Intended as both a remake and sequel to the 1999 phenomenon, Adam Wingard’s “Blair Witch” ended up satisfying nobody. In its ‘filmmaking by committee’ approach to the story, the project feels both reductive and redundant – it’s familiar and repetitive to fans of the original, and inconclusive and pointless to those unfamiliar with it. In addition, the film withholds its secrets from the audience in a clear attempt to set up a new franchise, so that ultimately means that there are no revelations or catharses to reward the audience’s patience. It’s particularly frustrating because Wingard is a talented genre filmmaker and has an obvious reverence for the source material, and there are some flashes of genuine terror here and there that make you wish that the team could have figured out a direction to take and stick to it. That being said, lead Callie Hernandez makes for a strong protagonist and her terror in the final reel is palpable, adding an electrifying sense of urgency that is otherwise missing from the rest of the movie, and the few choice glances we get of the titular antagonist are bone chilling, while the whole thing moves rather quickly so you could do a lot worse. There’s just so much wasted potential.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)