Watched last night, Blair Witch (2016)…
Obviously a film that comes with a fair amount of baggage, this is actually a sequel proper rather than the risible Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 cash in. It’s something of a victim of its own legacy, as the original wrote the book on found footage horror and 17 (!) years later still dominates how a whole genre if filmed and marketed. As a result, a lot of this one feels somewhat overfamiliar.
Following a documentary crew returning to the woods of the original, this is updated for the modern tech that most of us can get our hands on easily enough, so digital cameras, GPS, LED torches and drone cameras are all here to augment the hand held vibe of the first film. That said, directed by rising star Adam Wingard, this is actually very slickly put together and you can tell that unlike its predecessor some real cash was obviously spent on this one. Which is one of its failings if anything – as discussed in this interesting revisit with the creators of the first film ( http://lwlies.com/articles/the-blair-witch-project-revisited-eduardo-sanchez-daniel-myrick/ ) its success was largely having as a necessity to do very much with very little. BW 2016 instead follows a number of modern horror tropes fairly closely, including a third act set piece that has similar problems to those that I had with the final part of Wingard’s The Guest.
That said, on its own merits it is an effective scare film. The distractingly attractive young cast all do terrified fairly effectively. It is fun to revisit the mythos of the Blair Witch again, the sound design is fantastic (Adam Wingard also scored the film) and really adds to the atmosphere of dread in the woods, and there were several moments that were genuinely chilling. Overall though, this shows that you can’t capture lightning in a bottle twice. 6/10