It’s a film that not only goes back to the basics, but seems to deliberately steal much of what made the original such a horrific treat.
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Blair Witch is shot, constructed and executed just like the original. And the slow-build fright fest will please genre purists — perhaps enough to reinvigorate the potential franchise — even if it feels all too familiar to the rest of us.
If The Blair Witch Project signalled a new dawn of horror, Blair Witch is the loud death rattle of a once exciting sub-genre, disappearing into the darkness.
Big kudos go out to screenwriter Barrett for creating a script that throws out so many curve balls. Just when you think the story is going in one direction — you get some nice jolts and surprise twists
What’s scarier—someone yelling boo or the sound of someone, or something, whispering it in the distance? Blair Witch has plenty of yelling, but not nearly enough that gets under your skin.
Wingard and Barrett add a creepy body horror element to the mix early on, and thanks to the forceful sound design there’s a greater sense of some massive, physical thing in the forest than the first film ever had — but Blair Witch is at its best when it’s honoring what has come before.
Setting up a number of promising kinks in the now-standard found-footage formula, as the seemingly spooked forest begins to close in its hapless victims, Blair Witch disappointingly casts most of them aside for a finale that does little to advance the series’ existing mythos.
It’s an intense, imaginative piece of work – which treads over familiar ground but modestly ventures a bit further in the climax.
By sticking so slavishly to the original Blair Witch film’s template, the result is a dull retread rather than a full-on reinvention, enlarging the cast numbers this time but sticking to the same basic beats.
Wingard and Barrett’s surprise – and surprisingly strong – sequel earns its scares. An effective follow-up to a film that can’t be matched.