Film Review: Blair Witch

Blair Witch

Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch is a sequel does the trick of terrifying its viewers. The film hits the same beats as its predecessor, but provides the frights despite this.

Several years after the disappearance of his sister Heather and her friends in the woods, James is on the hunt for answers. He takes a group of friends to retrace their steps, hoping to find out what happened to his sister all those years ago…

A belated sequel to a hit film is not always the most appealing of prospects. Nevertheless, Blair Witch does the job of generating scares and apprehension as it progresses. The film begins by introducing its characters at a leisurely pace. This gives the audience an insight into protagonist James, as well as offering a reason for the filming (a documentary for a college project).

Director Adam Winged and screenwriter Simon Barrett follow the same path as The Blair Witch Project. Retreading the same ground, Blair Witch is about a group of investigators armed with cameras. Nevertheless, the film excels in Wingard and Barrett’s capable hands. Viewers will be recognise the sequences, but Blair Witch still frightens despite this familiarity.

Totems from the first film abound in Blair Witch. Whilst the audience may have the impending fear of what will come next, the tension is palpable. Wingard works with audience familiarity with the original film, setting up similar situations and playing them for maximum apprehension. He weaves a claustrophobic web, drawing in viewers despite their knowledge of the outcome. Camera work in editing in the film work exceptionally well. However, the real star in the sound design. Sound in the film is expertly exploited to create and enhance the frights. Acting in Blair Witch is perfectly fine, although there is a glossiness to the cast that dispels the “found footage” masquerade.

Blair Witch will successfully spook its audience. Whilst the film lacks originality, it makes up for this with an onslaught of terror.