Revival of Found Footage
In 1999, a small, low budget horror film took the entire world by storm. This movie was simply known as The Blair Witch Project. Not only did it prove to be unbelievably terrifying, but it changed the horror genre forever by introducing the masses to a new style of filmmaking: Found Footage. Ever since the release of The Blair Witch Project, film studios have tried their best to capitalize on the success of the film. However, they were never able to. The same can be said for the film’s sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which was met with both critical and commercial disdain. This was all due to the original’s incredible marketing campaign.
Years passed, and The Blair Witch Project managed to stand the test of time. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest horror movies ever made. Many people may disagree and argue that the film has not aged well at all, but a lot of the time they forget that this is the movie that revolutionized the genre.
Entering 2016, advertisements began to surface for a horror film called The Woods. The movie was to be directed by critically acclaimed up-and-comer Adam Wingard, known for directing the cult slasher film You’re Next and the chilling thriller The Guest, a love letter to horror films of the 80s by the legendary John Carpenter. News about The Woods was hard to come by, as extreme secrecy surrounded the production process. The only information available was that the film was expected to be one of the scariest ever made. The Woods had its first screening at San Diego Comic Con, where it was announced that the movie was meant to be a true sequel to The Blair Witch Project, ignoring the unsuccessful Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 by going back to its Found Footage roots. Initial reception by con-goers was very positive, but as the film became available to the general public and critics, it was badly received. It was criticized for doing nothing new and simply trying yet again to profit from Blair Witch’s popularity.
I found the film immensely enjoyable. Its atmosphere is haunting, though admittedly sometimes the mood is ruined by unnecessary jump scares. I found myself paranoid, looking around fearfully a lot of the time thanks to the film’s incredible sound design. I felt as if I was being hunted down in my empty movie theatre. Though the film retreads a lot of ground from the original, it has enough new, quality content to warrant being a stand-alone project. The last 20 minutes especially proved this, as it really could make or break the movie, depending on the viewer. I can safely say that it made it for me.