Adapted for a modern screen, the cult classic “Blair Witch” gets a facelift with added psychological and science fiction components.
As attendees settle into their plush red seats with freshly popped popcorn in their laps, they are greeted with screams of terror and distraught cries for help. The local actors portraying the characters in the movie travel around the theater, engaging with the anxious fans of the cult phenomena. However, once the silence settles in the room, everyone’s nerves begin to hum with the anticipation of bringing back the only character in movie history that has spawned a new genre in film without ever gracing the screen.
Although adapted for a 21st century audience, this movie remains true to the roots that shook the industry 17 years ago by filming the entire movie from the character’s perspectives with a handheld camera technique. With quick camera cuts and only a flashlight to shed light on what is truly happening in the woods, the audience is left more dazed and confused than scared. However, things turn interesting when all useful technology abandons and ultimately turns against the characters, a thought that terrifies any millennial in the room. This loss of resource leaves the characters and audience feeling more trapped than ever.
Moving along the same plot line as its predecessor, the series enables fans to predict what will inevitably happen to these beloved characters, leaving out the crucial element of suspense. In fact, other than adding jump scares, this movie follows the same path as its original without the novelty of the first. In the end we (the audience) too feel as though we have been trapped in the woods for an undeterminable amount of time with the only progress leading us back to a conclusion that we had already reached.
Technology and nature only continue to confuse the group by leading them in circles through the woods leaving them with no choice but to wait until morning to leave. However, the cruelty of the Blair Witch comes through when time is suspended and daylight abandons them, sealing their fate inside the abandoned cabin that could be their salvation or their demise. When the only thing to fear is something you cannot see, your only salvation is that blind fear of the unknown. This conundrum is when the mind begins to turn on itself creating an almost “Lord of the Flies” undertone to an otherwise flat film. This occurs in that same chaos that nature nurtures and that technology creates. The Blair Witch is left to sit back and wait for them to either conspire against each other or succumb to her deadly gaze.
The grand finale is what partially redeems this film. Until the last 30 minutes of the film, it would appear to be a movie in which moody, paranoid young adults had a series of mishaps on a bad camping trip. Some of these mishaps include, but are not limited to, getting trapped under a falling tree, falling out of a tree and slicing their foot on a rock. However, those last 30 minutes lead the audience through a relentless maze of terrors that both reaffirm your fear of the dark and turn those soothing nature sounds into your worst nightmare.
The movie continues to use the fear of the unseen to conjure up your biggest fears set in a house where behind every door there is a new trap. This simple idea is both better for a more realistic horror film and ultimately terrifying, turning this into more of a psychological thriller and leaving you afraid of something you may have never seen.
In no way is this movie reinventing the wheel; however, it is still a must-see film for the season. While it is hard to compare it to its predecessor, the movie is still a well-produced horror film guaranteed to leave you with the need to continuously check over your shoulder for the ghost of what you may have seen on the screen. The Blair Witch is no longer contained to the woods.