Beware the Blair Witch

October 6, 2016

Amber Harrington 

Staff Reporter  | anh038@latech.edu

Talia and Lane wander through the woods in Blair Witch. Photo courtesy of Vertigo Entertainment.

Talia and Lane wander through the woods in Blair Witch. Photo courtesy of Vertigo Entertainment.

I screamed, you screamed, we all screamed. Just not for ice cream this time.


While watching Lionsgate’s new release, “Blair Witch,” this same quote can be applied. Just a little differently, however.


Instead, it went something as follows: they scream for their lives, you scream for your life, I scream for my life… and then get up and walk out of the theater mid-movie in absolute fear.


Yes, the movie was that (insert expletive here) terrifying.


Written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard, (the filmmaking duo behind “You’re Next” and “The Guest”) “Blair Witch” is a follow-up to the 1999 hit thriller “The Blair Witch Project.” Now, almost 20 years later, the sequel picks up in 2016 and follows a nearly identical timeline to the original movie.


“Blair Witch” centers on a group of six teenagers who decide to venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland which is said to be home to the Blair Witch. They attempt to uncover the truth about what happened to Heather, the main character from the first movie, two decades earlier in those same woods. In this movie, Heather just so happens to be James’s (James Allen McCune), one of the teenagers, sister. As the group sets up camp in the so-called haunted woods, things start to get strange and people start to go missing.


Like most horror films, the movie starts out slow – almost painfully slow. You know, the type of slow where one could scroll through Facebook for the first 30 minutes of the movie and not miss anything special.


Their journey starts out light-hearted, but the anxiety builds as night comes. By this point, fans of the original movie will start to recognize patterns between the films such as stick figures and stone creations.


Once things start hitting the fan, they don’t stop. It’s 89 minutes of blood-curdling screaming, flashlights waving, bones breaking, trees falling and utter chaos. The camera cuts from person to person as they run, in no specific direction, for their lives. At this point the adrenaline is pumping through my body in anticipation that something to happen, someone or something to jump out, and BAM, nothing. No bloody gruesome deaths, no witch, just a big let down. I found myself hoping for someone to die just for a break from the continuous build-up the plot puts viewers through.


The finale brings them to the house where Heather was last seen. Although the characters are begged not to enter it, they do anyways (typical, right?) and that’s where the real fear kicks in. If it seemed scary thought before, think again.


James begins to piece together what really happened to his sister as the witch tortures him and his friends with confusing and disorienting sights. The camera throws the audience into the middle of the action as they struggle to decipher past from present, real from fiction, alive from dead. The group’s fate is apparent, but no one wants to admit it.


Truthfully, “Blair Witch” certainly isn’t as notable as it’s predecessor, and the plot is slightly boring and anticlimactic. If you are looking for a movie that will genuinely scare you and leave you feeling uncomfortable, though, it certainly does the job.


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