Back to Burkittsville!  Blair Witch is a found-footage sequel to what could be the most successful found footage horror movie of all time, The Blair Witch Project.  This movie follows very closely in the original movie's footsteps (ignoring Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows), sometimes to its detriment.

The movie opens by saying it's put together from found footage.  James (James Allen McCune) is the brother of the Heather who vanished in the original film, and some recently discovered footage makes him think she could still be alive.  Lisa (Callie Hernandez) is working on a documentary project for school, so she decides to accompany James back to the Black Hills Woods in Burkittsville, Maryland to try and find Heather -- or the building where she vanished.  And their friends Peter (Brandon Scott) and Ashley (Corbin Reid) tag along, for reasons never made clear.
The friends apparently raided Best Buy, because they're fully stocked with gear: all sorts of flashlights, walkie talkies with GPS tracking, earpieces that film, personal flashlights, and even a drone.  They meet up with Lane (Wes Robinson) and Talia (Valorie Curry), two weird locals who insist on camping with the friend in the woods and who share stories about the Blair Witch.  It's then into the woods, for camping and searching.  Before long night falls, those familiar stick figures show up, and we get a whole lot of first-person shots of people running at night.
The original movie was a masterpiece of economy, creating its own mythology and giving scares with no stars, special effects, or soundtrack.  Blair Witch has a similar format but doesn't deliver nearly as well.  Having numerous cameras means we get lots of different shots from different angles, which feels like a "regular" movie.  The mysterious sounds in the woods sound like the Blair Witch has a bulldozer instead of just trying to spook the hapless campers.  The characters are all paper thin.  And while there's some creepy claustrophobia near the end, the finale feels far too much like it's taken from the original film (with "characters constantly running in the woods" replaced with "characters constantly running in a decrepit building").  I'd pass on Blair Witch.

Overall grade: C-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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