Just when you thought it was safe to hike in the woods and make a documentary… Lionsgate continues their creepy SteelBook upgrades with The Blair Witch Project and the sequel Blair Witch. Sadly Blair Witch 2 Book of Shadows wasn’t included. The discs are the same as previously issued with respectable A/V so the appeal is to add both flicks to the collection with stylish SteelBook packaging. For Fans Only
It might not have hit the horror chills for everyone, but I loved The Blair Witch Project. Growing up in the woods of rural Michigan, it’s a true terror to lose your way and not know how you’ll get home. Seeing that low-budget found-footage documentary in a dark room for a 2 a.m. tech screening at the theater I worked at was a really terrifying treat. I was pinned to my seat while some of my other coworkers were howling at it. It’s a film that doesn’t work for everyone, but it leaves one hell of a legacy for movie marketing.
Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows (which sadly wasn’t included in this set) was a cheap cash-grab with an impressive cast of up-and-coming actors that felt more like a lost episode of Scooby-Doo than a proper Blair Witch sequel. Then came 2016’s actual Blair Witch which aimed to scare a new generation of film fans lost in the woods. It’s an okay film, not the worst attempt at revitalizing a dormant franchise, it just didn’t really go anywhere too terribly frightening. A little too much familiarity gave way to the feeling of "more-of-the-same" but slightly different.
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Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Lionsgate repurposes their best assets for a new line of retro-horror-themed Walmart-exclusive Blu-ray SteelBooks. The discs are the same discs supplied for The Blair Witch Project and Blair Witch from 2010 and 2017 respectively - however, for my set, the new custom disc art was swapped. My Blair Witch disc is actually The Blair Witch Project and vice versa. Each disc gets its own tray to rest on without being stacked. Also included is a single-code digital slip offering up both films in HD.
The Blair Witch Project was never a great-looking film since it was shot by amateurs lost in the woods who barely knew how to run their cameras. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t look better than it does. Overdue for a new scan and some restoration TLC, this current disc is watchable but it isn’t much to write home about. Blair Witch was also a fine transfer given the upgrade to digital cameras, but the differences from the head-mounted units to proper DSLRs is notable. Like the first film, it offers a varying viewing experience depending on equipment used so it’s not exactly a looker.
In keeping with what we saw for the video, we see the same meager DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix for The Blair Witch Project while Blair Witch picks up a terrific Dolby Atmos audio track that still holds up today. It’s almost funny to watch these films side-by-side today, considering how drastically different they look and sound.
Likewise, for the bonus features, everything’s a repeat from before.
The Blair Witch Project
As one of those people who didn’t buy these discs originally when they hit the marketplace, I’m glad to finally own them with a really slick-looking SteelBook. I’ve always had a soft spot for the first film and the 2016 sequel isn’t half bad. With that, I wish Lionsgate had mustered up some gumption to pop the overly silly sequel, Blair Witch 2 on Blu-ray for this set. Then the franchise would have actually felt “complete” considering all of the other SteelBooks in this batch of Walmart-exclusives have every entry. So it goes. I dig the SteelBook art and adding both films to the collection felt worth it, but I’d love to see Lionsgate go back and give the first film some extra care and attention.
For Fans Only