Blair Witch review by Bobby Blakey
The Blair Witch Project may not seem like a film that is all that innovative now, but when it hit theaters in 1999 it took the horror genre by storm. This film essentially gave birth to the found footage genre as we know it today. For those that don’t know they billed the film as real life footage that was found and actually fooled some people and might have gotten everyone had it not leaked it was just a film. Add to the mix the motion sickness effect and theaters covered in vomit during its run and you have a experience unlike any other. Now the team behind two of my favorite films You’re Next and The Guest, Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have teamed up to give the fans the sequel they want as opposed to the one we got with their film Blair Witch, but does it offer up something special that recaptures that magic or is it a forest quest not worth getting lost for?
Blair Witch follows James who discovers a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch. Now James and a group of his friends head into the forest in search of his lost sister and the mystery of the Blair Witch, but will they find answers or come face to face with the legend? This film starts out pretty much like you expect and doesn’t try to change the formula initially that made the original so great. Some might complain about this, but I found it to be a brilliant decision as it feels directly connected to the original film and like the continuation of the story it is meant to be. As the story progresses you quickly realize that while this is set in the same universe and dealing with pretty much the same story this is not the same Blair Witch. Once it finally kicks things into gear it amps up the creep factory making it a lot of fun to watch. As someone who doesn’t really get scared of any films it is often hard for me to really gauge that, but seeing some of the other people in the theater react showed that it was hitting all the right marks.
The cast all do a fine job, but it’s the passion that Wingard and Barrett bring to the project that makes it work. There was a great update in technology to bring the film to the modern age with them using drones and ear piece cameras as well as the classic video camera. This gave the film a bigger scope without forcing it to be anything more than the way someone would do this now a days. The use of the ear piece camera was the best idea in this genre yet as it explains away the argument of why people keep carrying the camera even when it makes no sense. Here it would take effort to remove the camera and would likely be the last thing on the persons mind. Without spoiling it there is one specifically great sequence that is shot so perfectly that if you are someone that suffers from claustrophobia you will no doubt be unable to watch it without getting uncomfortable.
As someone who was able to experience the original in theaters and loved it I was so excited to see these two masters put their spin on the series and they did not disappoint. The ending had a very familiar feel all while still bringing something new to the game in the best way possible. If you have never see the original you need to check it out and watch these two as a companion piece, but if not you can still enjoy the mystery that still exists of the Blair Witch with this latest installment. It will be interesting to see if this becomes the new yearly horror found footage film, but either way it is a great follow up and one that successfully delivers on what the fans have been wanting since witnessing the original.