Release Date: September 16, 2016
Running Time: 1 hour and 29 minutes
You really think that your sister could still be out there after all these years?
James Donahue is a college student who has been searching the internet for stories related to the disappearance of his sister, Heather Donahue, in October of 1994. When he comes across a video with an image that he believes to be his sister, he recruits three of his friends to join him on a camping trip to Black Hills near Burkittsville (formerly Blair), Maryland. His friend, Lisa, is eager to film the trip as a documentary for her journalism class. Peter Jones has known James for his entire life and recalls participating in a search party for Heather when they were young so he agrees to come along with his girlfriend, Ashley.
After packing and gathering their filming gear, their first stop is at the home of the young man, Lane, who uploaded the video. Lane and his girlfriend, Talia, consent to show James where he found the video tape if they agree to let them stay the duration of the trip. Along the way, Lane shares that he and Talia have lived in Burkittsville their entire lives as well as some of the gruesome history of the Black Hills which dates back to the 18th century when the townsfolk executed Elly Kedward for practicing witchcraft. After one night in the woods of Black Hills, the search party realizes that there just may be some truth to the legend of the Blair Witch.
If there is any chance that I could find out what happened to her, I need to try.
Blair Witch is another found footage psychological thriller that is a direct sequel to the 1999 box office success The Blair Witch Project. Having seen the first installment and the second (which for some mysterious reason was panned by audiences and dismissed by this film), I think that I have a better understanding of the psychological breakdown that occurs to the characters in the story. Running with a basic outline from Lionsgate, Wingard’s frequent collaborating writer, Simon Barrett, chose to stick close to home by paralleling this story with its1999 predecessor.
The addition of higher tech cameras and the inclusion of the locals, Lane and Talia, they did ramp it up by adding a few twists that were lacking in the first one. The relatively unknown cast all produced watchable moments with the more experienced Brandon Scott delivering some of the best scenes until his untimely demise. Callie Hernandez’s performance also stands out especially in the last 10 minutes of the 89 minute running time.
Even though Wingard does truly recreate the creepiness of the demonic woods after nightfall with a few nail biting scenes that made cover my eyes, I concluded that the drive home in Tropical Storm Julia was more terrifying. Nestled somewhere in between the other horror films that have been released this year (Lights Out, The Conjuring 2, The Purge: Election Year, The Shallows, and Don’t Breath), you may find a buried treasure in. If the $20 million marketing budget has peaked your curiosity, then recruit some friends to venture with you into the Black Hills Woods to see if you believe the stories behind the Blair Witch!