‘The Blair Witch Project’ Directors Admit ‘We Broke Every SAG Rule’ as Actors Starved

It’s no secret that The Blair Witch Project introduced a new kind of horror. The found-footage style led to a renaissance in terror. Take the Paranormal Activity franchise, for example. Viewers relate to the authenticity of found-footage, electrifying the jump scares.

But the original ’90s cast had an unpleasant experience while filming. Many horror fans recall that they actually filmed their scenes, but it was more than that. Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez admitted they crossed a line in filmmaking.

Heather Donahue faces her last moments in the camera during The Blair Witch Project
Heather Donahue in ‘The Blair Witch Project’ | Artisan Entertainment/Getty Images

The 2016 ‘Blair Witch Project’ was a direct sequel

After The Blair Witch Project premiered, a sequel came out only a year later: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. The flick received negative critical reviews but performed well at the box office against a $15 million budget.

In 2016, Blair Witch 3 debuted and ignored its predecessor. The film stems directly from the original 1999 Blair Witch. The plot introduces James Donahue, who wants to find out what happened to his apparent sister Heather. He travels to the same woods in Maryland where she and her group vanished.

The 2016 Blair Witch dives into more strange events than the original. However, it follows a similar style with its found-footage nature.

What happened on the set of ‘The Blair Witch Project’?

In case any horror fans don’t know, the original Blair Witch Project cast had to camp in the woods, without much direction. The only help they had was through the checkpoints the directors set up. However, Donahue and her co-stars (Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams) also experienced some severity behind Myrick and Sanchez’s “method filmmaking” per Rolling Stone.

The cast didn’t have many resources with them—including food. The filmmakers were inspired by the producer, Gregg Hale’s, survivalist approach. He experienced a four-day military training, which gave him the movie idea:

“I knew these guys were American soldiers playing a part, but at the same time I was terrified. That kind of sparked the thought of well, why don’t we apply this kind of total-immersion scenario to the actors? If we’ve physically and mentally abused them enough in the process of getting them up to those intense moments at the end, then they’d be able to tap into emotional places that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to tap into. We did keep them isolated, we harassed them at night, we deprived them of sleep, we made them move a lot during the day. Then at the end, we slowly fed them less and less, and they never knew what was happening. They were always off-balance.”

Myrick then admitted that he, Sanchez, and Hale “broke every SAG rule possible.” The actors only had a Power Bar and a banana for each day during the last two days of shooting.

Horror is seeing a major trend in remakes and sequels

There has not been any news of a new Blair Witch film. However, the horror genre keeps reinventing itself through sequels, remakes, and reboots. So anything could be possible.

Universal Pictures took advantage of an opportunity with John Carpenter’s Halloween. With Halloween Kills coming soon, the company will also release Halloween Ends in 2022. And that might not even be the official end to its star killer, Michael Myers. Universal also signed on to recreate The Exorcist. According to Deadline, the new Exorcist will follow Halloween‘s path with three sequel films.


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And the sequels don’t stop with the 1970s classics. Fans can also stream the new Paranormal Activity 7: Next of Kin on Paramount+. And the streaming service is also home to A Quiet Place and its sequel, Part II.