San Diego Comic Con is a convention that has far-surpassed any other convention on earth and pretty much has become more of an outlet for trailer reveals than anything else. Many of the highlights are dominated by twin pillars Marvel and DC, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t news for pretty much any niche fan group out there: including horror.
On Saturday, Lionsgate played the trailer for their film The Woods, but when people sat down to watch it, they were instead treated to a much bigger event.
Turns out there is no film called The Woods, instead it was a much bigger marketing ploy to reveal their upcoming movie Blair Witch. Yes, of the iconic 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project. Like the massive surprise trailer drop for the sequel to Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Lionsgate enlisted similar, if unorthodox, way of getting hype around the film. Actors were even given fake scripts at auditions while even fake trailers under the name The Woods had been shown in cinemas.
The real title and story of the film was all changed during the preview at SDCC – from the IMDB page to a real trailer with the real title being posted on YouTube.
So, what about the movie itself? It’s a sequel to the first film as Heather’s brother James decides to set out with his friends in hope of finding his sister who has been missing for years.
The trailer itself is pretty… meeeeh. Much of it seems mostly been there, seen that. Lots of jump scares and shaky camera work of these expensive HD cameras. The Blair Witch Project worked so well almost entirely because of its time. It would be almost impossible to replicate the sort of hype and mystery that could be created in that sort of pre-internet-obsessed era. Plus I personally always find it more difficult to buy into a found-footage movie when all the actors are super good looking instead of just normal actors. It’s the same reason why Paranormal Activity worked – viewers are able to suspend their belief much more when it feels like it could happen to them.
But there’s a lot of faith in director Adam Wingard’s work. So here’s hoping that whoever put the trailer together just wanted to make the movie look bad on purpose. Just seeing the witch symbols and that old house gave me shivers reminiscent of the first one. Also, the major claustrophobia of the girl in the underground hole – eeeeeh! So I’ll remain hesitant. It looks utter shit, but with trailers today, you’ll never know what the hell you’ll get. Fingers and sticks crossed.