According to Simon Barrett, although he gained a great deal of notoriety as a genre-oriented screenwriter, he’s always seen himself as a director who fell into writing thanks to a long-running partnership with director Adam Wingard (Godzilla vs. Kong). With Barrett as writer and Wingard as director, the pair have made a half-dozen films since 2010, including A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next, The Guest, and the 2016 Blair Witch reboot (the two are actively working on both a direct sequel to Face/Off and a film based on the classic ’80s animated series ThunderCats).

While Barrett has dabbled in directing over the years — most notably the “Tape 49” segment of horror anthology V/H/S/2 — Seance marks his debut as a feature director. The film is set at a prestigious girls boarding school where one student dies shortly after a prank seance ritual, which may have actually awoken a dead former student who reportedly haunts the halls of the academy. Shortly after the tragedy, a new student arrives, Camille Meadows (Suki Waterhouse), who is immediately tormented by the school’s mean-girl pranksters. But Camille has a secret agenda, fearlessness, and certain abilities that make her capable of defending herself from bullies, would-be killers, and possible ghosts. Rich with atmosphere and dripping in blood, Seance is a present-day story, but one with its roots planted firmly in the rich, decades-old tradition of horror films set in elite girls’ schools.

/Film spoke with Barrett to discuss his influences for Seance, his partnership with Wingard, and his idea for an NC-17-rated, Ewoks-centric Star Wars movie.

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Face/Off sequel

Well, this changes things considerably.

Yesterday, Deadline reported that Adam Wingard (The Guest, Godzilla vs. Kong) would be co-writing and directing a remake of John Woo’s action classic Face/Off. But after the news started making the rounds, Wingard took to social media to make a significant clarification.

Turns out he’s not working on a Face/Off remake after all. Instead, Wingard refers to the project as a “direct sequel.” Whoa. Read More »

Face Off Remake Adam Wingard

Look, not all remakes are bad – some can even be quite good! But I can unequivocally say that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for a Face/Off remake. And yet…we’re getting one anyway! And it will be directed by Adam Wingard, the filmmaker behind You’re NextThe Guest, and the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong. And hey, I like Adam Wingard! I like a lot of his films! But…no. This is not a good idea.

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Blair Witch Ending

Unfortunately, Blair Witch was not quite the hit sequel that Lionsgate was hoping it would be. The film has only pulled in $16.5 million domestically and another $11.5 million internationally. That’s a bummer, because it’s actually quite the scary sequel that expands the mythology of The Blair Witch Project without ruining anything or revealing too much.

Now those of you have seen it may be thinking to yourself that the movie does reveal too much about the legend at the core of the horror franchise, mostly because it appears to reveal the titular spirit/monster/whatever. But writer Simon Barrett recently confirmed that we don’t actually see the Blair Witch on screen at all. Find out more below, but beware of spoilers. Read More »

blair witch interview

Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett have become two of the most exciting new voices in horror over the past five years with films like A Horrible Way to Die, You’re Next, and The Guest (as well as memorable segments in both VHS movies and The ABCs of Death). Now, the duo have decided to enter someone else’s playground with Blair Witch, a sequel to the 1999 classic The Blair Witch Project.

Blair Witch is a very different film than the original movie, replacing the slow-burn psychological terror of the first film with visceral scares and a relentless pace. It is very much its own beast, the result of Wingard and Barrett setting out to make a movie on their own terms, the sequel to the original that they always wanted to see.

With Blair Witch in theaters today, I sat down with the duo to discuss how you keep found footage horror fresh, what attracted them to this project, and the glory that is drone cameras.

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Blair Witch Producer Talks Sequels

This past summer was pretty disappointing in the sequel and remake department, even if the box office numbers weren’t as underwhelming as they may have seemed. This summer’s blockbusters just felt mostly underwhelming, but thankfully there are plenty of smaller independent films that are worth seeking out. However, just because this summer churned out some regrettable sequels and remakes, don’t expect Hollywood to slow down on churning them out.

Next month brings the sequel Blair Witch to theaters, and while it’s a recognizable title, the filmmakers behind it come from the indie world. In fact, the experience of working on a film like this has only solidified why sequels and remakes will continue to be made instead of focusing more on original titles. Producer Keith Calder recently took to Twitter to explain how the kind of attention paid to a movie like Blair Witch compares to his work on movies like The Guest and You’re Next. 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 »

blair witch review

This was the perfect way to introduce Blair Witch to the world. The series is rooted in clever marketing, as the original film was positioned as real found footage of real film students who disappeared. The sequel twisted the concept to focus on the Blair Witch hype more than the legend itself. Now they’ve made the third film, 16 years later, a true surprise. Lionsgate committed to early marketing of the film as The Woods so that the first audience to see it could learn it was actually Blair Witch. No one else will get quite that experience, as it would be impossible to keep the secret once it began screening, but this way all the fans could be in on the reveal, even if they only followed it online.  Read More »

Jason Eisener The Guest trailer

The Guest opened in a handful of theaters last weekend, and to celebrate that Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener cut together a really spectacular short trailer for the film. It’s a tight blast of action, color and music that perfectly captures the vibe of the film, in which Dan Stevens plays a very capable and very violent man acting on grim intentions.

We didn’t post that trailer last week (blame the distraction of Fantastic Fest and MondoCon) but want to show it to you now as the film heads into its second weekend. As a bonus, the film’s producers are offering a little incentive to those who might go see the film this weekend: tweet a photo of your ticket stub, and they’ll hook you up with a free download of the film’s soundtrack. See the Jason Eisener The Guest trailer and get more details on the soundtrack offer below.

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Update from editor Peter Sciretta: The following review was published by Germain Lussier on January 19th 2014 from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is out in theaters this week:

The films by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett always have one thing in common. They are obviously influenced by an intense passion for movies, but are not overtly obvious about referencing those movies. In that sense, The Guest might feel like something you’ve seen before. It’s got the basic feel of a stalker film from the late ’80s or early ’90s, but filtered through the action of Quentin Tarantino, the music of John Carpenter, the ideas of James Cameron and almost too many others to mention. There’s action, sci-fi, horror, comedy… you name it, this movie has it. The result is a fresh, fun film that crescendos from title to credits with suspense, laughs and violence. Read More »