Review: Blair Witch


1999’s The Blair Witch Project took moviegoers by storm. With great marketing, a script with fewer pages than a passport, and a production budget that was less than the cost of a pizza party, it terrorized its way to over $240 million worldwide.

A sequel released in 2000 titled Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. It quickly joined the Rocky V/Hangover Part III family of sequels we pretend don’t exist.

Sixteen years later, director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) brings audiences another Blair Witch sequel.

After finding a grainy video online he believes to be his sister’s (she went missing in 99’s Blair Witch), James (James McCune) and his friends Lisa (Callie Hernandez), Peter (Brandon Scott), and Ashley (Corbin Reid) take a trip to Black Hills Forest. Like most found footage films, the story creates some silly reason everyone has cameras.  With the help of two locals, Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), the group sets out to find James’ sister or any sign of the mysterious house featured in the video.

As clever as Wingard’s last two movies were, Blair Witch is almost an exact replica of The Blair Witch Project. It’s literally almost the same movie. It’s the same movie with a few forgettable wrinkles sprinkled in. Imagine if Die Hard 2 was about John McClane going back to the Nakatomi Towers for another Christmas party and another group of terrorist shows up.  Imagine all the same plot points played out – McClane loses his shoes, talks to an officer via walkie-talkie, he scribbles something funny on a dead guy, and some bad guy with a thick German accent causes havoc for 2 hours.

That’s exactly how it felt to watch Blair Witch trace the same steps as The Blair Witch Project.

The film is the same, even down to the creepy things that happen to the campers.  They wake up to random stick figures, the group walks in one direction and ends up back at the campsite, and James’ friends starts to disappear one by one. There’s even a POV ugly cry scene. Yep, there’s another scene that involves an ugly cry – no snot bubbles this time.

There are moments where the story could’ve done something interesting. The group’s equipped with a drone, but never does anything with it.  Instead, the story settles for cheap jump scares and loud noises.  At one point Lane mentions a lapse in time. The story could’ve explored the fear of not having a grip on time or reality. Nope. No need to explore that. Just show someone breathing deeply and yelling for their friends for the 1,000th time.

Blair Witch was a great opportunity to put a new twist on a classic horror film. Or do something completely different in this Blair Witch world. Somewhere, someone thought it was a good idea to make the sequel a carbon copy of the original. That was a very bad idea.  Almost as bad as camping with your friends in the Black Hills Forest.

Grade: C-