Very rarely does a studio release a film that surprises the world with its existence. Yet 2016 was a year where not one, but two films dropped with only a couple months notice of their true intentions. Early in the first half of the year, we saw Dan Trachtenberg's Valencia become 10 Cloverfield Lane overnight, and this summer The Woods spontaneously became Blair Witch at this year's Comic Con. Much like the first film, Adam Wingard's new sequel to the indie horror classic is looking to blitz its target audience with a quick, but firm marketing strategy, which you can see at work in the first TV spot below.
The new television ad has been shared directly from the YouTube channel of Lionsgate themselves, and it's a quick hit, but it's a super-effective one at that. Blair Witch follows up with the story originated in 1999's The Blair Witch Project, with the brother of a member of the original film's missing trio looking to find his lost sister. But as Blaine tries to find Heather in the woods of Burkittsville, MD, he and his friends are about to discover that the forces that plagued her and her friends are still lurking in those woods, and ready for round two.
17 years have passed since Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's original independent hit took theaters by storm, and 16 years since Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 caused audiences to regret the moment they had laid eyes on what was supposed to be the sequel to the original tale. Fans of the first film must be thankful for Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett's fresh start with Blair Witch, which will presumably ret-con the ill-received follow-up into oblivion where it belongs. Thought the real question is, is it too late for the series to make good with the viewing public?
While time has helped to forget Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, one might think that a last minute surprise sequel might be too little, too late for the legacy of what was once the highest grossing independent film ever. As the horror genre has taken to its independent home more effectively than its big studio contingent, smaller and more brutal films have become the champions of the field that The Blair Witch Project once stood prominently on. However, with Wingard and Barrett being two of the heaviest hitters in said genre, and with the brand recognition still existing for the title, a shock to the system could be just what this franchise needs.
Here's hoping that Blair Witch can follow in the footsteps of 10 Cloverfield Lane, as its modest budgeted take on the large legacy of scares that precede it will haunt audiences across the country on September 16th.