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Is Blair Witch Worth Your Money?

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imageBlair Witch (2016)

Directed by Adam Wingard

Written by Adam Wingard & Simion Barrett

Starring: Callie Hernandez, James Allen McCune, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson, Valarie Curry

Rated R

Run time: 93 minutes 

 

A mix of contradicting prejudices entered the theater with me when I went to view Blair Witch. Here is a movie in a series I find to be not only overrated, but a glaring example of how stupid our society can be. It was a pop culture phenomenon that only existed because some shifty people were able to take a micro-budget film and market it in a misleading way, and we praise them for it!

If you were around when The Blair Witch Project (1999) was released in theaters you’d remember how many people truly thought the footage they were watching was real. Reputable media outlets even got caught up in the hysteria. The mock-umentary Curse of the Blair Witch (1999) certainly helped with a lot of this. If you’re not familiar with this Dateline-esq short, it originally aired on basic cable before The Blair Witch Project was released in theaters. Much like The Blair Witch Project it was touted as non-fiction, and many people assumed it was an actual news piece about the missing kids from the movie.

For people like me, The Blair Witch Project was a tremendous let down. For others…not so much. One thing that is almost universally agreed on is that The Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows was god awful. These points are really here nor there as I’m reviewing Blair Witch, a loose sequel to the original written and directed by Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest), not the original films.

Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch is the best of the series for me by far. I know that doesn’t say much, but it managed to do what the original tried so desperately to do, and that was to create palpable tension. I actually felt anxious a few times throughout the movie, something The Blair Witch Project never did for me once. The acting in Blair Witch is quite a bit better than the original. Unfortunately this is not a good thing as you’re never really able to suspend disbelief like many were able to with The Blair Witch Project. It makes me question why they even bothered to do a found footage film in the first place.

I know a lot of people are wondering how this movie is connected to the original. The answer to that is actually pretty disappointing considering what great of writers Adam Wingard, and Simon Barrett actually are. The main character James is the little brother of Heather from the original movie. He believes that somehow, after more than a decade and a half, his sister is still alive in the woods. So he and his friends go looking for her, all the while one of them is making their experience into a documentary for school.

I may sound bitter, and I probably am a little. The bottom line though is this movie is surprisingly entertaining. I said going into this “if anyone could make a Blair Witch movie worth a damn it’d be Wingard and Barrett,” and it was. If you like supernatural horror go see it in the theaters with friends. You’ll have fun. Otherwise you can totally wait until this one hits streaming. You won’t be a social pariah if you don’t immediately see this like you were if you skipped the original.

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