Blair Witch is hard to watch. Not because what unfolds on screen is particularly horrifying; rather it’s literally hard to watch, as copious amounts of blurry handheld footage and bright lights shone directly into the camera prove to be an endurance test for the eyeballs.
Much like the original Blair Witch Project, it’s a bit of an endurance test patience-wise too. A bunch of kids head out into the woods, and a lot of squabbling and shrieking ensues. The difference this time is they take an arsenal of cameras, all the better to cut between different shots of… stuff.
“Wait, what was that? What happened there? What did they say?”
These are the questions you will be asking your friends afterwards, and while ambiguity can enhance horror films when used wisely, this feels misjudged, like director Adam Wingard was aiming for verisimilitude but underestimated how much his audience would actually want to see and hear.
Wingard has made great films before, in particular his sly, morally-queasy thriller The Guest. So it’s disappointing to see him take on found footage with such derivative results. The new elements he adds to the story are far and away the best parts of the film, but they are slight, thrown into the mix without leading anywhere significant.
As it goes on, the camera work gets wilder and the loud noises get louder, and you will either find it terrifying, or be baffled that anyone thought a new Blair Witch film was a good idea.
‘Blair Witch’ movie times