We're just a couple of weeks away from the release of Blair Witch, the upcoming sequel to the 1999 found footage horror flick The Blair Witch Project. While the marketing for the movie has been ramping up recently, it looks like Lionsgate and the filmmakers started marketing the movie quite some time ago, as a very strange Kickstarter campaign has been discovered online. The campaign dates back to 2014 and appears to be a piece of viral marketing material for the upcoming movie.
The Kickstarter claims to be funding a documentary called The Absence of Closure. The campaign was created by someone named Lisa Arlington. It just so happens that an actress by the name of Callie Hernandez is playing a character by the name of Lisa in Blair Witch, and she makes a very brief appearance in the trailer for the documentary in the Kickstarter campaign. On August 11 of this year, an update was made to the campaign from someone who claimed to be Lisa's friend, saying she has been missing for two years, and that everyone has stopped looking for her.
Hello, my name is Kaylee Morgan and I'm Lisa's best friend. As some of you know, it's been over two years since anyone has heard from Lisa. Her parents recently found her Kickstarter password in an old notebook and they asked me to write this update, in case any of you do not know what happened or might have information. In short: Lisa disappeared in May 2014 during production of her documentary ABSENCE OF CLOSURE in Northwest Maryland. James, the subject of her film, and two of his friends are also missing. Their whereabouts are unknown. We are also trying to find any information about an online group called "DarkNet666" and their possible involvement in this case.
Prior to that update, it had been more than two years since any other update had been made, which showed where the group was going to shoot the documentary. This Kickstarter isn't the only bit of viral marketing that has been uncovered for Blair Witch. In that Kickstarter update, DarkNet666 is mentioned. There is also a wordpress blog called darknet666blog, which features updates from some people who seem to be investigating the Black Hills Forest, where the original Blair Witch Project and the new Blair Witch take place. Here is what the blog states under its "about" section.
"On this site I share with you various truths that I have uncovered. Too many people go through life blind. I'm here to open your eyes. There are so many things happening right in front of you. You just have to learn to see."
There is also a Facebook page called Finding Lisa Arlington, which features links to the DarkNet666 blog and claims to be made by people looking for Lisa after her disappearance. The idea that Lionsgate and the marketing team would use some viral marketing elements to market Blair Witch isn't at all surprising. What is a bit surprising is that this Kickstarter campaign was made more than two years ago. That would have been long before any word of Blair Witch came to light. The documentary in the campaign seems to be focusing on James, played by James Allen McCune, whose sister Heather disappeared in the first Blair Witch Project. Up until this year's San Diego Comic-Con, the movie was being marketed as The Woods, but then Lionsgate made the big reveal after a screening during the convention.
Early buzz on Blair Witch has been highly positive so far. Adam Wingard, who directed You're Next and The Guest, helmed the movie with a script from his longtime collaborator Simon Barrett. The original Blair Witch Project started the found footage craze, and is still one of the most financially successful movies of all-time, having grossed nearly $250 million in 1999 on a budget of just $60 thousand. The movie spawned a much less successful sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, which was critically panned and killed the franchise for more than a decade.
It seems like the marketing team behind Blair Witch may be trying to capture some of the magic of the original, even though that may be an impossible task. Blair Witch is set for release on September 16, 2016. You can check out the strange Kickstarter campaign, as well as some of the other viral campaign pages for Blair Witch for yourself.