Blair Witch still lurking in scary sequel


Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, James Allen McCune, Valorie Curry and Wes Robinson in Blair Witch.
Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, James Allen McCune, Valorie Curry and Wes Robinson in Blair Witch.

EVEN though it is widely known that curiosity killed the cat, it has not deterred people from venturing into haunted and cursed woods.

In 1999, through clever marketing, audiences were led to believe three documentary film makers went missing in the Maryland woods trying to uncover the mystery of the local Blair Witch legend.

The footage purported to be the doomed trio’s own as they kept the camera rolling while they encountered creepy stick figures, mysterious piles of rocks and a presence following them around, scaring the bejesus out of them.

In 2016, when never-before-seen footage surfaces on Youtube, James (James Allen McCune), the brother of one of the missing crew members, wants answers.

He gathers his three mates, including a documentary film maker, and the two local weirdos who found the long-lost tape, and ventures into the woods with earpiece cameras, GPS, walkie talkies, mobile phones and a drone.

But is it enough to get them home safely when the Blair Witch is still lurking?

Since the found film sub-genre emerged in the past 10 years, Blair Witch comes off a closer relative to Paranormal Activity than its own predecessor, with modern equipment, sharp footage and well-timed jump scares replacing dark grainy footage and long, creepy takes.

There is more effort put into jolting the audience with pop into frame moments and a dash of body horror imagery to keep the gore hounds satisfied than trying to burrow under the audience’s skin and being psychologically troubling, like the original was.

The climactic 20 minutes play out like a carnival ghost train ride, but when all is said and done there is little to set this apart from the ground-breaking original, blurring the line between sequel and remake.THE ESSENTIALS

Blair Witch (M)

Directed by: Adam Wingard

Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid

Three stars

Review by Julian Wright

In cinemas now