Movie Review: ‘BLAIR WITCH’ stirs the cinematic cauldron


Preston Barta // Editor

BLAIR WITCH | 89 min | R
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Corbin ReidBrandon ScottWes RobinsonValorie Curry

What made THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT such a hit was that it was the first of its kind. Since then, we’ve been superseded by a host of other horror filmmakers coming in our wake who’ve overdone the found footage concept since it came out of the woods.

However, every once and awhile a movie comes along, sometimes a sequel, that can still stir the cinematic cauldron and be horrifying. Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett (THE GUEST, YOU’RE NEXT) have done that with their sequel, BLAIR WITCH.

A direct sequel to the first film, BLAIR WITCH picks up with the story of the younger brother (James Allen McCune) of one of the original missing documentarians. He becomes convinced his sibling may still be alive somewhere in the woods and ventures to the spot with some friends (Callie Hernandez, Corbin Reid and Brandon Scott) to hopefully get some answers. Obviously, things go wickedly wrong.

Today, if you go back and watch the original film, it doesn’t quite have that same effect that it did in 1999 when it was released. Horror films have developed and we expect more from our movies nowadays. The characters aren’t quite as fun to hang around as you remember and the chills don’t kick in as much as you want.

BLAIR WITCH, on the other hand, provides this world with the depth we’ve been wanting all along: It expands on the myth of the witch, features compelling characters that seem plucked out of our own lives and images that give us much more to fear.

The film may occasionally rely on loud noises or characters walking up announced for a quick jump scares, but it also delves into some of our greatest fears such as claustrophobia, haunted houses and walking in the dark with amplified sounds. Warts and all, it’s a scary-good time.

BLAIR WITCH opens nationwide today.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.