The Blair Witch Project begins with a title card explaining that a documentary crew went missing in the woods, and their tapes were found and compiled together into the movie you're about to watch. A similar title card is presented at the start of this movie, and from there, we have our film. When James (James Allen McCune) was younger, his sister, who was the protagonist in the original film, went missing. Ever since then, he's been convinced that she's still alive, and so, he becomes the subject of a school documentary project his friend Lisa (Callie Hernandez) is making. The two of them, along with the help of their friends Ashley (Corbin Reid) and Peter (Brandon Scott), go out into the woods to search for her, but they soon discover that the stories of the Blair Witch may actually be a little more than just stories.
The premise of having a group of characters camping out in a haunted woods is nothing we haven't seen before. It's the same old story that's been done to death, and to varying degrees of terror. I try to be lenient when it comes to horror plots, as the genre of horror isn't all that diverse and the range of plots to draw from is rather slim, but when a film is repetitively falling for every single horror trope, then it gets under my nerve. Let's look at The Conjuring films, for example. Both of those films have very unoriginal, familiar premises, yet they manage to avoid the tropes and bring in a shit tonne of scares. Blair Witch does none of that.
I walk home after a lot of the movies I see, and with horror films this always tends to be in the dark, as I think I mentioned in a review earlier this year. If I can safely walk home alone in the dark after watching a horror film, then it didn't have an effect on me. It clearly didn't stick around in my heads afterwards, clogging my mind like many other horror films have. Walking home from Blair Witch was a peaceful experience, featuring absolutely zero terror throughout. I'm not awfully fond of being alone in the dark, but after watching Blair Witch, I was honestly fine. It had no effect on me. It just wasn't scary enough.
On top of that, the writing was not fantastic, either. Written by Simon Barrett, Wingard's frequent collaborator, the characters are mindlessly idiotic. During the first act, they honestly came across as smart, interesting individuals, and while James was the only character that was given any sort of depth, I was happy to spend time with them. Then the plot starts to kick in, the 'scares' begin, and that's when their idiocy started to come through. They were consistently making stupid decisions, doing exactly what they said they weren't going to do earlier on in the film.
To sum up, Blair Witch lacks suspense and interesting characters, and the plot feels way too familiar to work, but there's also plenty of interesting and original ideas presented, and the grotesque imagery is extremely effective. It's not a great film, and I don't recommend seeking it out, but you won't be bored out of your mind watching it either.