(SPOILER FREE) When THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT burst on the scene in 1998, it was amazing, we were hooked. Mostly because we thought it was real. Yes as twisted as it was, we thought we were watching the final days of these people’s lives. That’s why it worked so well and why Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 did not. Not be fair, Blair Witch 2 is a great film but we already knew the joke. The question since has been “How do we make Blair Witch scary again?” It’s taken 15 years or so but thanks to Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, BLAIR WITCH may be the best horror film in years!
I know that is a wild boast but hear me out. What are some scary movies? The only real solid horror films of the past few years have been James Wan related and they are great. But other than them, we have been in a serious drought. Let’s look at new horror movies coming out. Indie horror like IT FOLLOWS starts off with a strong premise but rarely delivers and other films like The Babadook are just completely over-hyped pieces of garbage. This is what works so well for BLAIR WITCH, its premise is familiar but in an emotional way. It has nostalgia working in its favor. It has nothing to live up to except that little film way back when. The trailer alone out does the original film on the scare factor. The new film as a whole takes everything we thought we wanted to see and delivers and does so without really showing us anything it shouldn’t. It is a tricky line to walk but it does so masterfully.
The premise is simple and immediately intriguing… Heather Donahue’s younger brother hasn’t let the disappearance of his sister go and decides to head out to the Black Hills to get some answers. A new tape has surfaced with possible Heather footage so he gets some friends together and heads out. You can guess how that goes. When searching for the answer to a mystery one must be careful to not become the mystery. If you think that I’ve told you where the movie is going, I haven’t. This film takes a hard left in the third act and you will not see what’s coming.
If you a fan of the original this new BLAIR WITCH will awaken something in you. Feelings for Heather, Michael, and Josh. That is the strength of this film. It has the ability to become a personal horror film in a way that most cannot. The best horror film in years, yes I said that and I’ll stand by it. It is because it delivers in a way that other films can’t, they lack the connective tissue. Also, expectations were non-existent so it didn’t have to battle its own hype. Adam and Simon have taken something dormant and made it relevant again. Great editing and sound design and most importantly, an emotional cord to get behind. This is a theatrical experience so I urge you to see it in the theaters when it comes out in September.