Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett have fast carved out an impressive reputation. Delivering the innovative horrors of You’re Next and The Guest, any project they move towards catches the eye like silver to a crow. So when they announced an unexpected tackling of Blair Witch – out of nowhere following a secretive production – anticipation was suitably high.
In part, they deliver. Wingard and Barrett know how to create horror, so the basics are strong throughout. Jump-cut audio and visuals, and unexpected twists, all make this a thrilling product. The inventive touches are here too, with the use of drones and cameras on each protagonist to offer a more visual feature.
Now, it would be remiss to define this as a schlocky horror. The most surprising element of this sequel is the strong characters. No one makes unexplained decisions, the protagonists all make rational moves, and the dialogue feels natural and realistic. Yet stepping back from the impressive, immediate shock of the film, there’s something unsettling about it all. This isn’t about the film’s content but rather its existence. For a creative team renowned for such innovation, it’s an odd project to take. The film follows several of the beats of the 1999 original, and there’s only so much you can do within this framework. And it shows. While that initial delivery shocks and scares, the aftertaste is somewhat unsatisfying. Here’s to their next project, where the pair can shake free of the confines of a franchise.
Wingard and Barrett deliver a short, sharp movie with scares, shocks and solid characters. It’s impressive that they’ve been able to revive a franchise many thought would remain extinct. Yet within a restricted framework, the pair cannot shine to their brightest. A solid and forgettable entry into their canon.
CAST: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid, Brandon Scott, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry
DIRECTOR: Adam Wingard
WRITER: Simon Barrett
SYNOPSIS: After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister’s experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James (McCune) and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.