It has been 16 years since the last movie – Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. We finally get a new entry in the Blair Witch mythology. In 1999 with The Blair Witch Project we got something new and unseen on the big screen, it made us believe what we are seeing is true and started to believe in the Blair Witch. But now in 2016 we have seen so many found-footage movies that we are already used to them and nothing wont surprise us. With the director of ‘You’re Next‘, ‘The Guest‘ – Adam Wingard brings us the real sequel to the original (in the words of the director). For me it felt like it was closer to a remake then a “true” sequel. Blair Witch was more polished and done professionally but lacked giving us something new from the original: just the end was different and that’s all.
The story starts 20 years after the events of The Blair Witch Project. James Donahue (James Allen McCune) finds on the internet a video containing images of his sister Heather (Heather Donahue) who disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville (formerly Blair) while investing the local legend of the Blair Witch. Believing that his sister is alive, James with his friends Peter Jones (Brandon Scott), Ashley Bennett (Corbin Reid), and a film student Lisa Arlington (Callie Hernande) travel to Burkittsville to go in the woods and uncover the events that happened 20 years ago. Later on their search, they are joined by Talia (Valorie Curry) and Lane (Wes Robinson), locals of Burkittsville, who uploaded the footage from the videotape they found.
From the start of the film we get almost everything that we got in The Blair Witch Project but with different actors and it felt little bit frustrating to see the same things – they get lost, they argue, strange things happen during the night and they wake up with sticks around their camp. Sounds like the first movie right? Of course the movie gives us something more than the original, like making additional scenes where somebody gets injured, showing us modern technology that was used to film all this and giving new insight on the Blair Witch mythology (especially in the end). But still 2/3 of the movie is similar to the original and it felt like I was watching the same movie.
For a horror movie with a low budget of $5 million (if the Box Office is good we might get another sequel), everything in cinematography, directing looked good – it felt like an updated version of the first movie. It looked more polished and was made as a found-footage movie done by professionals but not as an authentic found-footage movie. The original looked like a tape that was found somewhere and it looked real. But with Blair Witch we get a standard horror movie that doesn’t bring nothing new to the genre. You will get a lot of camera shaking and a lot of cameras being turned on and off – the same things that you get in other found-footage horror movies.
You don’t have to see the first movie to understand what is happening in the plot. At the beginning you are informed about everything that happened in The Blair Witch Project. The movie felt really well made, sometimes really scary (especially in the end) but still gave us cheap jump scares that you see in all horror movies. It does little to scare us with the atmosphere of the woods. Only in the end you get the feeling that you are feeling the scary atmosphere. Adam Wingard did a great job introducing something new in the last 20 minutes. Giving us a small glimpse of how the Blair Witch looks like and I can say it was awesome – looked really scary and I would love to see more in the next movies if they are made.
Overall the movie was scary in few moments and fun to watch, and is a much better sequel then the second movie. For you the movie would be more enjoyable if you haven’t seen the first one – it would feel like you are watching something new.
Running time: 89 minutes; Production companies: Room 101, Snoot Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment; Distributed by: Lionsgate; Budget: $5 million;
Directed by: Adam Wingard; Produced by: Keith Calder, Roy Lee, Steven Schneider, Jessica Wu; Written by: Simon Berrett; Cinematography: Robby Baumgartner; Music: Adam Wingard; Edited by: Louis Cioffi;
Starring: James Allen McCun, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry.