Director Adam Wingard Updates The ‘Blair Witch‘ With This Sleek Sequel
‘Blair Witch‘ is exactly what I look for in horror, and in horror sequels specifically. It has elements from each sub-genre in horror, mixing in perfect harmony as well as upping the ante. While it follows the formula originally created with ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ in 1999, there’s so many great new additions as well. Director Adam Wingard is obviously a fan of the original because not only did he pay respect, but he expanded upon the ’99 phenomenon.
Awesome to see that a quick conversation between Wingard and the original directors grew into creating one of the most hyped horror sequels in years. Also, the marketing trick of promoting the film under a different name (‘The Woods‘) to-then do a big reveal was great. It allowed the buzz for the film to reach new heights.
‘Blair Witch‘ is a direct sequel to the original film. The story follows the search for Heather, the woman who was in the first movie. Her brother James sees a video that claims to be his sister who went missing more than a decade before. She is in the same house we last saw her in the finale of ‘The Blair Witch Project‘. Gathering a group of his friends, some of which are in a documentary filmmaking class, they go to the middle of the woods to look for her and learn about the Blair Witch.
What we get is a fun expansion of iconic scenes and all-new stand out moments. I expected the filmmakers to touch on scenes like the man in the corner or the iconic stick figures; they do, but from a different perspective now.
It’s simple things like the advancements in technology or the self-aware tone, and it feels so different compared to the previous entry. Seeing things like drones and ear-piece cameras broke up the camcorder monotony.
Writer Simon Barrett does an excellent job of expanding the mythos of this franchise without giving too much away. The first film and this sequel rely on teasing the audience. I never mind walking out of a horror film with more questions than answers; it allows me to let my mind wander and make up my own answers.
‘The Blair Witch Project‘ directors Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez only made a quick outline for their film, but Simon Barrett clearly took his time nailing down this script. Barrett also seamlessly allows space for organic humor. Never does a joke feel forced or out of place. It all comes out naturally and fits into the situation.
“There’s something evil hiding in the woods.”
Expanding the cast was also a smart move. This allows the body count to grow and for more action throughout. With more people the movie could feel less focused, but the filmmakers balance things well. Never does the story steer away from main character James (James Allen McCune) and his search for his sister Heather, but it does give other characters chances to shine. In particular, I love the crazed townies Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry).
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting any graphic content at all in ‘Blair Witch‘ but boy I was totally wrong. The movie isn’t some ‘Hostel’-style gorefest but there was one moment that completely took me by surprise. Let’s just say…never snap those creepy Blair Witch stick figures! There’s also this amazing gross out sequence involving a leg. I love body horror and Wingard delivers on that front. Hearing the crowd’s disgust was like sweet music to my ears. That kind of reaction is exactly why filmmakers put things like that in their movies.
There’s no doubt that ‘Blair Witch‘ is my favorite horror film of 2016. I’d go as far as saying this could be one of my favorite movies from any genre this year. I highly recommend you see this! Critics are seemingly not into it, but as a hardcore horror fan & Adam Wingard fan, I don’t see anything to dislike.
Let me know what you think of this sequel to ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ in the comments below!