.
Which is why I’m so pleased to report that I’ve just seen Blair Witch, a film so startling in its originality that I’m shocked it was allowed to be produced at all, let alone publicly exhibited.
First and foremost, Blair Witch is a horror movie—but not just any horror movie. It will likely be remembered as the single greatest achievement in the hallowed history of horror. The basic story involves a collection of millennials coming face-to-face with unspeakable terrors in the deep, dark woods. And why exactly are these youngsters trudging through the woods? Because the main character, James Donahue, decides it’s time to search for the sister he lost in these very woods 22 years ago, when she led her own expedition of intrepid youngsters on a search for the mysterious Blair Witch, a terrifying apparition with a reputation for disappearing local townsfolk, even children. That alone permits this film to stake its claim as one of the most innovative horror stories of all time. I mean, come on … Good-looking young people killed off in a forest—genius! From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Vertigo Entertainment and Lionsgate for having the balls to tell such an imaginative story. But that’s just the beginning. Check this out: The story is conveyed through a narrative device in which the characters record their own experiences. That footage is then assembled by someone else and presented to the movie-going public as a kind pseudo-documentary. What! Who could have ever imagined such an ingenious method of presenting a story? Only superhuman mega-geniuses, that’s who.
I don’t want to give away any of the surprises (and, trust me, there are just so, so many really startling revelations in this movie), so I won’t say any more about the story or how it is told. However, I would like to say that I am just so proud of you, Hollywood, for respecting ticket-buying audiences (who often have to shell out as much as $20 or more per ticket) for not simply regurgitating the stinking pile of inept, infantile, brain cell-destroying eye cancer you normally fart onto movie screens each weekend. Not this time. No, this time you delivered Blair Witch, rather than insult film fans with yet another half-cocked prequel, sequel, or reboot featuring a gaggle of cardboard characters heedlessly meandering through a mind-numbing cinematic wasteland of cheap set-ups, clunky expositional dialogue, and poorly executed jump scares. So, again, thank you. You had the courage to respect both your craft and the fans by releasing … Blair Witch.
So … I humbly doff my cap to you, mainstream Hollywood. Your integrity and inventiveness know no bounds.
I give Blair Witch a 10 out of 10, and I wait with bated breath to see what glorious creations Hollywood has in store for the future. May God bless this movie and all who see it.
(Blair Witch is rated R for adult language, violence, nudity, and for being such a pioneering, groundbreaking work of art that younger, less-experienced viewers’ minds would implode should their eyes gaze upon its brilliance.)