- I loved the Blair Witch Project when it came out. It was truly scary to me and that last scene in the house, with the kid hand prints and the guy standing in the corner.... that has influenced me in so many ways. This was a long time ago and still to this day I think about that scene and my imagination goes wild. So now with this movie it expands on that scene and tells more of the story. I am giddy in anticipation of this movie. J
The marketing switcheroo happened at a screening Friday night at Comic-Con for the newly retitled Blair Witch (in theaters Sept. 16), the latest from the filmmaking team of director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest).
Going back to the found-footage roots of the original 1999 film, Blair Witch features a new group of college kids going into the legendarily creepy Black Hills Forest in Burkittsville, Md. James (James Allen McCune) thinks he sees his sister — who disappeared in that first doomed mission into the woods — in a YouTube video and gathers friends to go back to the spooky house and see if she’s OK.
Some familiar eerie wooden totems start showing up, and things go awry quickly.
“We wanted an experience like a haunted hayride through the Blair Witch woods,” Wingard said in a post-screening discussion.
Valorie Curry in the horror film 'Blair Witch.' (Photo: Chris Helcermanas-Benge)
He found Blair Witch the most difficult film he’s ever directed, partly because of the necessity of hiding its true identity from everyone at Lionsgate and even from the actors before they were officially cast.
“It was almost like a Star Wars-level secrecy process,” said producer Keith Calder.
During casting and before the film’s 34-day shoot in Vancouver, none of the actors knew the real nature of the project, Barrett said. “I think they just thought they were auditioning for the worst Blair Witch ripoff ever."
Wingard and Barrett both were big fans of the original; Wingard saw it six times in the theater. “Adam and I didn’t know it wasn’t real,” Barrett joked. But the 2000 sequel Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 “never got back there” in building on the mythology, Wingard said.
So that’s what the new film focuses on while also being different: For example, Barrett plays with the concept of temporal reality in some key sequences, yet the iconic basement of the old house in Blair Witch is completely accurate to the original. (They did take liberties in creating the rest of the place.)
It felt like it was about time for a Blair Witch sequel, Barrett said. “We just didn’t want anyone else to do it. We’re the guys.”