Directed by Adam Wingard
Written by Simon Barrett
Starring James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson & Valorie Curry
UK Release Date: 15th September 2016
After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister’s experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James (McCune) and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling. (Sourced by IMDB)
The Blair Witch Project was just one of many of the most talked about films of 1999, along with a dozen others such as The Matrix, Fight Club and American Beauty; to name just a few, and for good reasons; it was one of the most richest years in cinema. Obviously I was too young to see the first Blair Witch at the cinema, having only turned 13 at the time of it’s general release but I sure couldn’t forget the many conversations it sparked among my classmates in high school. Mainly kids back then around my age were able to see it from either sneaking into late night screenings (so I assume) or somehow acquiring it via video piracy. However, you wouldn’t dare see either of these two monstrosities ever being committed by this passionate film lover, my dear readers; two big no nos in my book.
It’s funny being that young where you believed anything that people would tell you; how young and naive we all were and in the case of the Blair Witch, we were all convinced it really was based on a true story. Clearly it wasn’t considering the entire mythology of the existence of the witch was completely made up by the film’s creators, as well as being revealed in the final closing credits that everything was purely fictional. Still, the real fun part of the movie was in leading up to its initial release, we were all convinced it really did happen; and so here on in begins an eruption of numerous ‘found footage’ horror movies to be unleashed upon a whole new generation.
I’ve grown more and more impressed with the combined work of both Wingard and Barrett so far, based on their two previous efforts and contributions to the horror genre as a writer/director team. What they’ve done here is another step forward to their already great filmography, having filmed in complete secrecy while originally promoting the marketing campaign to the public under the fake title ‘The Woods’ before pulling the rug right from underneath us, unveiling that it is in fact a direct sequel to The Blair Witch Project; simply titled ‘Blair Witch’. Playing such an elaborately deceptive but clever trick on all of us moviegoers isn’t something that hasn’t been done before, baring similarities to when JJ Abrams bought us a teaser trailer out of nowhere for ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ to an unsuspecting world earlier this year, literally three months before the actual film was released. But certainly more so with this one, it was all about the element of surprise. There’s no denying I would have liked to have seen what ‘The Woods’ would have turned out like if it was indeed a real movie after already knowing that Wingard and Barrett can effortlessly pull off something really special when doing their own thing in the horror movie world. But then again, I also would never say no to a Blair Witch sequel. Especially when its at the helm of these guys.
Unlike its predecessor, this doesn’t take its time building up to what we’ve all been waiting for and boy are the frights and scares so worth it when they do arrive. Its more atmospheric than the first and a lot more tense. I was near enough in cold sweats by the end climax once the character of James and the others finally find the house deep into the woods where his sister entered and was never seen or heard from again. Definitely been a while since a horror was able to successfully make me shudder and send many shivers down my spine like this one could.
There were times in the movie where it did come across as being slightly predictable, one of them being able to guess early on in the movie which certain character was going to be the first one to die. Also halfway through the movie, it got quite confusing which character was filming the events as it kept switching between more than one of them occasionally and then cutting to seeing the character who we believed to be recording basically sharing the same screen time with another. It was like Wingard sometimes forgot he was making a ‘found footage’ movie. Also, it made me wonder just how many cameras was bought on this trip. I don’t remember any of James’s friends bringing their own cameras along with them before departing to Maryland.
Couple of faults aside, Wingard and Barrett have crafted a sequel that is a lot more enjoyable and frightening then the original. Its not something we can admit a lot to these days can we!? With Wingard’s ‘The Guest’ being the first film that I reviewed on my blog, it felt great to be able to review the latest offering from him two years later. After the growing success of horrors we’ve had this year that included The Conjuring 2, this is another one to fully satisfy all who love being scared out of their wits end.