[intro-text size=”25px”]In the future, entertainment reviews will be a mandated requirement for all humans, filed much like present day taxes. For expediency and maximum immersion, stories will be streamlined directly into the brain, infusing reality with finely crafted cinematic simulations- “cims”. At a classified laboratory in Cleveland, they’ve already begun testing… on me. These are my reports, code named: Total Review.[/intro-text]
– CIM #1016 – “Blair Witch” – 89 mins. – release: September 16th, 2016 –
After being retrofit with the latest prototype motion technology, I take the new tech for walk through the woods behind the lab. A few clicks in, I find a portable cim unit on the stump of a fallen tree. Creepy? Sure. Contrived? Perhaps, but I jack into the headset anyway because its Blair Witch, the second sequel to the mother of all indie horror shaky-cams, The Blair Witch Project. In 1999, we couldn’t tell if the “found” footage (or the witch) was real or not. After seventeen years of routine self-afflicted terror-vision, I’ve seen a dozen knock-offs and learned assuredly that none of it is real. Right?
The cim starts and I feel a powerful but stagnant force charging through my limbs. In a state of perpetual growth, I am the Burkittsville woods. I feel every movement in my roots, hear every whisper in the wind. My days are peaceful and placid, but don’t be fooled; scary things occur in the solace of darkness, because I never speak of the night. I’ve witnessed forgotten bodies turn to soil. Creatures lurk in shadows. Evil blossoms and blooms. Seriously spooky shit happens, only when you aren’t looking.
Even though I’ve watched countless groups of hapless tourists enter my leafy halls, its always entertaining when the newbs show up, and typically they’re after my most famed and fabled occupant, the Blair Witch. No one has ever proven the existence of this legendary wicked hag, but rumor has it in the 1800’s, she was drawn and quartered from the trees, and through dark witchery accrued magic powers that… can really fuck up your day. Back in the 90s, a crew of students named Mike, Josh, and Heather documented their hunt for the witch. They were never seen again- but their footage was.
About fifteen years have passed since then, and now Heather’s brother James has seen a new video that gives him the impression Heather is still alive inside a house hidden deep within my maze of trees. Apparently James’ quest to find his missing sister is a perfect topic for Lisa’s documentary class project, so they invite their friends Ashley and Peter to join, equip themselves with top of the line recording equipment, and venture off into my notoriously haunted domain This is almost too familiar of a situation, except fortunately these millennials are gifted with the ability to hold a camera steady.
Together with a pair of locals who know exactly where to start the search, the team makes camp. What transpires next is a series of inexplicable, threatening incidents, twisting the rules of nature with horrifying consequences. Now before I label James’ and company as “doomed”… actually, screw it. They’re probably doomed. But the glory of the treetop balcony is people watching, as mind-breaking paranoia sinks in, madness takes hold, and the Blair Witch has a good old time with our unhappy glampers. As they’re pushed deeper into a living hell, the cameras and I see every horror that unfolds.
When the cim ended I skirted out of the woods and didn’t look back. Blair Witch wasn’t terrifying, but had a few solid jump scares and other surprises. It was a cleaner, more palatable follow-up to the dizzying Blair Witch Project, ignoring the insanity of Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. The overused tropes felt appropriately nostalgic in retrospect, having stemmed from the original Project, and perhaps the best aspect is that director Adam Wingard injected new life into the near dead Blair Witch series, officially marking the witch as a great modern horror villain. Go find the footage and see for yourself.