Blair Witch

Film, Horror
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Blair Witch

We're back in those creepy woods for a poundingly effective update of a horror classic

If there were any film whose lightning would seem impossible to recapture in a bottle, it’s 'The Blair Witch Project'. The you-are-there vérité techniques that gave the 1999 horror movie such a frightening immediacy have passed into cliché, and there’s no way today’s audiences would fall for the original marketing campaign’s 'It really happened!' pitch. So it’s something of a small miracle that the 17-years-later 'Blair Witch', essentially a sequel-as-remake (ignore 2000’s 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2'), emerges as satisfying in its own right and pretty damn scary.

Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, the accomplished team behind 'You’re Next' and 'The Guest', reference the pervasiveness of homemade footage by opening on a website: newly discovered video – apparently of original victim Heather –has been posted. Her brother, James (James Allen McCune), is inspired to head back into Maryland’s Black Hills Forest in search of his long-lost sibling, and he’s joined by film student Lisa (Callie Hernandez) and friends Peter (Brandon Scott) and Ashley (Corbin Reid). They’re outfitted with high-tech cameras including GoPros and even a drone. With all this technology in their hands, there’s no way they can get lost, right? (Right?)

Wingard and Barrett briefly acknowledge the prior movie’s legacy, but they mostly devote themselves to rerunning its scenario with the dial turned up to 11. With a few new wrinkles worked into the mythology, particularly a nasty, literal twist on those creepy stick figures, the experience proceeds from disorienting to anxious to full-on, hurtling, gasp-inducing panic. (Those who felt motion sickness from watching the original film, be warned.) The cast members, not quite the unknowns their predecessors were, nonetheless disappear into their desperate roles with impressive commitment. Above all, 'Blair Witch' is a triumph of sound design. The cracks, crunches and rumbles from deep in the woods enhance a terror that’s pierced only by the beam of a flashlight.

By: Michael Gingold

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Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday September 16 2016
Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Adam Wingard
Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
Cast: Valorie Curry
Callie Hernandez
Brandon Scott
James Allen McCune

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|3
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Tastemaker

This movie bored my rigid. It's basically a rehash of the original movie as a guy goes into the woods to search for his sister who went missing in the original movie. Cue some scared teenagers pointing flashlights at trees and lots of huffing and puffing when things eventually get going after about 40 minutes of talking and walking. There is one interesting mechanic where the writers play with the passage of time, but for the most of it, it's piles of stones, twigs hanging from trees and people screaming a lot at nothing in particular. Cheap jump scares abound. There is one claustrophobic scene that genuinely made me feel a bit uncomfortable but for the most part I wasn't along for the ride. If you like 'found footage' movies watch the Spanish movie REC for a tonne more scares.

Tastemaker

I was a little disappointed, I do find that follow ups don't tend to live up to the originals and I just don't know if it is that I am older and have seen the original! I expected it to be scary! But worth viewing if you liked the original.

Tastemaker

If you liked "The Blair Witch Project" back in 90s, you are going to love the "Blair Witch" sequel (2016). It's 2014, 20 years after the 1994 "The Blair Witch Project" footage was found and the brother of lost Heather is in search of her. 1,5hour of shaken cameras and scared friends running in the woods. Instead of VHS recording, now you will watch what happened to her brother back in 2014 through found DVD & memory discs' footage - even a drone was used as part of this footage. Screaming again out in dark woods!