Blair Witch Review - A Super Suspenseful, Scary Good, Fright Ride

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Blair Witch, from Lionsgate and Vertigo Entertainment, presents a solidly built sequel, seventeen years in the making, that gives horror and fright a new name with heightened suspense, trepidation, unnerving edge of the seat dread.

Directed by Adam Wingard, and based on the original The Blair Witch Project written and directed by Eduardo Sanchez, Blair Witch stars James Allen McCune, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Callie Hernandez and also Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry and was written by Simon Barrett.

Blair Witch picks up twenty years after Heather’s mysterious disappearance in the Burkittsville Woods. With what appears familiar news footage, and unfortunate for modern society the film shows the united town walking through the woods in formation looking for the missing girl and her crew.

A tape, with nearly impossible footage, depicting a house, with markings and other satanic cryptic codes, of which while one does not quite know the meaning the appearance produces fright.

When it comes right down to it most people believe in Satan, dark power, witchcraft and the manifestation of evil. And oddly and conversely most people don’t seem to believe in an ultimate good or God. Without one there cannot be the other; to believe in God is to believe in Satan and to believe in Satan, the Prince of Darkness one must believe in the yang, the ultimate good or God.

So our four companions, James, the brother of Heather, played by James Allen McCune, Lisa, our photojournalist, played by Callie Hernandez, Peter, James’ lifelong friend, played by Brandon Scott, and his friend, Ashley, played by Corbin Reid.

Our four decide after the appearance of this mysterious tape which was downloaded by some hicks from near the woods, that they would meet the guy that posted the video, pay if necessary and get him to take them to the spot and see if they can find something that brings closure or Heather back.

So our weekend warriors are fully geared up, everything a first time survivalist decides they need. Along with the equipment from Lisa, a drone camera, all the equipment, charge powerpacks, batteries and the electronics accessory package that comes with modern connectivity and filmmaking.

Finally, after a hard-charging night the four are ready to begin the mission. First stop, meeting Lane, the person who downloaded the grainy tape, played by Wes Robinson. Seeing the power camera Lisa is using, Lane issues the ultimatum, “either I go with you or I don’t show you.”

A split vote overruled and Lane and his girlfriend, Talia played by Valorie Curry, are joining the four as they leave the safety of the jeep and head on foot into the woods.

Blair Witch is filmed as if it is recovered footage although it contains some long shots. So as our film student Lisa is documenting every move, and utilizing the most modern filming capabilities, we see what is a camping trip in action.

The trip takes a downward turn as Lane, the guide, explains they have to cross the river. Walking through the rushing water, the anticipation is building, and it is almost as if the woods draw first blood, and Ashley cuts her foot on something unseen in the river.

Nothing worse on a hike than a cut. When James dresses the wound, what one thought was slight cut, is really a very deep gash, nearly four inches across the bottom of her foot.

So wet socks, cold, dark of night, a cut, the crazy guide and his looney girlfriend, folklore and the mysterious stories Lane and Talia were telling through the five miles into the woods and of course all the heretics, witch hunts, murders along with the general reason they are sleeping in these tents brings their genuine fear to the surface.

Waking the next morning, feeling simply happy they all survived as each person exits the tents, alarm bells begin to sound. The camp was surrounded by satanic artifacts carved out of trees branches. The team decides to abandon the search and head back to the safety of life outside the woods.

This, of course, is where Blair Witch crests from suspense building and begins to fly down the tracks as the audience hangs on or goes hands free, either way we are in for a roller-coaster thrill ride through the remainder of the film.

Fear, folklore and its manifestation, real or imaginary, the disadvantage of failing electronics, and the inability to handle a quickly deteriorating situation bring the story to a conclusion.

Blair Witch is 90 minutes of heart pounding adrenaline as the suspense builds, crests and hits full on with wave after wave as the four become separated.

Prepare for one very scary, suspenseful haunting, resonating with unseen pop-up’s, a never quite knowing what happened, and very well done film.

Film goers will get 89 minutes of solid suspense, with a supernatural building concluding with a spine chilling unbelievable ending at the mysterious haunted house from the first film, filled with paranormal, witchcraft and satanic symbols.

The film itself is not an homage to all things evil. It has a genuine plot, a well written storyline, no gratuitous blood, gore or other physical props to build the suspense. The woods seem to be a natural fear building prop with the additional campfire stories adding the effect of spooky fear.

I think it is also important to add I don’t have a high tolerance to horror films. The heightened and growing suspense, it is very well defined film in as much as the audience can see the progression. The suspense grows and becomes eye closing, sinking low into your seat, protecting, terror.  

Blair Witch has some disturbing scenes, language, and produces fear. See it, hold on and enjoy.

Blair Witch opens September 16, 2016 everywhere. Check local listings.

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