blair witch | the blair witch project | sequel | adam wingard | simon barrett | james allen mccune | callie hernandez | corbin reid | thriller | canada | united states | brandon scott | found footage | found-footage | witch | witchcraft | wes robinson | valorie curry | trilogy
Film: Blair Witch
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez and Corbin Reid
This film begins with showing footage of someone in a run-down house. They pass by a mirror and we only get a glimpse before they go into a room and close the door. We then learn that someone is watching this on YouTube. That person is James Allen McCune. He is talking to his girlfriend, played by Callie Hernandez. McCune believes that the woman in the mirror is his sister. He is holding out hope that she is still alive. McCune has reached out to the person that claims to have found this footage in the house in the woods outside of Burkittsville. It should be pointed out that McCune is the younger brother of Heather Donahue, the sole woman from the original Blair Witch Project.
Joining them are two friends who are also a couple. There is Brandon Scott, who has known McCune since they were children. His girlfriend is played by Corbin Reid. They show off all of the gadgets they got for this expedition. They have cameras that are ear pieces, they have security cams, Hernandez has a camera and there is a drone.
Hernandez is a film student and she is going to film this expedition to see if they can find anything involving McCune’s sister. Scott has reservations that she is taking advantage of him. Hernandez tries to convince him that is not the case, she wants to help him to either find something or finally give this up. If they find anything, she can use it to pass school and she doesn’t want to miss out on that opportunity.
These four go out to Burkittsville where they meet up with another couple, played by Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry. There is a twist that they want to go out into the woods with them. Scott clearly isn’t for this and McCune is reluctant to allow this. They end up giving in.
Robinson has his own camera, one that is a little bit older than the rest that burns to DVDs. They hike into the woods. They have to cross over a river and during this, Reid cuts her foot. McCune is a paramedic, so he bandages her up.
It is starting to get dark so they set up camp. That night they start to hear noises. It scares them. Robinson goes out into the woods, but everyone makes it back. The following morning though there are bunch of the Tiki-Men hanging all around their campsite like in the original film. It is also not morning, but 2 in the afternoon. It is decided that they will go back to the car. On the way back, they realize that Robinson and Curry faked the men, as Hernandez finds the same rope in Robinson’s bag. They are forced to find their own way back. The other group panics when they end up back at their campsite.
Scott finds that there is something in the cut on Reid’s foot. It is bleeding pretty badly. He goes off into the woods and is attacked by something. He is taken off. McCune tries to find him, but only his walkie-talkie. McCune and Hernandez bump into Robinson and Curry to learn that it has been five days since they last saw each other, not just earlier in the day like Hernandez believes.
What is going on here? What is after them? Can they find Scott? Can they all get out before it is too late?
Now I have to say, when I first heard about this sequel, I was intrigued. Even more so since this is a sequel to one of the most influential found footage films of all time. To add even more, Adam Wingard is a director who likes to take advantage of this forum when it comes to many of his films. Now this film is scripted unlike the original. This is technically a direct sequel to that one. The story does have some issues for me. The first issue I’ll look at is I don’t recall Donahue saying she had a brother in the original. Not a big deal, but something that I thought about. Next issue is I don’t know how McCune would believe that his sister is still alive. It has been 17 years since the original to this point and there is no way he would think she could still living. There is the time doesn’t run the same aspect that was introduced in this film that could explain how it could be, which I liked. This is something that is kind of brought up in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch II, which makes me believe they are incorporating that in there. This one also feels like the original, but throwing in a creature to chase them. This film does bring up some things that are not fully explained, like what is inside the cut and leg of Reid. It is questionable to introduce it and then revealing why. I liked the ending as it brings it full circle as well.
The acting I don’t have a lot of complaints about. McCune I’ve actually seen in a couple of things and he seemed real to me. He has concern for his sister, but it has been so long that it is tempered. It is a little implausible though since there is an age gap though as he would have been really young and probably wouldn’t remember her. I thought Hernandez looks terrified during the final sequence, which is good. The rest of the cast I believed and didn’t have problems there.
Now when it comes to found footage, I am a big fan when it is done correctly. I do feel that this one was one of those, but I’m not surprised with Wingard at the helm. I liked the idea of cameras that they wear around their ears, as it eliminates everyone carrying one. I also like that the only reason things are filmed near the end with a camera is because of the light that is on it as they lost their flashlights. The creature they have was barely showed and I loved it. It was done with CGI, but we don’t get a good look at it and I thought it was creepy. It also incorporates part of the legend we are told in this film. This one I felt did rely too much on the jump scare. I get why they do it and sometimes I can be used with great effect, but too much it feels gimmicky. This one really flirted with the latter unfortunately. There is no soundtrack in terms of music; they use sounds of nature which help to build the realism of the film.
With that said, this film is slightly above average. I felt that it tried to do some of the things that the original did, but it is hard to do since this is a sequel and not an original idea. I thought they had the perfect choice for director in Wingard who knows how to utilize found footage. I thought the story was interesting with some of the aspects that they incorporated. I would like to know more about them as they are left unexplained. I would say the acting was good and natural. I thought the gadgets they introduced also helped make this feel more real. The creature is barely shown and I thought that was great. There are a lot of jump scares that this film relies on, which I’m not a big fan of. The editing of the film was good and I like how the story comes full circle in the end. Outside of screams and talking, the soundtrack is nature so that helps with the realism as well. Now you don’t need to see the original to enjoy this one, because it does fill you in. I still prefer the original to this one. I would say that this is an above average film. If you like the original then give this a viewing try to temper your expectations coming in.
My Rating: 6 out of 10