20 years later, the Blair Witch is still scaring the **** out of me

In 1999 The Blair Witch Project was released in cinemas and
immediately became a cult horror classic, causing film goers to
vomit and creating an urban myth that still lives on today. 

I vividly remember the first time I watched The Blair Witch
Project, years after its original release. I must have been about
16 at the time and full of that cocky teenage confidence that teens
tend to ooze when it comes to horror films. How wrong I was. 

I have never been as unsettled by a scene as I was when those
camera-wielding campers wandered into that witch’s house, with its
devil scratchings and wooden stick men. 

It’s now 20 years later and I am revisiting that house once
more, but this time in the Blair Witch game. It’s me who is in
control of the camcorder – and it is horrific. 

Where’s the dog gone?

Blair Witch

I feel like it’s worth mentioning at this point that I do not
like horror games. Not that I don’t appreciate them, and as
TechRadar’s dedicated gaming writer it is my duty to dabble in all
games. That being said, I feel like if I wanted my heart to beat
out of my chest then I would rather rig myself up to a
defibrillator instead. 

So when I agreed to play the upcoming Blair Witch at
Gamescom 2019
, I hadn’t really taken the logistics into
account. It’s only when I stepped into the infamous woods, that the
reality of the situation set in. This wasn’t going to be a
leisurely walk in the forest.

Bloober Team’s Blair Witch isn’t a game adaption of the films
– rather it is a game with a new story inspired by the film lore.
You play as Ellis, a cop who (accompanied by his K9 dog pal Bullet)
is searching the woods for a young boy who has gone missing. But
it’s those woods and the witch isn’t going to make it easy for
you. 

Perhaps the most stressful part of Blair Witch is that it isn’t
a combat game. Instead, Bullet will alert you to the presence of
something evil either through barking or growling. The only way to
fend off the evil that creeps up on you is by shining your
flashlight (or camcorder light) at them. But the minute that dog
barked, my stomach sank.

As much as I hated Bullet’s growl, it was preferably to no
Bullet at all. At several points our canine companion disappeared,
resulting in a resounding screech of “where’s the dog?!” to no one
in particular. There was one particular point where I was exploring
some caverns below a tree and suddenly got a nauseous feeling when
the flashlight went out and the witch started whispering in my ear.
Maybe the growing wasn’t so bad?

The house from hell

Blair Witch

I played five chapters of Blair Witch during the demo, each from
a particular section of the game. But the final one is where I lost
what little dignity I had: when I returned to the house that
terrified me as a teen. The house that sees stick man etchings
covering the walls and where baseballs randomly roll down the
stairs. 

I remind you at this point. No combat. None. Bullet is gone and
I am armed with a camcorder that I’m forced to look through to find
hidden features which look a lot like blood smears. I’ve got to get
through the house, with its tight corridors and hidden blood
trails: I’m being forced to search which means looking at the
screen (something I had been pretty lax about until now).

At one point an entity of some sort jumped out from behind a
door and I jumped so high that my headset fell off and the
journalist to my right recoiled in horror. “I only need to get
through this last chapter,” I muttered to myself as I proceeded
with one eye open and the other closed – my bulletproof tactic
for horror games. Or it was, until the German journalist to my left
caught on to my tactic and proceeded to laugh at my cowardliness
(he later ratted on me to the PR… snitch). 

Something wicked

Blair Witch

Essentially, Blair Witch relies on the same horror that the
films do. Rather than focusing on gore and visual horror, the
developers focus on what you don’t see. Which is actually more
terrifying. 

Throw in some jump scares, a detail-rich environment and you
have a solid horror game with a niche 90s spin. However, there are
definitely aspects of Blair Witch that could use some polishing as
sometimes the real horror was how Bullet could walk through
trees…

Source: FS – All Tech News 2
20 years later, the Blair Witch is still scaring the **** out of me