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Blumhouse’s New “Blair Witch” Project is Concerning

Like many other recent years of coverage, the internet is bubbling with speculation and discussion as CinemaCon 2024 coverage spreads. Major motion studios like Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Universal have been dropping new info left and right on their upcoming slates, as well as others such as Lionsgate and Blumhouse. The latter’s panel on Wednesday ended up revealing all sorts of information for its loyal fans, such as the release date of the highly anticipated sequel to Five Nights at Freddy’s—Fall 2025. Whether or not this will be Halloween of that year as the last one remains to be seen. Though, hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy the sequel just as much as we did the first film in the franchise.

Another piece of information revealed by the studio at the convention on Wednesday was in relation to the Blair Witch franchise. The original Blair Witch Project lit America on fire, causing a boom in the found footage horror subgenre as many questioned whether or not its depicted events and corresponding footage was real or not. No matter the original film’s quality to some and despite it not inventing the genre, it was one of the first in the subgenre to get things right and popularize its format. There will never be another film quite like the original Blair Witch Project.

So is there a reason Blumhouse is so confident they’ll be able to replicate that success?

The marketing, speculation, and contents of the original film worked together in a way that only could have worked that first time. Advertisements marketed its stars as missing, and the footage as when they were last seen. The stars in question were relatively unknown, as was the directing/writing team behind the film, all of whom were credited by their own names a la documentary format. This all blended together to make speculation about its authenticity run rampant, which only fueled the fire more. Now that this perfect storm has come and gone, it’s been hard for any subsequent entry in the Blair Witch series to drum up nearly the amount of publicity the original did.

This isn’t to say that Blumhouse as a studio lacks the talent or drive to crank out box office successes. Recent endeavors such as The Black Phone, M3GAN, and especially last year’s Five Nights at Freddy’s have seen extremely impressive returns, both in terms of revenue and reception. The studio is at its best when producing engaging screenplays directed by filmmakers with complete creative control over the project. Though, with a director still unannounced for the studio’s Blair Witch film at this time, a morbid curiosity looms over whether or not the studio can helm a director/writer team that can put a twist on the concept and subgenre as engaging as the 1999 film.

We’ll be covering more news from CinemaCon 2024 in the coming weeks as the news from the event materializes and expands.