I remember The Blair Witch Project well from my youth. It was a big film when I was young and developing my taste in horror films. What I remember most vividly was the viral marketing, the fake sci-fi channel documentary about the film, building up the films cult of personality. The next thing I remember the best is how awful the sequel, Book of Shadows was. I know that film has its supporters, I’m not among them. But Blair Witch is everything I wanted Book of Shadows to be.
In 2014 footage is found surrounding the disappearance of a number of college students making a documentary surrounding the disappearance of the filmmakers from the original film. This is incredibly important to James (James Allen McCune), who’s sister Heather went missing. James uncovers a clip on the internet which he feels he shows his sister. This spurns him on to go searching. He’s joined by his friends Lisa (Callie Hernandez), Ashley (Corbin Reid), and Peter (Brandon Scott). They pick up the people, Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry) a local couple who found the footage that was posted to the internet. They take James his friends to the location where they found the tape and then deeper into the woods in search for the home seen in the footage. That night the group awakens to weird sounds in the woods, which sets them all on edge. Which grows worse when they wake up with stick figures hung around camp. The group makes the smart decision to bail. On the way out Lisa notices the twine used to tie the figures that were hung around camp. Lane and Talia admit to staging them. But only to get them to understand the danger they were in, but are chased off by James group. They still try and find the way out, though their GPS fails them and they end up walking back to their camp from the night before. Tired they decided to make camp for a second night, though as night falls, Lane and Talia emerge from the woods claiming to have been lost for days in an endless night. A night that soon none of them can escape…
The mood and atmosphere is much more fitting for a sequel. The updated camera gear allows Blair Witch to have a much more polished feel than The Blair Witch. But without compromising the authentic feel that it’s going for. The actual addition of Blair Witch making an appearance also adds a lot for me.
The acting is dicey at times, but manages to hold it together enough to not be distracting. At times James and Lane actually border on being human. Though my favorite character performance is actually Talia. Going through a wide range and her hunger when she comes back to camp comes off as incredibly genuine.
Final thoughts, I enjoyed this movie. Blair Witch is a horror film that builds on itself. With a slow start and strong finish Blair Witch is a great horror film. Though it is predictable in the sense if you’ve seen the original or at least have a strong understanding of it you’ll know how it’s going to end. I liked this film, but I like found footage films. 7/10