Blair Witch


A genuinely terrifying retracing of a classic found footage horror Discuss this article

© ITP Images

If there were any film whose lightning would seem impossible to recapture in a bottle, it would be The Blair Witch Project. The you-are-there vérité techniques that gave the 1999 horror movie such a frightening immediacy have passed into cliché, and there’s no way today’s audiences would fall for the original marketing campaign’s “It really happened!” pitch. So it’s something of a small miracle the 17-years-later Blair Witch, essentially a sequel-as-remake (ignore 2000’s Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2), emerges as satisfying in its own right, and pretty scary.

Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett only briefly acknowledge the prior movie’s legacy, instead rerunning the scenario with the dial turned up to 11.

Newly discovered video footage – apparently of original victim Heather – has been posted. Her brother, James (James Allen McCune), is inspired to head back into Maryland’s Black Hills Forest in search of his long-lost sibling, and he is joined by film student Lisa (Callie Hernandez) and friends Peter (Brandon Scott) and Ashley (Corbin Reid). They’re outfitted with high-tech cameras including GoPros and even a drone. With all this technology in their hands, there’s no way they can get lost, right? (Right?)

With a few new wrinkles worked into the mythology, particularly a nasty, literal twist on those creepy stick figures, the experience proceeds from disorientating to anxious to full-on, hurtling, gasp-inducing panic.

Above all, Blair Witch is a triumph of sound design. The cracks, crunches and rumbles from deep in the woods enhance a terror that’s pierced only by the beam of a flashlight.

The bottom line
A genuinely terrifying retracing of a classic.

By Michael Gingold
Time Out Doha,

Blair Witch

  • Duration: 89
  • Released: Thu, 01 Sep
  • Classification: 18+
  • Director: Adam Wingard
  • Stars: Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry

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