The Blair Witch Project premiered exactly 18 years ago today at the Sundance Film Festival - and still to this day, the movie is often disputed by countless horror fanatics who all either love or despise the film. Regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself, one thing is for certain: the films have left a legacy behind which is right up there with the greats of Scream, Saw, and Paranormal Activity. Now, nearly two decades later, the Blair Witch is back, brutal, and better than ever.
"Blair Witch" opened in theaters back in September 2016, with an opening weekend grossing $9.7 million. It is, of coarse, the third film in the Blair Witch franchise, however it is a direct sequel to the original Blair Witch Project film. Appropriately enough, the newest installment takes places 20 years after the initial film ended, and poor Heather Donahue from the Blair Witch Project was never found in the years that followed. Search parties explored the woods never to find the missing, and eventually the search parties all came to an end. Fast forward to 2014 and James Donahue, who was only four at the time of his sisters disappearance, discovers a video posted online by some locals to the woods, and James is under the impression that the video was footage capture by his sister before her disappearance, and even believes he sees her in part of the footage in a mirror. So as part of a film project for school, his friends join him in meeting up with the locals, who they end up going camping with in the woods in search of both heather Donahue and the legend of the Blair Witch., until... you guessed it, shit hits the fan.
The legend of the Blair Witch - for those who may need a quick refresher on the story - is a pretty gruesome one: a man named Rustin Parr, who lived in the woods that the film takes place in (fun fact, the story is based on the real town of Burkittsville, Maryland, which has now become a popular tourist location for fans of the film who insist on searching the land for the "real" locations from the movie, none of which exist since the movie wasn't filmed there). Rustin had kidnapped eight children in the 1940s, took them down to the basement in pairs, and had one child stand in the corner while he slaughtered the other like swine. After killing the eight children, Parr turned himself into police, where he then claimed that the spirit of Elly Kedward forced him to commit the crimes. Elly Kedward was a woman executed in the 18th century... for witchcraft.
I'm going to be straight up when I say that Blair Witch has to be one of my favorite movies of 2016 - not just horror movies but of movies in general. Now I know "found footage" movies get a pretty fair amount of hate and most people are just kinda over them nowadays, but I was a tremendous fan of the other two films when they first came out, and I feel as though this new movie just does the other movies so much justice. I vividly remember watching the Blair Witch Project with my friends when we were younger, and I remember how much it scared the living shit out of me, simply because "found footage" movies just didn't really exist back then - there were only a handful of movies in that style that predate the Blair Witch Project (Cannibal Holocaust, for example, is probably one of the more popular of the few found footage movies before Blair Witch Project, and that was released way back in 1980!). These days, found footage movies are so common it seems like people just don't even like watching them anymore; everyone assumes they are all the same. But for a lot of people, Blair Witch Project was one of, if not the first, film of its kind that a lot of people were seeing - and it was a w e s o m e. I instantly fell in love, and that's what happened with Blair Witch.
Blair Witch has all of the perfectly timed jump scares, freakiness, paranormal, and shock that you could possibly want from a movie like this; and they did a great job with it. The film feels as campy and dare I say cheesy as the original films (whether or not that was intentional, I'm not sure), yet entertaining and exciting as it should be. I'm not going to ruin any of the fun surprised Blair Witch has in store for its viewers, but I do think it was a perfect modern-day adaptation to a film that takes places 20 years since its precursor. For example, the teenagers have a drone and GPS units that they bring in to the woods to assist on their journey into the unknown - I thought that was a cool little modern day touch to the movie. All in all, the movie is a must see for all fans of the older films, and for anyone into campy and freaky found footage films. I honestly hope this is a revival of the Blair Witch franchise and I would love to see more films in the future!
Blair Witch is now available for purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD. Click here to find out where you can buy your desired format!