My brother and I never had much in common. Even when we liked the same things we liked them for entirely different reasons. he was rarely intellectually curious and didn’t like to read. In a lot of ways I felt like he was my complete opposite.
But one day he came over and wanted to tell me about this weird thing he found. It was a movie that might be real, and there was all sorts f evidence on the internet that said it was real and a bunch that said it wasn’t. It was called the Blair Witch Project and he was fascinated by it.
I too liked the Blair Witch Project. I liked the mystery and I loved the attempt to create an authentic artifact of a fictional horror movie. I wasn’t as enamored of the internet clues and ambiguity of whether it was real or not like my brother, but I related to his thirst for answers. As a kid that grew up with In Search Of, UFO books and Bigfoot sightings, I understood my brother’s passion. On this one subject, I felt like me and him were alike.
So when Blair Witch came out, there was no doubt that I would see it. I saw it because I am a fan of the original but I also saw it for him since he passed away a few years ago. I wanted to see if he would have liked it.
I think he would. The new movie is good. A video is uploaded to the internet that maybe shows one of the characters from the first movie. The character’s brother gets a group together to go into the woods to see if his sister is still there. Creepy things happen. The stick figure art installations are back. Strange sounds haunt the group. They get fucking lost. They find the house. Things get terribly, inevitably worse.
My brother knew a lot of the fan theories about the first movie. There was a theory on time travel that my brother loved that I thought was unlikely. No spoilers but time becomes a big part of the story and I smiled because my brother would have felt so redeemed to see his theory validated.
My wife and I saw the movie on a Thursday afternoon in an empty theater. At first it was great because we could make jokes without fear of annoying anyone. As the horror escalated though, that big empty theater became less friendly. Shadows moved in the corner of my eyes. My wife got closer and closer to me. Near the end, my heart was thumping and I was genuinely scared in that delicious rare way that you get from haunted fun houses. Even though the movies follows most of the beats of the first film, the inevitability becomes part of the terror and despair. You know what is going to happen because you have seen it before but it is innovative and interesting enough that the familiarity doesn’t become boring.