When The Blair Witch Project first came out in 1999 I thought it was bullshit. I wanted to see the witch. I wanted blood and gore. I wanted MORE of whatever I thought it was that horror films were supposed to provide me with.
I was also young. 12 or something. And naive. So very fucking naive. (Hilariously, despise being hugely disappointed that it ‘wasn’t scary enough’ I didn’t dare go in the woods behind our house for weeks. And then, when I did return to the woods, it was with a new nervousness and quickness to my step)
A couple of years later, I watched it again. Suddenly, it was the greatest horror film I’d ever seen ever. (That still stands today.) I became obsessed, and tracked down everything I could find to do with the movie, including a series of teenage books called The Blair Witch Files which I read ferociously.
When The Blair Witch 2 came out on VHS I snatched it up…only to be so bitterly fucking disappointed that I wanted to throw it. The only reason I didn’t was because my VHS collection was meagre…it also included The Faculty, which I’m not proud of.
Anyway, when the news reached me that a completely NEW Blair Witch movie was going to be released, one which basically pretended that the second one never even existed, I was besides myself. As it turns out though, I was broke when it came out at the cinema, and after that I kind of just, well, not forget about it, but, well you know how it is.
But then, many moons later, YesMovies provided me with a pristine stream of the film, and the time of judgement had arrived. I was nervous when it started, up, I’m not going to lie. I was so freaking worried that it was going to be all heavily made up women, tits, ass and all that ‘I’m so scared shall we fuck?’ bullshit which seems to dominate the horror genre nowadays.
But it wasn’t…there was a moment when I thought it might slide down that horribly slippery slope, but thankfully it was but one line of dialogue. While the acting took a while to get off the ground, I remember giving my boyfriend a side-eye while devouring a mouthful of obscure Swedish candy, and saying ‘I think it’s actually gonna be alright.’
Thankfully I didn’t recognise any of the actors (I would have been PISSED if they’re used anyone I could recognise. That was one of the best things about the first movie…I’d no idea who any of the actors were) and it was shot using the familiar, much-loved found footage style.
The plot is basically this: a bunch of collage kids (again) after viewing some uploaded footage of whom they believe to be Heather Donahue, venture into the woods with two guides to try and discover what happened to Heather, who also happens to be the sister of one of the characters.
It’s pretty much the same old same old, with them setting up camp, finding stick figures and people disappearing (WHY DO THEY COLLECT WOOD AND GO TO PISS ALONE FOR FUCKS SAKE?) …only this time they have a drone – which actually turned out to be epicly fucking useless in helping to keep them alive.
There’s a visit to Rustin Parr’s house (THE scariest house horror makers have conjured up to date, in my humble opinion) and we get the terrifying facing the wall routine once again.
Despite having so many similarities with the first movie, it was still solid, with a consistently unnerving atmosphere AND there’s a few, brief sighting of the witch. (Though whether it was her or not is widely debated. Some say it was one of her victims.)
There’s some real mind fuckery at play, and one of the questions I found myself asking was ‘is the witch capable of bending time?’ What’s really apparent with the movie though is that it was scripted. The fear felt more genuine in the first film because the actors were actually scared and weren’t following directions from a script.
If you enjoyed the first film and hated the second, give this a go. While you might not finish it feeling as satisfied as you did with the first (if you enjoyed the first that is), there are moments which will leave you believing it was worth it.