Blair Witch: Recycling Hollywood’s successes or explosive remake?

The other day I was walking down the road and I saw a poster for ‘Blair Witch’ on the side of a bus. I was shocked, I was definitely sure it was 2016 and not back in the 90’s. Despite my first thought being, “Oh god, another remake” I was also excited. The Blair Witch project amplified Viral Marketing and found footage film and both of those things I absolutely love. I’m also a fan of the original Blair Witch project for it’s ability to spark tension and fear in the audience using minimal sound and very little effects, despite hardly showing anything. The old film used ‘missing posters’ for the protagonists in the film as marketing to make it seem like it was all real, the characters all having the same names as the actors- something which was recycled in 2007’s ‘Paranormal Activity’. But this film has been hidden for years, nobody hearing of it until two weeks before it’s release date.

Produced by Lionsgate, written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard, ‘Blair Witch’ is a sequel to 1999’s ‘The Blair Witch Project’. The story follows a group of college students as they enter the Black Hills Forest in Maryland (the same forest from the first film) to try and uncover the disappearance of character James’ sister (believed to be Heather from the first film) who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch.

Despite there having already been a sequel to the Blair Witch Project (2000’s Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows) this is a film that within two weeks, has got the western film world very excited. For the previews, a sample of people were taken to the cinema under the impression that were seeing a film called ‘The Woods’- a film many people knew was coming out this year. However, as they watched the film and caught all the references and intertextuality it was obvious- this was not a film about ‘The Woods’ this was a sequel to Blair Witch. And as the credits rolled onto the screen, the lights were lifted up and all around the Cinema were ‘Blair Witch’ posters just as the real title rolled onto the black screen. Wingard stated in an interview that he did this so many people wouldn’t question the film as another remake. He wanted an audience to see there was more depth and more story to this film than ever before in a Hollywood sequel or remake. It’s a bit deceiving, but cinemaphiles everywhere are excited.

The Blair Witch comes out in Cinema’s September 16th.



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