If you asked me two days ago, I’d have insisted that a feat like The Blair Witch Project couldn’t be pulled off today. I’m talking not about the film itself, but its rollout—one that relied on a caliber of privacy that Hollywood no longer enjoys. In the late ’90s, in absence of today’s bird’s eye view of the behind-the-scenes world of the filmmaking industry, the artists and studios still had every opportunity to wow us with the grandeur of surprise. The original Blair Witch Project was unparalleled in this artistry—it was a movie that nobody really knew much about but that everybody was ravenously curious to see.
Now, while a contemporary Blair Witch Project reboot or sequel cannot quite claim the same mystery or intrigue, it surely can earn a few accolades for staying under wraps as long as it has. Having masqueraded for months as a nondescript—albeit suspiciously buzzy, in retrospect—horror flick known as The Woods, the forthcoming Blair Witch revealed its true form at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday night, thrilling fans of the franchise and impressing everyone who though they had the skinny on everything coming out of L.A. through 2028.
The news broke in company with a trailer, which sets a young man off into the woodlands on a quest to find his long lost sister. The handheld camera aesthetic, jump scares, and breathy characters are all in check. This is indeed a Blair Witch movie.
Though Blair Witch doesn’t have any members of its predecessor’s creators or stars on board, its creative team are no slouches. Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett collaborated on two excellent recent creepers, You’re Next and The Guest, as well as on segments of the horror anthology V/H/S. In other words, it’s not only the rush of the surprise that has us thinking and hoping this might be a worthy venture.
Blair Witch hits theaters on September 16… although who knows? Maybe between now and then it’ll reveal to actually be a new Cloverfield movie.
If you are in San Diego for Comic-Con, be sure to stop by Nerdist’s Camp Conival at Petco Park at 11 AM PST to see a special discussion with the cast of The Woods/Blair Witch.
Featured Image: Lionsgate