blair witch publicity stunt

Seventeen years after it first hit theaters, The Blair Witch Project remains a genuinely creepy, intentionally frustrating, and unforgettable film that sets a high bar for found footage horror movie in general. However, the film’s legacy extends beyond movie screens and into the world of movie marketing, where it had a seismic impact. The film’s advertising campaign used the early days of the internet to its advantage, building an extensive and convincing mythology that could look, at a quick glance, like the real thing. The result was a horror movie that many people thought was a documentary depicting actual events. The seeds of all viral marketing, of how movies are sold on the internet, were planted there.

But 2016 audiences are more savvy. They have noses that have been more fine-tuned for bullshit. What worked in 1999 simply won’t work today – no one would ever believe that the new sequel, simply titled Blair Witch, was a depiction of reality. So how do you keep the Blair Witch legacy of outrageous publicity stunts alive? Simple: you hang a couple hundred of those creepy stick figures all over South Congress street in Austin, Texas to make it look like the city was visited by the witch herself.

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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life trailer

Based on the James Patterson‘s popular young adult novel, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life comes from director Steve Carr. Carr is the director behind Next FridayDr. Doolittle 2Daddy Day CareAre We Done Yet?, and, his last feature, 2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He’s directed many harmless kids movies, which is probably the best way also to describe how his upcoming film looks.

Below, watch the Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life trailer.

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The Blair Witch Project extended edition

With Adam Wingard‘s The Blair Witch Project sequel Blair Witch itching to hit theaters on September 16th, a lot of fans are looking back at the original 1999 film. But not jut fans, also the movie’s co-director Eduardo Sanchez, who says he would like to create an extended cut of The Blair Witch Project from the 19 hours of footage that was shot for the indie horror breakout.

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Hacksaw Ridge Reviews - Andrew Garfield

There’s some big buzz surrounding another anticipated premiere out of the Venice Film Festival. This time, it’s Mel Gibson‘s return behind the camera for the first time in 10 years that is garnering plenty of attention.

Hacksaw Ridge is a war drama based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a young Seventh Day Adventist who drew criticism from his fellow soldiers for sticking to his Pacifist beliefs and never picking up a weapon during his time serving in the military during World War II. Miraculously, the soldier single-handedly rescued 75 of his wounded brothers in one night, earning him the Medal of Honor. The story paints the portrait of a man who stood by his own beliefs and credited God with his heroic feats, and Mel Gibson doesn’t shy away from a message of faith in the face of adversity.

The first Hacksaw Ridge reviews have arrived from the festival, where the film received a 10-minute standing ovation. While there’s plenty of praise for an astounding performance by Andrew Garfield and some incredible, harrowing battle footage in the vein of Saving Private Ryan, it sounds like the film has problems in its lack of subtlety. Read More »

‘Nerve’ Returns to Theaters for $5 a Ticket

Nerve re-release

In terms of new releases, it’s slim pickings out there this weekend. Oh sure, there are a couple of bigger films (Light Between Oceans and Morgan) and a handful of indies, plus some high-profile holdovers from earlier in the summer. But if none of those quite suit your fancy, how about revisiting a film you may have missed the first time around?

Lionsgate is putting its young adult thriller Nerve back into theaters across the country this weekend. You may remember it from its original July 27 release — it’s the one starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco as participants in an online game that’s “like Truth or Dare, minus the Truth.” But the really good news is that if you skipped it then and want to see it now, you’ll be able to do so for just $5.  Read More »

blair witch viral marketing

17 years later, The Blair Witch Project isn’t just one of the most influential horror movies of all time – it’s a great film, a “found footage” movie that actually feels like an actual lost document. Unlike its often too stylized successors, it’s easy to understand why the original could actually inspire many viewers at the time to wonder if what they were watching was actually real. It’s as vague and incomprehensible as a really unfinished movie cobbled together out of footage shot by a couple of dead kids…which only makes it all the more frightening.

The new film in the series, simply titled Blair Witch, was never go inspire the mania that surrounded the first movie. However, keeping the identity of the film a secret until just two months before its release is the kind of impressive hucksterism that the horror genre needs. Speaking of impressive hucksterism, it looks like the Blair Witch viral marketing has begun in earnest, starting with a creepy YouTube video.

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La La Land Reviews - Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone

Last night, Damien Chazelle‘s musical romance La La Land premiered at the Venice Film Festival on the other side of the world. The film is one of my most anticipated films of the year, so I couldn’t be happier to hear all the positive buzz coming from the premiere.

The first La La Land reviews reaffirm what we’ve observed from the trailers, calling the film a loyal homage to classic movie musicals, shot magnificently, and acted superbly by stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone with some astounding original music. However, for all the praise that calls the film audacious, exciting and passionate, some reviews also point out that the film has difficulty balancing the fantastical nature of the musical style with the raw, emotional drama that comes between musical numbers, making the film a little uneven.

Read some the early La La Land reviews have to say after the jump. Read More »

Blair Witch sequel

Audiences lucky enough to get into a sneak preview screening of the horror flick The Woods at Comic-Con were treated to one of the coolest surprises that cinema has seen in a while. The horror film directed by Adam Wingard was revealed to actually be a sequel to The Blair Witch Project simply called Blair Witch. In the spirit of the original film, it’s apparently one of the scarier horror releases in recent memory.

Now a new Blair Witch trailer has arrived to show you the terror in store when the movie hits theaters next month, and it looks even more suspenseful and terrifying than the original movie from 1999. With the way this secret was kept from audiences, I really hope it delivers the scares along with the surprise that this movie even exists. Read More »

Blair Witch TV Spot

In one sense, we’ve been waiting for a new Blair Witch Project sequel for over a decade. The original film came out 17 years ago, and the much-reviled sequel was released 16 years ago. But really, we’ve only known we were waiting for the past few weeks. It wasn’t until last month we even realized another Blair Witch Project movie was happening, when Lionsgate revealed at Comic-Con that Adam Wingard‘s The Woods was actually titled Blair Witch.

Now we’ve only got a few more weeks to wait until the movie’s actual release, which means it’s time for Lionsgate to kick their marketing campaign up to the next level. The first Blair Witch TV spot has been revealed, and you can watch it after the jump.  Read More »