Blair Witch (2016)

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Adam Wingard, director of some of my favourite films over the last few years including You’re Next and The Guest, managed to achieve the impossible this year and actually keep film news under wraps. What was being touted as The Woods was actually revealed to be Blair Witch only weeks before its release. In a time when we generally know EVERYTHING about a new release months (and months, and months…) before release, this was no mean feat and left the perfect amount of time for excitement to build and not be completely overtaken by scepticism.

The Blair Witch Project has been one of my favourite horror movies since I first saw it on Halloween night back in 1999. I was just young enough to be sucked into the but it might be true marketing and loved everything from The Curse of The Blair Witch mockumentary to that original found footage style. My bus home broke down that night and I had to walk home through the woods which only heightened how effective that movie was (aye, I was terrified but it was such good fun).

The reality is, an addition to the Blair Witch series can’t reach the heights of the original. That unexpected delivery and stark ending are effects that can’t really be recreated now that we’ve basically seen everything. Wingard is in a difficult position before he even starts.

The story is pretty simple – a video surfaces online which appears to contain footage of James’ sister Heather, who disappeared following the events of the first film. James decides to head deep into the Maryland woods in the hope of finding his sibling, or at least some indication of what happened to her. Along for the ride are best pal Peter and college filmmaker Lisa who has more than enough tech at hand to document proceedings from every angle.

It doesn’t take long at all for things to get witchy, the woods to grow completely insurmountable and the iconic stick figures to start appearing.

Blair Witch isn’t as atmospheric as Project and doesn’t build its tension as effectively. The characters are a bit one-dimensional and the story slightly loose. Where the film is best is in the little details. Look for subtleties in time, location and footage for the intrigue and ignore the bangs, crashes and jump cuts.

It’s not perfect, and definitely not one of the scariest movies ever made. It can’t touch the original, but Blair Witch is fast-paced, fun and will leave you digging out that old DVD for a re-watch of THE classic found footage horror.

What did you think of Blair Witch? How does it measure up to the original? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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Yeezy Season 4

After a 90 minute delay to the scheduled start time – nothing to do with bumping up Tidal subscriptions I’m sure – Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 4 show kicked off with the now familiar barely dressed models sporting small pieces of signature nude material.

There was a slight hint of the reported move towards sportswear in the materials and shapes but, on the whole, it will take the most avid Yeezy-follower and a bit of a struggle to pick Season 4 out of from previous collections.

For the sneaker-focused (let’s be honest, that’s why we are at the party, right?), we did catch another glimpse of those all-white Yeezy BOOST 350’s that Kanye has been wearing for some time now alongside a new tan colourway but that was the peak of the footwear on show.

Yeezy Season 4

There was no male clothing on display in this collection but there was a whole host of drone-porn as we spent what seemed like hours panning across the New York skyline.

After the models had made their way around the triangular platform, Kanye appeared sporting all-black, capped off with a vintage Adidas Originals tee, walked halfway up the runway and then ran off. And, just like that, the show was over.

Yeezy Season 4

Well, next up on the Yeezy roller-coaster is the next drop of 350’s, this time it’s the grey / solar red v2’s which are due to hit stores September 24th. As always, it’s best to prepare for the disappointment early (although there are rumours that this is the biggest drop to date – I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed).

So, what did you make of Yeezy Season 4? Hit or miss? Will Kanye expand on his colour palette and will we see men’s clothing in Season 5?

Let me know on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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The Purge: Election Year

The Purge: Election Year

The Purge was an original idea a few years back but didn’t really deliver on its initial promise. Not so much about The Purge itself, the film chose instead to focus on one particular family as they attempted to survive the night.

Second in the series, The Purge: Anarchy gave us slightly more in terms of actual Purging but still failed to live up to the masked-villain filled images used to promote the series. Another negative has been the attempted cultural commentary which has been pretty heavy-handed so far and that doesn’t bode well for a story based around Election Year!

A quick history lesson in case this is your first Purge…

Basically, once a year, all crime is legal for twelve hours; it’s government sanctioned and enjoyed by a diverse cross-section of society. Some get tooled-up and head out, others barricade their homes and count down the hours until sunrise.

2016’s Election Year sees a larger uprising against the annual Purge, centred around the aforementioned running campaign. This time stakes are up as exemptions have been lifted on going after government officials – something that was previously off-limits.

The story remains fairly straightforward – a Senator must survive the night in order to win the Presidency and eliminate the evil of The Purge once and for all. Protected by Leo (Frank Grills), who has Purging previous having lost his son and sought retribution during The Purge: Anarchy, Charlie (Elizabeth Mitchell) wants to make it to the White House legitimately and tackle the injustice of The Purge when she gets there. Charlie also has history on the night of Halloween for adults, surviving the massacre of her family 18 years previous.

Now, on to that social commentary…

Election Year presents us with Charlie – a female presidential candidate who is standing up for what is right and has the support of minority groups, the rise of Purge tourism (aka. immigrants arriving in America to enjoy its righteous benefits!) and streets overrun with a whole bunch of blood-thirsty George Washington’s. Some racial tension is thrown into the mix and, all things considered, you would be forgiven for thinking the context of the film was fairly current. Problem is, it doesn’t really say anything…

Like its predecessors, The Purge: Election Year has some really cool imagery, a half-developed story and some clumsy scripting / rhetoric. The action scenes are fun and there are a couple of characters worth buying-into but, on the whole and considering the series is now three films deep, The Purge is still struggling to hit its stride.

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