Saturday, September 24, 2016

I liked Blair Witch when it was The Woods

Blair Witch has been out for more than a week now, but I haven't seen it yet. This despite the fact that the original was one of my top ten movies of 1999 and top five movie scares of all time, so if there was anything like a legitimate sequel to it (I understand Book of Shadows was anything but legitimate), I should be all over that shit.

I actually had a good chance to go on Wednesday, but decided on Yoga Hosers instead (and if you read yesterday's post, you saw how that turned out).

My enthusiasm for this movie died on the vine as soon as they changed its title, and the 46 Metascore hasn't helped.

You see, this movie used to be called The Woods. For all anybody knew, it was just the latest horror from Adam Wingard, the hot commodity who won people over (other people, not me) with You're Next and The Guest.

But then, in a clever bit of surprise marketing that took a page from the book of the original and the Cloverfield movies, we were told only like a month ago that this was actually a sequel to The Blair Witch Project.

And that the movie had a new name: Blair Witch.


I love the bit of marketing. I don't love the name change.

If you are trying to create viral hype around a movie and have presumably been successful in that goal, isn't it almost better to leave the title as it was? The Woods should not just have been a placeholder designed to fool us when it appeared on upcoming release schedules. The Woods actually makes a perfect abstract title for a Blair Witch Project sequel, with enviable simplicity.

Instead they made it simple in a bad way, in a dumb way. Just remove two of the words from the original title and voila! A new title. It's in keeping with a recent trend (see Fast & Furious, Jason Bourne, Rambo, etc.), but that only makes it all the more dispiriting.

If you want to know the truth, Blair Witch sounds like the placeholder. "We can't think of a great title for it, so let's just call it 'Blair Witch' for now. We'll get back to it."

They never got back to it. And now I'm not that interested in getting to it at all.

Sorry, Blair Witch. You're too much of a project for me.

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