Sure, it's one of the scariest movies ever made, and yeah, the film crushed it at the box office, but The Blair Witch Project's greatest accomplishment came in the publicity department. Before the movie hit theaters, the filmmakers tricked quite a few people into thinking the story was real. There were the missing posters, the website, and most importantly, the Sci-Fi documentary that made it seem like three people had really disappeared into the Maryland woods.
Evidently, the doc had a big impact on M. Night Shyamalan. Coming off the success of Signs, the director wanted to promote his upcoming creepfest, The Village, so he teamed up with filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn to create his own Sci-Fi special. Titled The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan, the film purported to be an actual investigation into the director's life. As part of the stunt, Shyamalan eventually claimed Kahn was asking too many personal questions, "pulled out" of the project, and started publically attacking the film.
Sci-Fi got into the act as well, conforming Shyamalan's vendetta and handing out false info to journalists. When the documentary finally aired on TV, The Buried Secret claimed Shyamalan had drowned as a child, and after he was revived, he'd gained the power to commune with the dead. In addition to the supernatural aspect, the doc featured quite a few clips from The Village, plugging the upcoming thriller.
Needless to say, people weren't happy. The Buried Secret was slammed in the press, and NBC — Sci-Fi's parent company — was forced to apologize. Adding insult to injury, the doc couldn't save The Village, and soon, Shyamalan's career started to tank. Fortunately, favorable reviews for 2017's Split put him back on track, proving Shyamalan is one unbreakable dude.