Alas, Blair Witch does not reinvent the found-footage wheel. But perhaps it was unfair for me to ever expect it to. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett’s previous genre-bending work on You’re Next and The Guest primed me to think it would, as did the hot buzz from early screenings. But nothing about the film itself ever made such a promise. The lack of that particular ambition may hold it back from being a masterpiece, but I cannot fairly call it a failing. What Blair Witch actually cares to do, it mostly does well. It has a fine grip on temporal and spatial disorientation, plus a killer sequence involving claustrophobia. But ultimately, the arrangement of scares is too haphazard for a film that really could have benefited from an overarching through line. It flirts with a summary thesis on terror, but it does not quite get there.

I give Blair Witch 3 Witchy Pranks out of 5 Circular Walks.