Lionsgate’s 2016 attempt at a surprise Blair Witch revival didn’t exactly reignite the franchise, but there’s always TV! Reports indicate that the newly-branded Studio L is working on a small-screen iteration of The Blair Witch Project, along with a number of other adaptations.
December is officially upon us, and so is year-end list-making season. We’re kicking things off by looking backwards and forwards: By ranking the finest teasers, trailers, and coming attractions of 2016. To qualify, only the trailer had to be released in this calendar year; you’ll see trailers below for movies that haven’t even been released yet and can’t be judged next to the films they represent. That’s as it should be; beyond their function as pieces of advertising, trailers should stand alone, as bite-sized entertainments and even, in a few rare occasions, as works of art. Here are the ten trailers of 2016 (plus a few honorable mentions) that came closest to that lofty ideal.
Despite new challengers of all genres, budgets and backgrounds, Sully remained number one at the box office this week, fending off the likes of Blair Witch, Bridget Jones’s Baby, and Snowden. In a month not traditionally known for producing many financial juggernauts, Clint Eastwood’s drama has emerged as something of a surprise smash, surpassing most expectations and showing no signs of slowing down quite yet.
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.
Released in 1999, The Blair Witch Project quickly became one of the most profitable independent films of all time. It wasn’t technically the first found footage horror film, but it’s still the most famous of the bunch. Everyone knows the Blair Witch name (and the names Heather, Josh and Mike), but did you know that directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick’s wildly successful horror flick didn’t even have a script? That’s just one of the facts featured in the last episode of You Think You Know Movies!
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.
The Blair Witch Project we know today is 90 minutes of building anxiety that leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat. But what about the other 17 and a half hours of footage that’s long been hidden from fans?