Found footage films are amongst the cheapest to make. Take unknown actors, shoot the story in documentary style with minimal effects and a movie is born.
Since the horror film The Blair Witch Project blazed the trail in 1999, dozens of similar movies have sprung up. Some have been hits while many have been misses. Going back to where it all began, Blair Witch is the third film in the series. As cheaply made but having an abundance of genuine tension, this sequel should scare up more box office dollars on a meagre budget.
James (James Allen McCune), Lisa (Callie Hernandez) and Peter (Brandon Scott) are college students on a mission. Joined by local residents Talia (Valorie Curry) and Lane (Wesley Robinson), they search the Black Hills in search of James’ sister Heather. Missing for years, they believe her disappearance is connected to the Blair Witch legend. Travelling further into the deep, dark woods, they discover sinister secrets buried within as evil stalks its prey with deadly precision.
Closely following the first movie in look and tone, Blair Witch is an acceptable spooky time-waster. Whilst only offering a modicum of new twists, it makes much of its concept and lack of musical soundtrack. Relying on Adam Wingard’s steady direction and foreboding atmosphere, Blair Witch succeeds in being scary. Although the thrills aren’t non-stop, with too many ‘jump scares’ it maintains a brisk pace to a predictable but still engrossing finale.
The actors won’t win any Oscars for their performances but they do an adequate job. They aren’t expected to do much except scream in front of the shaky camera and run around the dark forest. They do that well with some very effective sequences drawing on the eerie Blair Witch mythology. It does rehash what made the first film so popular but Blair Witch offers some fresh wrinkles for today’s jaded horror audience.
Despite being professionally edited and shot, which goes against the spirit of amateur found footage films, Blair Witch is generally enthralling. It hits the spot in terms of horrific tingles and will undoubtedly spawn more films as long as there is money to be made for scary movie executives.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 6