Into the Woods Once More

The most iconic horror movie of the ‘90s may finally get the sequel it deserves.

Artisan Entertainment

Some movies are events, totally inseparable from the time they were released. The most example was Barbenheimer, the release of two movies that fueled each other and became an unmissable cinematic experience. But 25 years ago, one horror movie made a splash that many referred to as the first movie to truly go viral.

The Blair Witch Project, one of the most influential found-footage horror movies, became a sleeper hit in 1999 thanks to its unique marketing strategy that doubled down on the movie’s conceit that it was real footage of teens investigating a fictional legend. It became a must-see experience, raking in over $200 million at the box office on a budget of less than $1 million. And while you might assume that a hit of such seismic proportions would lead to countless sequels and spinoffs, that hasn’t exactly been the case.

But now, Hollywood is trying once more to revive The Blair Witch Project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate and Blumhouse Entertainment are joining forces on a new movie (it’s still unclear if that means a sequel, a remake, or something else). The question is: can the horror masters at Blumhouse do what two separate movies have failed to do and replicate this once-in-a-generation cinematic event in an entirely different era?

The Blair Witch, a failed franchise

The Blair Witch Project’s shaky, handheld cinematography led the audience to believe it was real.

Artisan Entertainment

One year after the original movie, a direct sequel entitled Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was released. The movie took a meta approach, following a group of people who become obsessed with the original film and decide to visit the forest where it was shot. But Blair Witch 2 flopped at the box office, earning negative reviews but managed to pull in almost $50 million on a budget of $15 million.

Over a decade later, in 2016, director Adam Wingard (Godzilla x Kong) attempted another sequel, titled simple Blair Witch. His film acted as a more traditional sequel, ignoring Book of Shadows and focusing on a group attempting to figure out what happened to the original cast of characters. It also got bad reviews (though critics mostly agreed it was better than Book of Shadows) and earned $45 million on a $5 million budget.

In both cases, it seems clear that while the Blair Witch brand is strong enough to turn a profit at the box office, making a sequel that captures the magic of the original might be impossible. Enter: Blumhouse.

How to Make a Good Blair Witch Sequel

A 2016 attempted Blair Witch Project sequel didn’t capture the same attention as the original.


This new Blair Witch movie has its work cut out for it. No matter if it’s yet another attempt at a sequel or a remake that starts from scratch, it will need to create a similar buzz around the story. What that will look like in the age of social media is unclear, although the sheer amount of misinformation currently out there on the internet thanks to everything from TikTok to AI might actually make it easier to trick audiences than it was back in 1999.

If any production company is suited to the task, it’s Blumhouse. The horror house managed to pull off a pitch-perfect Halloween reboot, which is easier said than done for an iconic (if uneven) franchise that already had 10 movies and one previous reboot under its belt. Then again, Blumhouse’s Halloween trilogy is uneven at best when viewed as a whole, and its attempt to pull of the same feat with The Exorcist was an utter failure.

It’s also worth nothing that one of Blumhouse’s first big hits was the found-footage phenomenon Paranormal Activity, which owes a lot of The Blair Witch Project. So its not the first time the company will dip a toe into the horror subgenre.

But at the end of the day, The Blair Witch Project is a movie that can’t be separated from its turn-of-the-millennium release. That doesn’t mean that the right strategy can’t continue the legacy of the terrifying story in a way that evolves with the times, but if Blumhouse manages to pull this one off, we’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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