Knowing full well it’s gotten even harder to get lost in America since Blair Witch Project, Adam Wingard and his writing partner Simon Barrett approach Blair Witch 3 with more technology and a sprinting pace. Blair Witch‘s new victims–led by James (the little brother of Blair Witch Project‘s Heather) and his film student would-be girlfriend Lisa, looking for answers to a two-decade old mystery–are even more confident, thanks to GPS and a prep plan which includes total coverage. Handhelds, earpiece cameras, mounted webcams, even a drone, split between the six explorers as they head into the woods.
All their technology is matched by a supernatural presence which has grown stronger, more primal, more quick to let her prey know just how fucked they are. In between reciting lore, a pair of locals tagging along describe how their hometown has gone silent about the Witch in recent years, leaving her alone to master her domain. Besides the return of that confounding snow globe effect–where the group will wander for hours in a single direction, just to return to where they started–the Witch now seems capable of knocking down trees, blasting mysterious lights in the night, and corrupting DV footage. Time itself seems to bend: characters will depart, then return hours later with a beard and covered in a week’s worth of grime. Even in the objective light of multiple cameras, reality breaks down. Guttural booms, unheard whispers, and fleeting visions shaped by tormented, individual perception–Wingard and Barrett roping in a few stray ideas from abortive sequel Book of Shadows to power a funhouse pass at the original’s structure. The implication is clear the Witch, more than some thing which haunts the woods, is a force tied to the land, ready to spread its malevolence outward.