Blair Witch

3.5 Stars

Fifteen years after his sister’s mysterious disappearance, James (James Allen McCune) travels with his friends to the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the legend of the Blair Witch. The longer the group stays in the forest, though, the more they realize a supernatural presence is terrorizing them.

So: does Blair Witch live up to The Blair Witch Project? In a lot of ways…no. But Project was such an unusual event that came out at just the right time to work, and I don’t know that there’s a way for any sort of sequel to ever fully capitalize on that idea. That being said, the creative team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett have done tremendous work in horror with You’re Next and The Guest, which makes this film feel like a solid effort at least. The film smartly utilizes the vast advances in technology to recreate the found footage effects of the first in a new way. The film also wisely unspools its horror gradually, building up to a third act that is absolutely relentless. The movie isn’t necessarily “jump out of your seats” scary, but it does include some smart psychological horror that should at least leave audience members squirming a bit.

Again, I think audiences who’ve watched The Blair Witch Project repeatedly over the past 15+ years should temper their expectations, but Blair Witch is a sequel that’s more in keeping with the original film than the series’ previous effort at a sequel. There’s some material here that works, and considering how bad Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was, this could’ve been a lot worse.

Blair Witch • Rating: R (for language, terror and some disturbing images) • Runtime: 89 minutes • Genre: Horror • Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Valorie Curry, Wes Robinson, Corbin Reid • Director: Adam Wingard • Writer: Simon Barrett • Distributor: Lionsgate
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