Vicious director Oliver Park is helming a new Blair Witch reboot.
The Blair Witch is returning for us all, with a new reboot helmed by up-and-coming horror filmmaker Oliver Park in the works at Lionsgate. According to our trusted and proven sources, the iconic 1999 horror film is getting another chance with audiences, following the Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 in 2000, and 2016’s Blair Witch. The original movie still stands as one of the most profitable and influential independent movies of all time, but the franchise has never been able to capture the power of the first installment.
In all fairness to the various franchise follow-ups, The Blair Witch Project was an incredibly difficult act to follow. Directed and written by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, the film was one of the first major films to be shot and presented in the style of found footage, leaving initial audiences unsure of whether it was a fictional film or an actual documentary. It was also arguably the first movie to be primarily marketed via the Internet, further casting doubt on the nature of the film.
The Blair Witch Project ended up grossing nearly $250 million off a budget estimated (at the very highest) to be in the region of $750,000, making it by far one of the most profitable movies ever made. As such, despite the unreplicable nature of the film (found footage horror movies and internet marketing being thoroughly mainstreamed by things like the Cloverfield franchise), there was no possible future in which a studio would not try to milk it again.
Oliver Park has a big task ahead of him as the director of a new Blair Witch reboot, but there is reason to believe that he may be up to it. The actor-turned-filmmaker came to critical notice in 2015 with his short film Vicious, which was highly acclaimed, won a number of awards, and is considered one of the finest horror shorts ever released. In January, he released a feature-length film titled The Offering, which was also well-regarded by critics, so he clearly is building up a solid reputation.
Oliver Park’s Blair Witch reboot will follow two sequel films, both of which have mixed reputations at best. Book of Shadows was something of a meta-commentary on the first film, portraying a group of people fascinated by the original movie, while the 2016 film ignored the first sequel and was produced under a fake name to hide that it was connected to the franchise.
In addition to the feature films, the Blair Witch franchise also includes a number of documentaries about the movies, several tie-in novels to the original, an eight-volume young adult book series, several comic books, and four video games. It seems safe to say that various creators have found plenty to mine out of the simple story of terrified people getting lost in the woods and maybe killed by supernatural forces.
We shall just have to wait and see what Oliver Park comes up with for a Blair Witch reboot, but we’re excited to see what new take he can find for it.