“Blair Witch,” released on Sept. 16, directed by Adam Wingard, is a pretty clear showing of respect to the original “Blair Witch Project” from 1999. That’s not to say it should be regarded any lower or not treated as its own film.
On its own, “Blair Witch” is honestly terrifying. While it follows the same general sequence of events as the original, this sequel/remake/reboot does an excellent job on putting its own spin on them.
Everything from the beginning exposition to the climactic ending where, yes, everyone dies, is all handled with obvious love and respect for the original, but with a desire to make something new that stands out on its own.
This time around, James Donahue (James Allen McCune) gathers his friends to help him search for his sister who went missing 17 years ago, in the first movie.
Luckily enough, his friend (and love interest) Lisa Arlington (Callie Hernandez) happens to be filming a documentary, and decides to make it about what they’re doing.
Also in the party is James’ best friend Peter Jones (Brandon Scott) and his girlfriend Ashley Bennett (Corbin Reid).
With the additional help of internet cryptid researchers Lane and Talia (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry), the group enters the woods with POV cameras for everyone and a drone.
The group sets up camp the first night, and for those who have seen the original “Blair Witch Project,” you know it goes way downhill from there.
The scares start to kick in, people start to get hurt, and eventually people go missing. The same wooden dolls hung in the trees are featured, but with an evil twist this time that won’t be spoiled.
“Blair Witch” does something interesting and unexpected. It actually shows the audience what the witch looks like. Granted, they’re mere glimpses that last less than a second.
But no less than three times is the evil creature shown during the film’s final minutes.
Speaking of the ending, it’s much louder and hectic than the original.
It takes the moderately slow action of the first two thirds of the film and ramps it up to ten. At no point is the audience given a moment of respite.
Every scare, every quiet moment, and every unexplainable plot hole about some time travel loop that isn’t looked into (one major flaw with the movie) leads up to the final confrontation in the classic murder house.
While “Blair Witch” might not be as good as its inspiration and predecessor, it’s still a film worth watching, especially since Halloween is rapidly closing in.
If you can look at it without trying to compare it to the first one, it’s made much better.
7.8/10. See it while it’s still in theaters.