The ‘Blair Witch’ TV Show is a Terrifying Idea, but Not for the Reasons You’d Think

Matthew Loffhagen
Lionsgate
(Photo: Lionsgate)

Here’s hoping you like shaky cameras and people yelling at each other in the woods, because we’re getting a Blair Witch Project television series.

Sigh.

Some ideas, no matter how obvious they are, should never be put into practice.

According to Eduardo Sanchez, one of the original directors of the first Blair Witch movie, this idea fit together on paper so well that they couldn’t avoid doing it forever:

“For us, it’s a very natural thing to go and say, ‘Hey, let’s do a frickin’ Blair Witch show. You can say it’s from the original creators and we can bring in a whole bunch of interesting directors to direct episodes.”

Seems easy, right? An instant success?

That’s kind of the point. While the original Blair Witch movie is not exactly fondly remembered by the majority of viewers, it’s gained a cult following – and when your entire production is filmed by amateurs for the “authentic” feeling of a shaking personal camera, your costs are so low that even the smallest audience guarantees a profit.

Blair Witch 2016
Source: Lionsgate

Make no mistake; like all the Paranormal Activity films and every other attempt to use the found footage formula, the Blair Witch TV show is simply a money spinner. There’s no big unique story at play here. Eduardo Sanchez has spotted a nice regular stream of TV money that doesn’t require any production costs, and he’s going to milk that for all its worth.

The problem is, this strategy is probably going to work really, really well. The brand recognition is there for The Blair Witch Project to the point that the show will, at the very very least, make a tidy profit from viewers.

We’ve seen over recent years a polarizing trend in television. Either shows are hugely expensive, or they’re made for pennies.

While big, tentpole shows like Game of Thrones cost a phenomenal amount of money to make, the vast majority of TV content is a race to the bottom. Reality TV has grown popular in large part because it’s so cheap to create – you don’t even need to pay actors.

Shaky found footage camera filming is perfect for TV. It’s nice and cheap, because you don’t need to pay for a cameraman, for lighting, sets, or pretty much anything else. You don’t even need a scary monster.

Blair Witch
Source: Artisan Entertainment

All you need is a handful of actors, a really vague script, and a van to take everyone out into the woods.

This is perhaps the scariest thing about the idea of a television show based around The Blair Witch Project: it’ll make a lot of money, and where there’s money, there’ll be copycats.

Be prepared: the era of shaky found footage television shows is about to begin, and it’s really not going to be pretty.

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