Love it or hate it, The Blair Witch Project is considered, “The Godfather,” of found footage films. It’s genius marketing lead to people believe that the film was actually real, and that these three people ended up missing in the woods.
The film has lost it’s novelty since it’s release and it doesn’t exactly hold up, but it’s legacy is here to stay(the less said about the sequel the better). The Woods was it’s original title, a secret pseudonym if you will, then like many others, I found out at Comic-Con that this was going to be a Blair Witch sequel.
I boarded the hype train as soon as I had heard, and I figured that there would be new and exciting ways to make a Blair Witch film in this era and more lore to be explored about the witch herself. Unfortunately, beat for beat it’s a rehash of the original film. It’s the same exact movie, but for what it’s worth it does have minor changes of the plot and a few new elements sprinkled in which were quite intriguing.
Blair Witch offers no new surprises in the first half, and it is just as tedious as the original. They’re just your average ordinary teens in line for the slaughterhouse and one by one they’re picked apart. There are too many jump scares as well and it gets very distracting and the characters themselves are fodder for the witch. The cast is expendable and not very engaging, but the two leads Callie Hernandez and James Allen McCune do a commendable job showcasing fear and despair.
The film is salvaged, once things get going, it gets very tense and uncomfortable, and I mean that in a good way. As opposed to getting lost in the woods in the original film, the difference here is that the characters are being chased. It’s an adrenaline rush, and there are plenty of creepy moments where I was just on the edge of my seat. Good sound mixing and editing as well, when creepy stuff happens the sound definitely amplifies the effect it’s trying to provoke. The woods itself is a character in the film. They look a lot more engrossing, aggressive, and grim, providing a claustrophobic feel.
Without too much spoilers director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett add more supernatural elements that occur in the film and they’re quite horrific once it settles in. More lore to the Blair Witch mythos is explained, enough to keep you curious about her origin. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. It’s competently made with perhaps way too many familiar beats, but it does service up some decent scares and unnerving moments. At it’s best it’s kind of a modern update to the original 1999 film.
In a genre where endless sequels completely destroyed horror, this one doesn’t hurt. 6.5/10