thatcow

Blair Ditch - not

I'm not sure I've ever seen a movie trying to exploit a succesful formula so poorly. The whole thing is an approximate transplant of the Blair Witch from the Maryland woods to old subway tunnels in New York City.

Rookie reporter Susan Pei wants to break a big story. She hears of a body discovered in an old subway tunnel - probably a murdered homeless person - and she wants to find - and more importantly, interview - someone who lives underground. She recruits a cameraman, Nick, and a supposed expert on the tunnels, Tom - who has a big crush on Susan. They go down, get lost, and hear a story about people who are born underground and have never seen the sun - Moles. Apparently, everyone believes such folk must be dangerous.

From there, we pretty much have the same scene over and over again - some combination of our trio not getting along, hearing something, and then some kind of running, complete with that way-too-familiar shaky camera. There's an ironic ending that is telegraphed to us way too far in advance - in theory, it's a good ending, except it doesn't fit on this movie.

The acting is overwrought. The tunnels are too dim and incoherent to have any sense of space. There's a recurring transition of a subway train that is neither explained, nor does it provide any meaning beyond a need to change to a scene with a different tone.

There's a few places where the scare works, but mostly we start longing for something to happen (a common complaint for Blair Witch too). One big thing about Blair Witch that made it work was the fact that all the footage shot was supposedly from their own documentary cameras. There's a camera here, but there's never any pretense for that. We cut from multiple angles time and again like there's actually something to see down in there tunnels. It might have been a smidge less coherent visually (not too much room to slide downward here), but it would have added something to the on-the-nose narrative.

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