Blair Witch **

Drones, witches, and plot retreads oh my! This direct sequel to the surprise hit "The Blair Witch Project," which launched the found footage genre, ups the intensity and gore, but sticks to a very familiar formula.

Is it worth $10? No 

Going with the simplified title of "Blair Witch," a new generation of hapless teens enter the Burketsville Woods to solve the mystery of a few centuries old legends that surround the terrifying area. James Donohue's (James Allen McCune) sister disappeared in 1999 during the original investigation of the haunted woods. After the discovery of a new tape in those same woods, James enlists his documentarian friend, Lisa (Callie Hernandez), long time bud Peter (Brandon Scott), and his girlfriend Ashley (Corbin Reid) to investigate and see if his sister is still alive. He also wants to know what it is that actually lurks in the dark forest. Reality, sanity, and survival all become questioned as the night seems endless, and a familiar cabin beckons them with answers and danger.

The first thing to notice is the use of modern A/V technology, such as drones and GPS ear mounted cameras, to create new and intense viewpoints. The editing in this film, since it is made to look assembled from multiple found footage devices, deserves an award for shear patience. The film starts slow, but once the bizarre woods enact their influence, the pace remains quick. The two young local guides who join the group provide more backstory to the legend, not to mention a creepy local vibe. There are some truly uncomfortable claustrophobic scenes in a tunnel system and unpleasant wound examining that will make you squirm in your seat.

Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett wanted a worthy sequel to the original film (just forget "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" blech!) and succeeds more at creating a modern reboot. While this is not a bad thing, and the sequel does offer a few answers to lingering mysteries, if you saw the first Blair Witch there really isn't enough new material to validate that you must see this. There are still way too many shaky, nausea inducing camera shots, quick-jump scares, and blurry (or just out of the shot) pictures of the unseen horror stalking the campers.

If this is your first trip into the haunted Maryland forest of the Blair Witch, then perhaps you may enjoy the cheap scares and dizzying footage. For those who camped out more than a decade ago with the ill-fated threesome from "The Blair Witch Project," you may be better off roasting some s’mores and catching this one at home.

Cron Job Starts