Are you excited for Blair Witch? I bet you are at least curious about it! So, in order to warm up for the upcoming sequel to one of the most controversial horror films of all time, I have prepared a small list of films you should be watching in anticipation of 2016's most remarkable horror event!
Directed by Adam Wingard and written by Simon Berrett, the duo behind some of the V/H/S segments, You're Next and the upcoming Netflix produced Death Note, Blair Witch is the third installment in the Blair Witch series, which started in 1999 with the original Blair Witch Project — one of the most influential horror movies of its generation. Some people would rather pretend a sequel never existed, but The Book of Shadows (2000) is out there, like it or not.
IMDb's synopsis for Blair Witch reads:
After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.
Developed in secret under the name of The Woods, 2016's Blair Witch is said to lie somewhere between a remake and a sequel, having a little bit of the original film in it, but also some of the other elements introduced by the found footage boom in the 2000s.
Oh, and don't forget to re-watch the other Blair Witch films as well!
8. The Last Broadcast
It is well known that The Blair Witch Project was not the first found footage or fake documentary film out there, although it is the most popular. Curiously, there is another mockumentary, similar to TBWP released a mere year before, called The Last Broadcast. Considered to be the first film entirely filmed in shot and edited entirely on consumer-level digital equipment, the film is like one of those investigative shows, trying to understand the mysterious death disappearance of a group of men who entered the Pine Barrens to unveil the legend of the Jersey Devil.
The difference between the two films (besides the better quality of BW) lies in a brilliant and ahead of its time marketing campaign, that made TBWP spread like a virus and left The Last Broadcast disappear into oblivion. The film is quite divisive among the people who watched it, and Eduardo Sanchéz and team really improved some of its ideas, but TLB is definitely worth checking out.
As a matter of curiosity, TBWP has 188,811 reviews on IMDb, while TLB has only 3,922. How much for an underseen flick?
For some people (myself included) the Spanish [REC] is the very best found footage ever made. Terrifyingly realistic, it took Blair Witch's found footage to a step further. If the ending of The Blair Witch Project creeped people out, the ending of [REC] might have been the scariest cinematic moment since The Exorcist. Is the new film aiming for a creepy, open ending, like the original film, or are they taking a path closer to this Spanish chiller?
6. Noroi: The Curse
How far do you think the influence of The Blair Witch Project has reached? I would say Japan! Noroi is a J-horror mockumentary and one of the best offerings the subgenre has to offer. Even inside its own influences, from both j-horror and found footage, it feels like a fresh and unique experience that you won't forget anytime soon.
5. Lake Mungo
Australian mockumentary Lake Mungo has graduated from The Blair Witch Project's school. Like in Eduardo Sanchéz's film, the script here was only general outline guided by the director, so most of the dialogues and interviews were improvised by the actors, with similarly realistic results to TBWP. It is also a very minimal film that holds the mystery to the very last frame, exactly like TBWP taught them how to do.
4. V/H/S 2
All things considered, V/H/S 2 might have been the moment where it all started for this new Blair Witch. This found footage anthology has segments directed by Eduardo Sanchéz (the original director), Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett — director and writer of the new film, respectively. It is an interesting opportunity to learn more about the filmmakers and see how they work together.
A long time after Blair Witch, Eduardo Sanchéz directed another found footage film set in the woods, but he changed from witchcraft for another awesome subject — Bigfoot. His approach managed to be similar and yet quite different. The monster is in plain sight from very early on the film. There is no hiding Mr. Bigfoot — he is even on the poster! Notwithstanding, this film shows how much Sanchéz has changed. Will the new Blair Witch be closer to the first one or to Exists?
2. The Witch
The Blair Witch Project was released in 1999 and for almost 16 years it remained the last great witch film. Then, The Witch happened. Also set in the woods and opting for hiding the witch for the majority of the time, it works almost as a prequel. If the Blair Witch is indeed Elly Kedward, like the legend says, her story might have been very similar to Thomasin's.
1. Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages
The Danish silent film Häxan is the ultimate film about witchcraft. It is more informative and intriguing than any class on witchcraft will ever be. This film exerted such an influence over the minds behind The Blair Witch Project that their own production company was named HÄXAN FILMS.
You can watch the film with a special narration by William S. Burroughs here!
Check out the trailer for Blair Witch below:
What horror witch do you think is the most terrifying?