No amount of technology can save unlucky teens lost in the woods in this updated sequel to the box office smash seventeen years later. The characters have drones, headset cameras, and GPS, but still, they wind up in a terrifying situation with no escape. This movie serves as more of a direct sequel to the original film as James (James Allen McCune) is the brother of Heather, the woman from the original, and is under the impression that she is still out there when he sees a spooky image reflected in the mirror of footage sent to him by a strange local named Lane (Wes Robinson) who is strangely obsessed with the odd occurrences in the woods. On a side note, this film originally appeared as The Woods until it was revealed at Comic-Con that it was, in fact, a sequel, an advertising tactic I found interesting.
James decides to bring along his documentarian friend Lisa (Callie Hernandez) and his childhood friend Peter (Brandon Scott) who also brings along his drone operating girlfriend Ashley (Corbin Reid). They meet up with Lane and his purple-haired girlfriend Talia (Valorie Curry) and the two locals want to tag along unnerving the crew. They decide to let the locals come with them and they head out into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland.
One thing about found footage that is never explained is the editing that has all the different cameras cutting from one to another in perfect sync but with a little suspension of disbelief, this can be forgotten. Director Adam Wingard does a good job bringing the terror to the script written by Simon Barrett as they have worked together before on other horror projects. The movie is terrifying moving a bit faster than the original and creating a new sense of horror that doesn't feel stale or like a simple rehash of the same premise.
The movie adds new twists that do not let viewers catch their breath and provide no relief for the terrified audience. The film does not operate with the slow dread of the original but gets quickly to the horror. There is no shortage of cliche dumb decisions by characters that is found in nearly every horror movie, bu the situation is so undeniably terrible, it is hard to say what anyone would do in these woods.
The movie shows a bit more of whatever terrible thing stalks the young filmmakers but still leaves enough mystery to walk out of the theater breathless and confused. The camera movement can be nauseating to some but also adds to the dread of movie-goers. I enjoyed the film a lot and would recommend it to horror fans, especially those who enjoy found footage, but would caution against any fans who suffer from motion sickness. This horror had me squirming with a creepy old lady witch to seal the deal for me.