In 1999 a new genre of a horror movie made its entrance starting with The Blair Witch Project. Its prime marketing scheme selling it as a found footage inspired many movies ever since, and now it’s back.
*** minimal spoilers ***
Burkittsville Maryland Home of the Blair Witch
The Blair Witch is back with a vengeance but!
It is important to note that the town of Burkittsville in the American State of Maryland is real, but it is not where the movie happens when filmed. After the release of The Blair Witch Project in 1999, many fans harassed people from the village of 200 inhabitants to find the forest and more about the legend.
The town is real, therefore, be kind and do not cause trouble. The Blair Witch legend is entirely made up for the purpose of the movie.
The marketing was a remarkable innovation in its time but ended up causing much confusion around Maryland. However, the writers and people working on the movie did not wish for the dwellers of the small town founded in 1824 to be victims of vandalism and an overload of people looking for a witch.
We at Gothic Bite Magazine, ask that our readers and followers act civilized if wanting to visit the town of Burkittsville. Thank you for your understanding.
Blair Witch Official Summary
After unearthing a DV tape containing intriguing raw footage in Burkittsville’s Black Hills Forest, Lane and Talia upload the video on YouTube.
Then, James stumbles upon the video, and—believing that he saw an image of his missing sister, Heather, who disappeared in 1994 in the same woods while investigating the legend of the Blair Witch—he assembles a team of friends in search of answers. — Nick Riganas, IMDb
The Building Of A Myth
Before the release of The Blair Witch Project, a myth surrounding the Blair Witch became crucial to the credibility of the movie. To make it seem real, the back-story of the witch comes out as a fictional historical story in the latter years of the witch trials.
While in the original movie, we have an overview of the witch’s life, in this particular movie, we dig deeper into the legend. In the 1700s, after the cruel sentence given to the witch, the Blair Town received another name, Burkittsville.
The witch’s name was Elly Kedward. She received a sentence due to the lack of witch trials in Blair. Several children vanished, some accusing Elly Kedward of taking their blood, was enough to exile her from Blair. Her appearance has her covered in black fur hidden by a wool shawl with elongated limbs.
One of the beliefs of Kedward’s death was her hanging tied with stones on each limb, pulling her body down by gravity. The town forgot about her for the winter only to return in the spring to find her body missing.
However, half the city disappeared, leaving no trace behind. The remaining dwellers feared it was a curse and fled the town. It was now decided not to speak of Elly Kedward again. The Blair Witch is back with a vengeance and no one doubted it.
Heather Is Still Alive On YouTube
As part of the trio from the original movie The Blair Witch Project, Heather Donahue, the leader of the search in the woods surfaces. Her younger brother, James, comes across the video showing his sister fleeing who was after her. It is enough for him to arrange a searching party with his friends.
He knows there were many search parties to find Heather, Josh, and Michael. While the footage clearly shows a house in Black Hills Forest, no one ever found a home, and the case closed, declaring all three students dead.
James Donahue, along with Lisa Arlington and his best friend Peter, along with his girlfriend Ashley, accompanies him in his adventure to find his sister. To do so, he contacted the man, Lane, who found the footage so he could show them where he discovered the DV tape.
The Curse of the Blair Witch
The movie shows the same type of filming, as the original only the quality is superior. The group of friends goes in their excursion with fully equipped with Bluetooth pro-cameras, drones, integrated GPS, and the latest technology.
The difference this time is that the group of friends rely on the Goth couple to guide them through the forest. They claimed to be from the area and know the forest by heart, as well as its legends and myths. Peter and Ashley, even James, don’t believe in the paranormal as much as Lane and Talia.
We can sense something is quite off with the Goth couple, which I find a bit too predictable. It gives a bad reputation to Goth people because of the nourishing of the stereotype.
Aside from it, the first signs of the Blair Witch present in the forest are, of course, due to the presence of the Goth couple that wishes to make it real.
Once crossing to the Black Hills Forest, a sign says “No Trespassing,” but Lane and Talia assure them that no one cares about it any longer because no one goes into the forest.
The symbol of the Blair Witch, the piles of rocks, noises, all of it reminds the viewer of the original 1999 movie. Finally, the Blair Witch is back with a vengeance!
Burn The Witch
She fled the first annual Wheat Harvest Picnic held in the renamed town, Burkittsville. She drowned in front of eleven people who saw her pulled in the water, and no one could save her.
The extensive background surrounding the Blair Witch is absolutely incredible. The usage of the fictional myth is absolutely impeccable and adds to the ever-growing legend surrounding the franchise.
The expectation of noise building and missing people grow as the movie advance in its story to find Heather. The nights grow longer, and the forest is quite dense, we hear a substantial and loud noise like trees are falling and animals are tortured fighting for their lives.
While Ashley fights her cut and her boyfriend goes to pick up branches to feed the fire, we know the witch is at work, and the closer they get to Coffin Rock, something is about to happen.
The Witch Curse Starts Over Again
Loss of time, GPS non-functional, the drone stuck at the top of a tree, walking in a circle, sounds familiar? Yes, we are entering the realm of the Blair Witch.
Lots of jump scare, perfectly placed and believable due to the constant forest noise, walkie talkies not entirely reliable, and anxiety building in each member of the team.
After the lies of the Goth couple, the team doesn’t wish to have them around. But when James and Talia spot them in the bushes, their claim to be prisoners of the woods.
The Goth couple explains they were stuck for five or six days. It has James and Talia confused and rethinks the length of nights.
Hysteria settles in, and despite the will of the team to leave the forest, it is out of their power because they keep running in circles. They are prisoners of the Black Hills Forest.
History repeats itself, and we are loving it. Now, one team member is missing…memories are surfacing. Viewers can’t be happier, the Blair Witch is back with a vengeance!
Lost At Last
The team, or more precisely who is left, now finds themselves surrounded by all mixed sized of the Blair Witch emblem and piles of rocks.
The sunlight never shows, and panic is definitely settled, reminding all those left that their fate is not looking good.
The two reactions to fear are simple fight or flight. Well, everyone decides to flee and run from the Blair Witch familiar and recognizable emblems. James and Lisa together, trying to catch up with Ashley but get separated, are the three-team members left.
The rain is pouring, and we are running with James and Lisa going toward who knows what. We see the house is about to appear. It’s inevitable. People disappeared already, it’s only a matter of time. Because after all, the Blair Witch is back with a vengeance.
The House That Built The Legendary Witch
Finally, James and Lisa find the house that no one could ever find when searching for the original trio. The house stands but looks abandoned. It has all that we remember, walls crumbling down, doors and narrow passageways, stairs to go up, and ones to go down.
The marks of the hands on the wall, symbols, and words written on them add to the memory of The Blair Witch Project.
As a result, this time, we see shadows or people, ones facing corners, a girl running in zigzag that has James believe she’s his sister. Whether we believe them to be hallucinations or people or ghosts, we see them through the cameras and know how it has to end.
The rain and thunderstorm add to the ambiance of the movie, and it is remarkable that as a sequel—I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the The Book of Shadows. We can feel and relive the most intense part of the movie from twenty-one years ago.
The Blair Witch Is Still A Mystery
My personal thoughts on the movie are an overall good entertaining experience. As far as a sequel goes, it is a good attempt, and I don’t regret watching it. The only wish I had was to keep this possibility that instead of the Blair Witch as the villain, we keep hysteria as a possibility.
We are used to a comfortable nurturing life with a house, technology, electricity, manners of going from Point A to Point B. In the density of a healthy untouched forest where anything can happen if one thing goes wrong?
It is not far-fetched to believe one can go hysteric, grow paranoia, becomes victims of his or her own thoughts, or lose control.
What I cherished from the first movie was how the possibility of the falling trio victim of the overwhelming story of the Blair Witch had the best of them. They committed those acts themselves because they lost to the woods, and all they could easily recall was the Blair Witch’s story.
It could be the ghost or the curse of the Blair Witch, but it could also be them who did it to themselves. Sometimes a mysterious ending can be the best of ends. Now watch it, it’s not everyday that the Blair Witch is back with a vengeance.
My score is 7.6/10.