Like a shock wave it hit in the summer of 1999. “The Blair Witch Project” was the first massive ‘found footage’ film, grossing a quarter of a billion dollars on its miniscule 60,000 budget. It implemented an outright brilliant marketing campaign, that duped thousands of folks into believing that the movie was a true story. And it’s quite possibly the most influential horror film since the dawn of the new century.
But its impact faded fast. Quickly the film’s three stars (Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard) ended up doing interviews, and appeared on talk shows–so the cat was completely out of the bag. The following year, the higher budgeted sequel “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” arrived. It did respectable box office, but was savaged by the critics. A planned 3rd film was scrapped. Until now.
As far as I can tell, original creators Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez have nothing to do with this reboot. And apparently, very few saw this third installment coming, because it was quite hush-hush, and was being called “The Woods” ahead of its release, for stealth reasons. But when it premiered just days ago at San Diego Comic-Con…social media and the internet exploded. I confess to be somewhat excited myself.
I have so many questions ahead of the wide opening of “Blair Witch”, scheduled for September 16th. Can this premise work again, after more than a decade-and-a-half? Apparently focusing on the brother of the “Heather” character from the first movie, will the endlessly parodied Heather Donahue make a cameo appearance of any kind? Will director Adam Wingard, and screenwriter Simon Barrett, succeed in finding a way to tap into the mojo of the 1999 version, while also updating this franchise for a new generation? Early signs are pointing to yes. But, if not, we can always make the filmmakers stand facing the corner. And all “Blair Witch” enthusiasts realize just how frightening that prospect can be! James Allen McCune, Valorie Curry, and Callie Hernandez star.