Director: Adam Wingard
Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez
A new generation of film-goers will experience the curse of Blair Witch seventeen years after the original arrived in cinemas and introduced the terrifying found footage genre (the events on screen are typically seen through the camera of one or more of the characters involved) to unsuspecting moviegoers.
The synopsis is all so familiar in this sequel – a group of college students set off into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland and mysterious occurrences propelled by Blair witch (a supernatural entity) ensure there are no hapless survivors by the final frames of the film. The add-on storyline of the central character searching for his missing sister in these woods is unashamedly a blatant attempt to give the film a sense of purpose and originality.
Audiences realize from the onset that there will be no survivors as this group inadvertently head off into the forest on a death march. The curse of Blair Witch is explained by one of the characters which is obviously a ‘catch up’ for the benefit of audiences who are not familiar with the story.
Traditional scare tactics are well utilized, but the extreme darkness of the photography and shaky camera work blur the vision and are somewhat detracting and nauseating at times.
When initially introduced, the found footage process added reality and heightened the intensity and terror in The Blair Witch Project making it the worldwide box office success it became. Seventeen years on the process still gives the film an edge, but audiences may have tired of this genre and the initial magic and excitement has dusted off possibly discouraging movie-goers from attending screenings of most movies of this genre as evident from declining box office receipts.
The question that remains is whether the seventeen years in between films will deter the original fan base from attending screenings or whether they shall return for nostalgic reasons.
This is a genuinely terrifying low budget film with good performances from a relatively unknown cast, but ultimately it can’t be denied that this is a rehash of the original. JAKE