– by Joseph Jammer Medina

When Simon Barrett was asked to write Blair Witch, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that he’d take the gig. In fact Barrett, who’s found success with films like You’re Next, V/H/S, and The Guest, has turned down sequels and remakes before. So why did he decide to write Blair Witch?

It’s simple: Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 sucked.

See, Barrett was fascinated by the premise of the original movie, 1999’s surprise smash hit The Blair Witch Project, and when the sequel came out and pretty much squandered all that potential, it stuck with him. 

Here’s the writer, in his own words, talking about taking about Blair Witch:

“It had such a cool mythology, and no one really knows, because of Book of Shadows, what a Blair Witch sequel could or should be. So it was kind of creatively an open plate.”

It’s true, of course. During an age when horror movies that have the kind of success that The Blair Witch Project had spawn countless sequels that explore every nook and cranny of the worlds they create, the poorly made Book Of Shadows killed any potential future for the franchise.

“When you get offers, a lot of the remakes and sequels that I’ve personally turned down over the past three years, since I’ve had some success in my career, have just been things that… maybe it’s a remake of an original film that I loved, that I don’t creatively know what I would add to it. It doesn’t creatively excite me, because the original film was kind of perfect and stands on its own – so I don’t particularly know why I would want to remake it.

“And then there’s films like The Blair Witch Project or I Saw the Devil, that I really, really loved, but I also see like, ‘Okay, you could take this in a new, cool direction, because the inherent premise is so incredible.’ You could do something that doesn’t in any way erase or decrease the existence and power of the original; it only enhances it. It’s just such a cool mythology and a cool universe, the Blair Witch universe, to work in, that it was just creatively exciting to me, thinking of all the things that I could do, and also kind of set pieces I could create.”

It’s sort of refreshing to hear a writer make clear that they only signed on to write a sequel because they felt there was fertile ground that had gone untilled. In fact, when you think about it, this was a sequel that never had to be made to begin with. After Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, no one’s exactly been begging for another movie from that series in the last 16 years, so for Barrett and director Adam Wingard to make it, it had to be because they really wanted to do it and really believed in it.

Blair Witch opens tomorrow.

SOURCE: Cinema Blend

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.