So Adam Wingard, what have you been up to down in the woods today? The director of You're Next and The Guest has finally put his cards on the table. His movie The Woods is now officially titled Blair Witch and IS a sequel to the original 1999 found footage horror.
The trailer takes us straight back into what looks like psycho hermit Rustin Parr's house way out in the woods of Burkitsville where the Blair Witch is known to lurk. If you don't know the backstory of the Blair Witch, (what do you live under a rock?) then check out the original film's website and the mythology section here.
The found footage point-of-view shot shows a frantic rush around the old house, before it is revealed that this is footage from YouTube which a guy called James is watching. The footage was uploaded by another guy who found a tape in the Black Hills woods. There is the distorted sound of screaming and at 11 seconds into the trailer, there is a person visible in the footage. That's all I can tell you about that.
But then James states to whoever is now filming him, 'I think that might be my sister'. I'm not the only one who immediately thinks.... 'You're sister???' Heather Donahue? Did Heather have a little brother in the original movie? I don't think it was ever mentioned, but then this girl's voice, who I assume is the off-camera camera operator filming this guy says, 'You really think you're sister could still be out there after all these years?' That's 17 years by the way if we're counting and assuming this sequel takes place in the present day.
Yikes! Please tell me Heather is still out there. I know the actress Heather Donahue has been busy growing weed and then writing books about it, but that means she's surely available for a cameo. God that would be a interesting development in the story... maybe.
So the Wikipedia page for the film states that this guy's name is James Donahue, so it definitely is supposed to be Heather's brother, but I don't know if this is 100% confirmed. It looks like James and his five college buddies head out into the woods to search for Heather after finding this YouTube footage. They know the legends, they know about the curse, they know about Elly Kedward a.k.a. The Blair Witch.
So then shit hits the fan as you would expect. Those creepy stick men; they're back and they're bigger. The kids start walking in circles again. Somebody (probably) kicks a map in the creek.
There is a shot of one of the girls with a camera in hand, suggesting that there must be at least two characters that will be carrying cameras, and in the great words of Cloverfield's Hud 'documenting everything'. I wondered when I first watched this trailer if the film was all going to be found footage. The shot 7 seconds into the trailer suggests that either these college kids have a nice drone for capturing aerial shots (doubt it, though that would be awesome), or the film won't be all found footage, or it's just a nice shot to insert in the trailer but it won't be in the movie. I'm going with that last one.
Well anyway, then the kids start turning on each other and the woods start turning on them as the (hopefully still) invisible witch works her magic on them all. Looks like this film will have a lot more going on in it than the original. I suspect it will be gorier, more graphic and have more than just traipsing around in circles and arguing going on. There's a shot in the trailer that looks as though nature will attack them more than it ever did in the original. I'm talking Evil Dead style trees. And then there's the shots that remind me of The Descent with one of the girls crawling through a whole load of shite to escape from somewhere.
I hope they don't dare show us the Blair Witch and I hope this film keeps up the ambiguity. I'd love it if there was a link back to the original with Heather appearing in some form, but it needs to be ambiguous and it needs to be done well.
Also in the trailer: we have a person standing in the corner facing the wall, hand prints all over the spooky house and the voice of someone apologising. It sounds more like a bloody remake than a sequel when you put it like that.
More than anything, I hope this honours the original by limiting the gore, having no CGI whatsoever and being bloody scary. I don't want to see the witch, I don't want to know exactly what happens at the end and I don't want this to turn into a franchise that goes on and on and on with new batches of disposable teens. I'm already concerned that some of the six characters in the film are simply there to allow for a bigger body count.
I loved Adam Wingard's The Guest so I'm optimistic that this will have some good stuff in it. But I suspect that Wingard probably didn't go into original directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick's 'method directing' techniques and I think that is a huge shame. It will show in the performances, the cinematography and the dialogue and it will make Blair Witch a hell of a lot less believable than The Blair Witch Project is.
What do you think Blair Witch fans? Talk to me... I'm here for you! And please buy my book on The Blair Witch Project.
Here's the Blair Witch trailer:
- Buy my book here! The Devil's Advocates - THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - Buy now from Amazon by clicking here - Horror Channel call it a 'must buy' - Click here
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