People forget that, besides being a viral phenomenon that a transformed the horror movie genre forever, The Blair Witch Project was really, really, really, really scary. There were people freaked out by the potential authenticity of the "lost" video footage, and then there were people who knew it was fiction, left rattled by the exhilaration of its faux-documentary style. The twenty-something characters looked like they were camping in the middle of demon territory. The setup felt impossible to question. The Blair Witch was truly a one-of-a-kind terror.
Could a sequel disrupt the genre a second time? 2000's Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 mangled movie mythology with meta mayhem, but director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett, the team behind the spry home invasion movie You're Next and the genre-splicing action horror The Guest, think they've figured out a way to recreate the scares. For a better part of the year, the duo's next movie was called The Woods, and looked like a high-contrast alternative to the usual found footage jump-scare-athons. Only at this year's San Diego Comic-Con did they reveal what was actually up their sleeves: Blair Witch 3 a.k.a. Blair Witch a.k.a. "One of the Scariest Movies Ever Made" according to early critic quotes teased in the trailer.
The new trailer for Blair Witch appears to live up to the quote. Barreling through the haunted woods at high velocity, the movie sees the brother of the original movie's main star "Heather" questing to find his missing sibling. What he finds instead... well, you know.
Blair Witch hits theaters on September 16. We'll know then if Wingard and Barrett can do justice -- or rather, the twists they'll do it -- to the original. Step one: be really, really, really, really scary.