Released without much fanfare, Blair Witch (2016), the official sequel to The Blair Witch Project (1999) - let's all pretend Blair Witch 2 (2000) never happened - is destined to become a polarizing film. If, like myself, you aren't a huge fan of the original, you'll probably find it to be a slick, compelling, and arguably superior sequel/retread of the original; on the other hand, if you are a die-hard fan of the original, and there are millions of you out there, it could be seen as an unnecessary repeat performance of the best aspects of the original.
To me, Blair Witch blows the original out of the water. Director and genre stalwart Adam Wingard, along with writer Simon Barrett, deliver a movie that is tense, fun, energetic, and deliciously scary, with the always reliable Wingard directing with an ebullience that was missing from the original
Whereas the original was an occasionally tedious exercise in cinema-verite, with hysterical characters and an annoying lead, this sequel features characters that are more fleshed out and much more likable. Yes, it isn't as gritty, and there isn't much here that is as startlingly original, but it is a better movie overall, with tight direction, an inventive script, and a terrifying, if slightly over-the-top, ending. It also has the advantage of working well as a stand-alone film, thanks to Barrett's clever script.
If you're looking for a fun, scary, and fast-paced "found footage" horror film, Blair Witch is for you.
Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2017