Stars: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry | Written by Simon Barrett | Directed by Adam Wingard
There are certain horror movies that I’ve totally obsessed about, one of them being The Blair Witch Project. I watched the documentaries released around it and loved the mythology that extended the enjoyment of the film. This is why I was excited when Blair Witch was revealed. Now that we finally have a true sequel to the original, can it live up to what we expect?
The main question about Blair Witch has to be, how could it happen again? The answer is a glimpse on some found footage showing what appears to be Heather from the original movie. Getting together a group of friends with the latest video technology, James (James Allen McCune) decides to venture into the Black Hills Forest in search of his sister.
Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett are self-confessed fans of the original film, and their recent films tend to give great hope. You’re Next, The Guest and their work on the V/H/S movies tend to give us hope that they could deliver with Blair Witch. What we have though is a film that may be a lot of fun, but maybe could be too self-knowing for its own good.
My first problem with the film is that it is more staged than the original. Where the more ad-libbed film had a more organic feel to it, Blair Witch has a more deliberate pace and tighter plot structure. The problem this creates is that fans of the original can’t help but feel that the magic has been lost.
Another issue is the “Blair Witch” itself and listening to the commentary it is clear that the writer and director both know that there is confusion as to what the creature is in the woods. I won’t spoil it too much, but it is well worth listening to the commentary to understand just what we are seeing in the film, and what it is meant to represent.
Even with these complaints though, this does not make Blair Watch a bad movie. If you’ve seen Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 you’ll know how bad a sequel can be (and I DO like that movie). What we have with Blair Witch though is more of a fun movie, rather than a successful sequel to The Blair Witch Project. It pays homage to what was created with the first movie, but really doesn’t push forward any of the narrative that was created.
What I do like is the intention of Blair Witch, and you can see just how much Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett do love the original. To paraphrase a proverb though, “The road to film-hell is paved with good intentions.” The fact is, we don’t need to see a creature in a Blair Witch movie to create fear, just look at what the first film did with that. If you are a fan of The Blair Witch Project you just can’t help but want more of the same, but the truth of the matter is, things have to change.
Blair Witch is a fun film that I will go back to and watch it again because it is far from being a bad movie. I will enjoy it as being a good jump-filled horror film that brings back the fun to horror. It is a successful found footage film that really never gets boring. The only problem is that it just can’t live up to The Blair Witch Project, and I’m not sure that it ever could.
Blair Witch is available on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from January 23rd.