Thoughts on “Blair Witch”

by weslar


The thought of returning to the woods was a daunting thought, especially following the 1999 original. You’d have thought someone wouldn’t dare go there but when family is involved, incentive becomes paramount.

Blair Witch takes us back into the Black Hills Forest into a similar set up to the original, but adds the implication that our characters are in search of the house Heather Donahue vanished in.

The film is found footage, but when was that unexpected. The same tech is used albeit up-to-date and slicker, earpiece cameras & drones are thrown into the mix adding to better show the perspective and give new dimensions to being lost in the woods.

Heather’s brother James (James Allen McCune) views footage online, footage found around the time of Heather’s disappearance, revealing her in the house in the end of the original. From then on he takes his girlfriend Lisa (Callie Hernandez), and friends Ashley (Corbin Reid) & Peter (Brandon Scott) to the people who found the footage Talia (Valorie Curry) & Lane (Wes Robinson’s) house. The pair take them out into the woods.

It’s found that the pair have no clue as to where they were going, and wanted to tag along with the main group. From then on the world crumbles around them, and this is where it gets interesting. Throughout is a constant sense of fright. It doesn’t scare because you can’t see what causes the disruption. But it’s in the anticipation that causes you to be aware of something you have no concept of, which lingers in your train of thought, dread is your only thought.

In these encounters it’s hard to find dimension in characters though, mostly seen as being there, reacting to it. But that isn’t a bad thing, I didn’t need to find more layers than one to enjoy their performances. They’re taking us on an experience, something that we’re on the ride for.

Following is unparalleled psyche stretching tension in the final moments, or, final act of the film as the crescendo builds and story unveils itself. In the details Adam Wingard gives us answers, if only you notice them. Reestablishing the lore, making good work of a fanbase that relished the original for its realism surrounding the Blair Witch depicted as truth giving a satisfaction to fans.

The film takes advantage of the upgrade in technologies for the cinematography, the use of drone, earpiece cameras and DSLR’s compile to ingrain the feeling of the moment through its raw nature of found footage, which looks great. Using some well placed shots and stabile imagery which decreased the motion sickness.

Blair Witch gives more answers than it does questions. Somehow that leaves me more conflicted, the wonder was so magical about the original. Although this does not spoil the experience because it’s a double-edged sword in this sense.

The film manages to build upon the aesthetic of the original, the atmosphere is claustrophobic in an open space, the logic of no firearms within the group baffles me – in the woods where you could be killed by anything a would animal as opposed to a ghost.

Given everything that a found footage film is, Blair Witch doesn’t necessarily add anything new but refines it and tells an interesting story in the most simplistic way. For me it engaged me in their journey and made sure to keep me engrossed in the downward spiral the films characters were heading towards.