This summer, the talk of San Diego Comic-Con was a surprise bombshell that Adam Wingard’s THE WOODS was actually a direct sequel to 1999’s BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. As premiere audiences came out raving and trailers began dropping, the excitement of fans began to skyrocket. Unfortunately as the film released, it fell short of the expectations Lionsgate had for opening weekend. Tracking for a $20 million debut, it only brought in $9.6 million. Although the film has brought in over $28 million worldwide as of September 28, 2016, on a budget of $5 million, another foray into the woods around Burkittsville is up in the air.
While reception has been mixed, one thing that many can agree on is after the search for the original film’s Heather gets underway, the third act of the film is a tense, terror- filled ride that is filled a few twists and shocks that people are still talking about. In a single tweet the film’s writer proved that not is all as it seems. In addressing a question from a fan, Simon Barrett dropped an unknown fact that shakes up everything we thought was happening towards the end of the film.
****MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE BLAIR WITCH AHEAD****
Critics and fans alike have voiced their opinions on how they felt things were given away in the film. After finding the infamous house in the Black Hills, Lisa (Callie Hernandez) sees a glimpse of a hideous creature behind a tree. As she reunites with James (James Allen McCune,) she even goes as far as to say “She’s behind me.” When alone upstairs, she uses her video camera to catch a closer look at the creature that’s been stalking her.
In assuming that the creature seen is the infamous Blair Witch, audiences have both loved and hated the fact that the titular character is seemingly revealed, with reactions varying from it being amazing, to being disappointed that the film diluted some of the mystery. When responding to a fan online, Simon Barrett blew all of that out of the water, saying:
Wait, what?? While neglecting to explain further, Barrett opened a myriad of questions, the biggest being: ‘Who or what is it that thing?’ While it has been assumed that the witch is original Blair resident Elly Kedward, is there a possibility she isn’t the source of evil, and instead just another tortured soul? We can see the results of being stuck in the forest’s strange loop on Lane (Wes Robinson,) as each time he appears he’s a bit more disheveled and deranged. What would happen to someone trapped in the woods for hundreds of years? Elly Kedward is talked about during the film and the original SciFi mockumentary “Curse of the Blair Witch,” where she is described as an innocent woman who is tortured and left to die at the hands of superstitious colonists. The spindly limbs of the monster itself seemed to serve this tale, as Kedward is said to have been stretched by a crudely designed rack. Could Kedward be another monstrous victim of a larger and darker evil?
Theories have began running rampant online trying to figure out who the creature could be, including the idea that the it could actually by James’ sister Heather, a horrifying shade of her former self that has been tormented and twisted by being lost in the dreaded darkness for so long. Some cite that James is lured into the house by the sound of his sister’s voice as proof of this, but this deadly force also uses James’ own voice to trick Lisa into meeting her own fate. Perhaps it’s possible that the creature can imitate its victims, the demonic presence in the woods grows in power with each soul it takes, or James himself has become one of its servants.
Either way, we’re not likely to learn many of the answers anytime soon. While Barrett said that some explanations will come during THE BLAIR WITCH DVD commentary, he was careful to state that many things will be left to our imaginations. While Lionsgate is not looking, at this point, to develop the mythology any further, it’s still possible they may visit the haunting grounds of The Blair Witch again. It took seventeen years this time, so there is always hope.
THE BLAIR WITCH is in theaters now.