Star Rating:

Blair Witch

Director: Adam Wingard

Actors: Corbin Reid, James Allen McCune, Valorie Curry, Wes Robinson

Release Date: Thursday 15th September 2016

Genre(s): Horror, Thriller

Running time: 89 minutes

After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.

In 2016, it's hard to fathom the type of impact the original Blair Witch Project had when it surfaced 17 years ago. Social networks didn't exist, which meant that something could still come out of nowhere and shock the world. When the film was presented as 'found footage' people believed it was real (for a while) and thought they were watching the horrific demise of three film students. Then it dropped in cinemas in became one of the most profitable films of all time, influencing an entire sub-genre in the process. There would be no Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield without the Blair Witch.

So you can imagine the excitement when it was announced that The Guest helmer Adam Wingard was actually working on a sequel (that would wisely ignore the disastrous Book of Shadows).

With The Guest, Wingard showed the kind of self-awareness that is omnipresent in modern filmmaking - but he did it with panache and skill, showcasing himself as a director with enormous potential, who could blend genres with ease and deliver a stonking good popcorn flick with smarts. Why, then, he chose to direct such a flat, analogous sequel to the seismic original is truly beyond us. Blair Witch is an utterly disappointing re-tread that is doubly so, given the talent behind the camera.

We're once again privy to some 'found footage' from 2014, where some new film students are off into the woods to find out what the craic is with the mythical Blair Witch. Turns out one of them is Heather's (the one with the snots from the original) younger brother, who was 4 years old when she went missing. Convinced she's still somehow alive out there, he enlists some fairly nondescript pals along for the ride; there, they meet a couple of locals, who may or may not have other intentions. Shit goes bump in the night.. blah blah.

It's pretty obvious that this is the Blair Witch for the generation that missed the first film; that makes sense and there's nothing wrong with that. But while the original was seminal for the likes of JJ Abrams, this one probably snuck through the cracks too early and the resulting film is frustratingly predictable. On one hand, you have the recognisability of the title - but it lacks the momentum and buzz that's expected of it - not that it matters for anyone who has seen the original, anyway. This is just a higher tech version of it that doesn't do a whole lot more now, even with the budget.