The revolution truly eats its children in the new media world. One day you're the harbinger of a new era; the next day you're desperately trying to cling to the some other harbinger's coattails.
It's been a decade since the Blair Witch Project became the first film made for under a dollar-fifty to earn its makers enough money to buy their own zip codes. Back when the great day happened it was supposed to usher in a new era of dreamers with phone cams replacing big money cinematographers, and the studios just signing up some 10th graders to distribution deals and then walking around America with big barrels to fill up with cash.
Well we all know how that turned out, ten years later we sit on the near collapse of the independent film sector, Transformers 2 is the highest grossing film of the year, and there hasn't been another film since to replicate Blair's success.
Like the Apollo missions, Blair Witch seemed not a first step into a new world, but a fun-to-watch, ultimately kinda silly trip just to hit golf balls on a rock that just floats around the Earth. And as Apollo was followed by the catastrophe-prone shuttle missions, so have all the attempts to replicate the Blair dream led to heartbreak and devastation of the lives of young dreamers, who maybe shoulda just gone to dental school like their parents wanted them to in the first place.
So with that history, this year, when finally another DIY'er in the shape of Paranormal Activity broke through, one can forgive the world for forgetting we've been down this road before. But the Blair's makers haven't forgotten. In a new interview with the Toronto Star, Blair director Eduardo Sanchez said that he is seizing the new no-budget moment to get back in the game and make a new Blair film. (There was actually already misbegotten sequel which attempted to cash in on the original's success, with which Sanchez was not involved.)
Sanchez has been working with his original partner Daniel Myrick on a treatment involving the characters from the original.
Sánchez wants to use a technique he calls "mixed first-person," which would mean less reliance on the Blair Witch innovation – now a cinematic cliché – of having the protagonists speak directly into their fidgety cameras. He laughed when he saw Cloverfield, another Blair Witch wannabe, and the characters never dropped their video camera even when being chased by a Godzilla-like monster.
The closest he's seen to the mixed first-person technique he seeks is District 9, the summer '09 sci-fi hit that begins in documentary style before segueing into a conventional thriller. Sánchez hopes to first try the mixed style with Possessed, a low-budget horror he's also involved in, which he promises will "show things that have not been seen before. Hopefully audiences will dig it."
Tragically, sadly, watching Paranormal's success from his home in Canada, he tells the Star"We're at the step where we're about to pitch to Lionsgate, which owns the movie rights now. It's pretty much up to them. They can completely squash it or greenlight it."