Blair Witch is a scarily fun sequel to the 1999 Blair Witch Project about young James Donahue and several of his friends, Lisa, Peter, and Ashley, who go trekking into Maryland’s Black Hills Forest together. They travel there for the express purpose of trying to find out what happened to James’ sister, Heather, who disappeared 17 years ago. In addition, Lisa is documenting the trip to Blair Woods for her graduate thesis.
This long-awaited sequel was deftly directed by Adam Wingard from a screenplay by Simon Barrett and it delivers the scares and intensity, much like the original did. Anyone who saw the 1999 cult classic probably knows that what made the original so scary was not a bunch of fabulous makeup or state-of-the-art special effects like many horror movies, but just the fact that the documentary style, as well as the advance hype, made it seem so darn real! It’s as if it was meant to make it impossible for moviegoers to say to themselves, “Hey, don’t be scared; it’s only a movie.”
Fast forward to today and this new Blair Witch has a foursome of youngsters encountering some of the same frightening evil when night falls on Blair Woods. In fact, audiences have the opportunity of gaining a clearer concept of what actually makes the Blair Witch tick and the powers that she possesses, while Robby Baumgartner’s slick lens work keeps true to the original cinematic approach and style. The tension is palpable throughout, with persistent suspense and supernatural events that are increasingly violent and frightening. Whether the new installment of this series will infuse new life into the franchise still remains to be seen. In the meantime, however, it’s definitely entertaining fare from the first scary moment to the last.