Most fans will agree that the ending of The Blair Witch Project was perfect. Heather enters the basement of a creepy house in the woods and finds her friend Mike standing against a wall, his back to her. She’s then attacked from behind by an unseen force, and her camera slams to the ground. What exactly happened in those final moments? Who cares! It was SCARY!
Test audiences agreed that the film’s finale was terrifying, but they were also left confused by it. And so, in their infinite wisdom, Artisan executives sent co-directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick back into the woods to film a few alternate endings. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the duo just reflected on the last-minute attempt to bring a new ending to the table.
They told the site:
They wanted us to do something more definitive. We went back to that house with a skeleton crew and basically just shot all the endings that Ed and I threw out when we were dreaming up the script.
The alternate endings they filmed during those reshoots included final scenes of Mike hanging from a noose, crucified on a wooden stick man, and mutilated with a bloodied chest. In an effort to make more sense of the original ending in the event that Artisan stuck with it, Sanchez recalled that a scene was also shot to explain why Mike was standing against the wall.
We shot an interview with a guy where he explains a little bit of the mythology of the killer Rustin Parr; how he would make one kid stand in the corner while he killed the others. We felt that if we stuck it in early in the movie there was going to be some audience members that would connect it to the ending.
But Sanchez and Myrick always insisted on retaining their original vision. In Myrick’s words, the original ending “challenged our real world conventions and that’s what really made it scary.”
In the end, Artisan begrudgingly agreed.