Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett have collaborated on several projects together, including recent genre favorites You’re Next and The Guest, in which they subversively repurposed familiar tropes in new and original ways — which is what makes their decision to create a sequel to The Blair Witch Project kind of surprising. A solid follow-up to the 1999 found footage classic, Blair Witch offers recognizable beats with bigger, more frightening (and louder) scares, and a third act that features a pretty clever twist. Ahead of the film’s release, we had a chance to speak with Wingard about the challenges of making a sequel to one of the most beloved horror films, the evolution of found footage and that crazy, mind-bending ending.
Let’s give the Blair Witch some credit: She may be a vengeful demon from the 17th century who likes to torture documentary filmmakers and camping enthusiasts, but as monstrous hell-beasts go, she’s pretty tech-savvy. Back in the olden days of 1999 when the first Blair With Project came out, cell phones and GPS barely existed; tricking unsuspecting college kids into getting lost in the backwoods of Maryland was a relative snap. This new generation of victims come equipped with all kinds of gadgets: GoPros and cell phones and drones capable of surveilling dozens of miles of land — all of which might help these truth seekers make their way back to civilization. The witch disables them all; draining the batteries from their surveillance equipment, blocking the signals from their global positioning systems, and crashing their drone in a tree. Mercifully, she doesn’t deactivate any of the cameras they’re wearing, so we can see her incessant torture of these poor unfortunate souls.
It’s back to the woods we go in the newest trailer for ‘Blair Witch,’ the surprise sequel to The Blair Witch Project that had one of the coolest reveals in recent memory. Marketed as simply ‘The Woods,’ the film had an early screening at San Diego Comic Con, at which the real title and connection to the original film was announced. When the audience exited the theater after it was over, they saw that during the screening the big poster advertising ‘The Woods’ had been swapped for a ‘Blair Witch’ poster.
2016 has been the year of pop culture surprise releases — some, like Lemonade and 10 Cloverfield Lane, have been pretty great, which makes us even more hopeful for Blair Witch. Originally marketed as The Woods, the sneaky sequel to the found footage horror classic is set to hit theaters next month, taking audiences back to where it all began…but judging by these new TV spots, heading back into the woods of Burkittsville seems like a pretty terrible idea (in a good, spooky way, of course).
We may be in the midst of the worst summer for movies in years, but the coming fall festival season is looking to make up for it.
When is a movie not a movie? When it’s actually a secret sequel (a legacyquel, really) to another movie.
The official synopsis for The Woods on YouTube says simply that it is “one of the scariest movies in decades. The Woods reinvents horror with a completely fresh and terrifying take on the genre.” Well, jeez. No pressure or nothing. Just be the scariest thing anyone has seen in years and completely reinvent one of the most formulaic genres in movies. Piece of cake!
Even more eyebrow-raising news from Warner Bros. following reports that the studio is looking to decrease the number of films they release each year: Death Note, the forthcoming adaptation of the hit Japanese manga, is moving over to Netflix, as the streaming service is in late-stage negotiations to take the project off of WB’s hands.
After delivering two great genre features back to back with the subversive horror flick You’re Next and throwback thriller The Guest, director Adam Wingard definitely has our full attention, regardless of what he does next. His new project is Death Note, based on the popular Japanese manga, with The Leftovers star Margaret Qualley now in talks to join the cast of the U.S. adaptation.
With James Wan not returning to direct the next installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Furious 8 is in desperate need of someone to sit behind the camera before Vin Diesel decides to just do the job himself. But it looks like Universal has narrowed their options down to just a few directors, each of them interesting choices in their own right.