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Blair Witch - Lionsgate Print E-mail
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Written by Kevin Hall   
Wednesday, 02 November 2016


BUY BLAIR WITCH

AKA: The Woods, The Blair Witch Project 3, Blair Witch: La bruja de Blair, Vještica iz Blera 3, Šuma, Вещицата от Блеър, A Bruxa de Blair 3, Bruxa de Blair, La Légende Blair, La Bruja de Blair, Vještica iz Blaira, Bleiro ragana, La bruja de Blair, O Bosque de Blair Witch, Veštica iz Blera 3, Ведьма из Блэр: Новая глава, Blair Witch: La bruja de Blair.

Directed by: Adam Wingard
Written by: Simon Barrett
Produced by: Jess Calder, Keith Calder, Roy Lee, Steven Schneider, Adam Wingard
Cinematography by: Robby Baumgartner
Editing by: Louis Cioffi
Special Effects by: Mike Kruper, Tony Lazarowich
Music by: Adam Wingard
Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry.
Year: 2016
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 29min

Distributor: Lionsgate

This was such a sneaky but still interesting surprise when it was revealed at San Diego Comic Con, that Adam (Your’e Next) Wingard’s next film was not going to be the before titled The Woods, but a direct squel to the horror classic The Blair Witch Project. It’s no surprise that there had been rumblings about a Blair Witch 3 for years, after the ill-fated and really rather bad Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows got absolutely panned. Fans and critics were both nervous and excited about another trek into the woods of the Black Hills and Burkitsville. But, while Blair Witch is not a game-changer or as scary as some are saying -- and it really should have been -- it is still a very entertaining and effective movie.

Casting unknowns again in the lead roles still works and everyone’s performance is spot on. James Allen McCune -- best known to genre fans as Jimmy in The Walking Dead -- plays James Donahue, the younger brother of Heather, who he believes is still alive after a Youtube video he believes shows her still in Bukitsville. Together with his best friend Peter Jones (Brandon Scott), Peter’s girlfriend Ashley Bennett (Corbin Reid) and filmmaker Lisa Arlington (Callie Hernandez), they travel back to the wood’s to try and find Heather. There they team up with locals Lane (Wes Anderson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), who claim to know that part of the woods and fill them in on more of the legend of the
Blair Witch.

What makes this
Blair Witch more innovative, is the leap in technology since 1999’s original. Even though that footage was from 1994, this is 20-years later with 2014 footage. The use of small little clip-on headcams with built in GPS and a drone that scans the skies for clues, is inspired. It’s great that we are seeing the points of views from everyone at different angles. Nowhere is safe to hide when the terror comes -- and it does.

The film must also be congratulated with the use of sound -- the screeches, the thumps and crackles and the constant downpour of rain, plus the sounds of the cameras switching on and off all add to the realism and jolts.

It really builds the tension and there are some fab scenes here, even if a few of them do feel like a retread of the first film. They have taken on a new spin, with more stick figures than before, the loss of time is a big factor, and the sense of helplessness all leads to each scare being bigger than the last.

The trouble comes with the film being too similar to the original. There has been a lot of love and care given to this. Adam Wingard is a fan like us and wants to treat the source material with respect which he does, but this feels more like a Blair Witch 1.5 than a straight sequel. Some of the scenes do feel a little padded out and it does take a little longer before things truly get going.

That being said, the scariest part of Blair Witch is at the end again, when the group are separated and the witch comes out to play. Again, it’s what we don’t see that makes it all the more scary, coupled with the terrifying sounds and screams from the group too. There are a few short, sharp shocks as well, and a particularly icky situation for one of the main characters.

The scare factor is ratcheted up nearer to the end, and your heart is thudding in your chest, where there is no escape as you are right there with the person on camera. The scene in the tunnel shown in the trailer is so intense and claustrophobic and it works brilliantly. The effects, directing and writing do match the original too.

But that is the main problem that stops it from getting a four or five star review. It was so close, as it gets so many things right, and it doesn’t outstay its welcome. However, if they do another one we need more originality with the story and more well-paced scares.

I am trying so hard not to give away any spoilers too, so let’s just say it still has one of the most frightening end sequences I’ve seen for a while. Blair Witch is a thrilling night out -- just don’t expect the game changer many are saying it is.

 

 

 

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