Blair Witch is one of the most successful independently developed movies of its era, and for some, the birthplace of found-footage horror. There’s rarely a better premise for a horror experience and with the critically acclaimed Layers of Fear behind them, as developers Bloober Team has everything they need to make another huge horror hit.
Taking on a franchise that hit its peak in the late 90s may feel a little strange to some, but the 1999 release of the The Blair Witch Project movie quickly became a cult classic, one still discussed when throwing in names for the best found-footage horror movies of today. It did spew a sequel and the more recent release of Blair Witch…but we don’t talk about those.
Blair Witch Review
Blair Witch takes place in 1999, in the forest of the Black Hills in Burkittsville, Maryland. The events of the game take place two years after the events of the original movie, following another disappearance of a young child in the area. Nine year old Peter Shannon has gone missing near the forest, prompting a large-scale search from local authorities. You take on the role of Ellis, a former soldier and police officer coming to join the search, traveling with his trusted canine companion Bullet.
In true horror movie fashion, Blair Witch warms and welcomes you with its initial visuals. A beautiful, brightly lit forest teeming with character and charm, that doesn’t last all that long. Before you know it, you’re running from supernatural forces, battling with inner demons, and fighting to survive in an environment where physics, logic, and time no longer seem to matter.
Something I was not expecting with Blair Witch was the depth of the main character. Donning the Blair Witch name, I expected much of the game to be about the lore and hideous stories surrounding the infamous legend. While some of that is true, the real stars of this adventure are Ellis and Bullet.
A quick word on Bullet, Ellis’s canine friend. I had two problems regarding Bullet’s pathing throughout the entire game. However, outside of that, he’s a fantastic storytelling tool. You’re never bogged down trying to protect him and there’s no frustrating escort mechanic; Bullet can look after himself. He’s also completely vital for your survival, so keep him close, and be prepared to freak out like crazy if he runs off.
Throughout the game, Ellis is fighting on several fronts. His desire to find the lost child, fueled by a live fire incident during his time as a police officer, is quickly overshadowed by a far more realistic threat: his battle with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). As the game progresses you’re introduced to Ellis’ difficult past, a tragic event as a member of the armed forces combined with his issues as a member of law enforcement are often meant to take a back seat to the supernatural terrors of the Blair Witch. Honestly, they are far more terrifying than anything supernatural.
I felt as though I was playing two horror stories spliced into one. Ellis’s personality, his issues, and his personal battles were far more intriguing and at times far more terrifying than anything a spooky witch in a house could conjure. It’s difficult to …