Blair Witch looks to make you forget about The Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, if you haven’t already
When The Blair Witch Project came out in 1999, it was the first of its kind. It made headlines everywhere for the uncertainty about its authenticity. Although it may seem gullible now, people actually thought that The Blair Witch Project was real tapes containing actual events. It was only after its release that people start to figure out that it was just a movie. Audiences today experienced a different sort of movie than the people who went and saw it in theaters in 1999. People now seem to hate Blair Witch for its slow story-telling and lack of action. With Blair Witch, Adam Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) tries to resurrect a franchise so stuck in its time that it’s almost impossible to recreate. As everyone is divided, there’s no right path to take.
Occurring in the present day, James (James Allen McCune), Heather’s brother, has reason to believe his sister is still well alive in the Black Hills Forest. He rallies a group of friends, including his girlfriend (Callie Hernandez), to try and find his lost sister. As suspicious noises and acts being to happen, the group finds themselves trap in the woods with the Blair Witch.
Kids being stuck in the woods is no new territory for the horror genre. Sticking with more of a cliche set up, the kids tell each other urban legends about the Blair Witch. Tagging along for the search is the couple, Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), who edited the tapes of the first movie and put them on the internet for everyone to see. They are mostly the characters who introduces the audience to the so-called witch. Absent is the sense of dread the first Blair Witch did so well. That trend continues throughout as Wingard opts for loud thumping jump scares instead of suspense. Any building sense of uncertainty that is created is suffocated by the obnoxious booming, screeching and crackling noises he so heavily relies on.
Some innovative ideas are present in this sequel. Using the modern technology to Wingard’s advantage, he uses GoPros and a drone to his found footage style. Making it a more artsy approach results in making it less headache inducing than previous found-footage style horror. This should be commemorated as the Paranormal Activity took the found-footage style for granted. Wingard doesn’t do that; he instead finds ways to develop this tiring film style.
A glimpse of Adam Wingard’s earlier success shines through in the end with a 10-minute ending sequence that is sure to scare you. Using what he demonstrated well in V/H/S, he ends a rather dull conventional movie with a bang. Does that compensate for the film’s flaws? Yes and no as the journey to get there is filled with sharp rocks and tight claustrophobic holes. As unpleasant as that sounds, however, if you do make it out alive, be ready for the terrifying reward you’ve been anxiously waiting for.