The movie updates the uninitiated us on the Blair Witch curse and provides some new details, including a bit about exactly why those creepy wooden amulets that keep showing up in the night look like that, but on the whole, once these kids set up camp in the forest, it’s the same movie.
They’re in for the same that the actors always feel like actors, partly because they’re all too conventionally beautiful, and partly because their characters are types we’ve seen in countless other horror movies.
(It might have been more clever if one character insisted on recording everything on Facebook Live) The movie just doesn’t have much pop to it.
Wingard is the sort of up-and-coming horror filmmaker, one with a healthy regard for the original, that you’d think his revisit of a classic would come adorned with new twists and smart reinventions.
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Instead, it’s just another found footage horror movie that, if you haven’t seen the first film, will mostly seem derivative and prone to dull bits of exposition for no reason.
I’m not sure it would have been possible to appropriately update the original The Blair Witch Project.
Blair Witch nods to the first film but never rediscovers its power. Trust me, kids: You really did have to be that specific level of stupid to be that specific level of scared.
Grade: CGrierson & Leitch write about the movies regularly for the New Republic and host a podcast on film.