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If you've never heard of the Blair Witch Project before/have no idea what it's about, watch the film before reading any reviews. If you've heard of it or watched it and would like a reminder of what it's about and whether it is worth watching, read on.
The Blair Witch product was released as a 'documentary' about a group of teenagers visiting a town in search of the 'Blair Witch'. Most of the so documentary is shot within a forest in the night-time, adding to the eerie theme of the film. Shot on low budget cameras to add to the realism of the film, it is made to make you believe that it was footage discovered after the disappearance of the film-makers.
This is a well acted film that makes you believe that those in the film are actually curious, clueless students who have no idea what they're about to get themselves into.
Because the film was captured on handheld cameras, most of the footage is shaky, for some critics this may be unwatchable as it makes the film appear to be more like an amateur film than a box office one.
Well worth a watch if you believe to be watching a real life documentary. But as most now know it's just a film, it loses its scare factor.
REVIEW INFO: This review was first published on Ciao.co.uk, under the account name b00t, which is rightfully mine. Its design has been optimized for Dooyoo.co.uk, but its contents remain the same! Please don't plagiarize and rate honestly! Enjoy.
ATTENTION! This review assumes that you have some vague knowledge of the film and would like to expand it before watching it. Beware of minor spoilers. If there is a major spoiler, you will be warned in advance.
I'd like to warn you in advance - if you're expecting some sort of unbelievable special effects, curses, black magic, gutting or anything of this caliber, then this is most definitely not the right movie for you.
The Blair Witch Project is an extraordinary horror film with a large dosage of mystery in it. But it's even more so an extraordinary thriller, which will keep you at the edge of your seat not one or two times. The movie is made in the style of a documentary or in other words, it's a "POV" (point of view) type of film. With a humble budget ranging from 500,000$ to 750,000$ and a gross of nearly 250,000,000$, The Blair Witch Project contains absolutely no special effects. And despite the fact that it's deliberately presented as an amateur movie, it undoubtedly delivers its message accross and is probably the main inspiration for other great movies such as [Rec] and Cloverfield. The Blair Witch Project heavily relies on the viewer's imagination, so it may not appeal to all, but I think it still deserves a watch.
== Plot ==
The movie tells the story of three student filmmakers, armed with nothing but two cameras and some essential hiking gear, who went to Burkittsville, Maryland (formerly called Blair, according to the film), in order to uncover the enigma behind one of the town's greatest urban legends, the Blair Witch, but disappeared on their journey and later their video footage was recovered and compiled into a movie, hence the name "The Blair Witch Project". The legend states that during the 1940s, in the forests near by the town, many children vanished and even to this day, people still fear going deep into the woods. The locals explain to the film crew that these events could be associated with a hermit named Rustin Parr, who kidnapped children to his house and murdered them straight afterwords, and as he eventually turned himself over to the police, stated that the only reason for his actions was the spirit of Elly Kedward, a witch from the 18th century, who kept haunting him and wouldn't leave him alone. So the three students set out to find evidence to prove that horrifying tale, leaving their car behind in the woods. But as the story progresses, they soon find that their adventure won't be as pleasant as expected, but at least they find what they're looking for... the Blair Witch!
WARNING: The movie is an open narrative and leaves a lot of questions unanswered, which proves my point yet again that this movie is not for everyone.
== Cast, Characters & Acting ==
The Blair Witch Project does not feature any famous actors, but that's no reason to conclude that the acting is bad. In fact, it was quite the contrary, you could feel the characters' emotion and in my opinion, this significantly added to the whole 'realistic feel' of the film.
Here are the actors (who, by the way, play themselves in the movie) in descending order of how much they impressed me with their performance.
I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but I think Heather Donahue takes the cake. In my opinion, she played her role magnificently and the Razzie award for Worst Actress she received in 2000 was completely unjustified. I can understand how people could find her performance in this particular movie annoying (she did act a little whiny at times, but that was part of her role), but I don't think that makes her a bad actress. And also, how could you not feel for her during the "I'm sorry" scene near the end? If you call that bad acting, I don't know what kind of person you are.
Then there's Michael Williams or simply 'Mike' in the movie. He's the person I adored most after Heather. In fact, I think it's a tie. But anyway, he plays the coward of the trio or at least that's the vibe you get after watching the first half of the movie, but after that, things start to change and you get to see what his character is all about. What can I say, I find him a good actor and I'd love to see him in more movies. His most memorable scene is the one near the end, in my opinion.
And finally, Joshua Leonard or 'Josh', the calm dude. But again, as the movie progresses, his character's behaviour also changes. In fact, he becomes quite the opposite of what I said about him - angry, unable to think straight. But it's understandable, considering their circumstances. A good performance by him, as well.
== What I Liked/Disliked About 'The Blair Witch Project' ==
- Liked -
1. It was thrilling, mysterious and suspenseful.
2. The story was interesting.
3. It was realistic.
4. It wasn't overly long, considering what it unveiled by the end.
5. The "directing" was nice.
- Disliked -
1. The movie is an open narrative. There are many questions left unanswered.
2. You really have to use your imagination to appreciate it for all it's worth.
3. *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT* You never actually get to see the witch.
4. The soundtrack could have been a lot better.
== Conclusion ==
All in all, I think The Blair Witch Project is a well made horror/thriller-mix type of movie and if you enjoy POV films, you should see where it all began. The acting is good, the story is interesting too, but the most memorable part is the realistic feel of the movie. It's not an unforgettable masterpiece by any means and most likely won't appeal to you, if you're not a huge fan of psychological horror, but regardless, I think it deserves a watch.
This is a VERY low-budget horror film that was WAY over-hyped! It's about three college students who go into the woods for a weekend to see if the legend of the Blair Witch is real. They film themselves all weekend long. Then they get lost, run low on food and water and some REAL spooky things happen...
The moments when they're hearing noises and voices in the dark are VERY scary (especially somebody calling them from a distance). But that's it. There's nothing inventive plot wise, the characters are REAL annoying (Heather was particularly annoying--she never shut up!) and the camera-work made me seasick. Also all the horror in this is implied and never shown. There's nothing wrong with that but add that with the above ingredients and you got a very exasperating film. Basically I was never scared once...but I was bored a LOT!
Also what's all this hype about the "incredible" ending? The ending was telegraphed at least a half hour before it happened! I really don't like this film, but I think it's because of the nonstop hype on it. You might like it, but set your expectation on low.
The Blair Witch Project is a low-budget 1999 horror film directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. The film had a clever and innovative internet marketing campaign and became a box-office smash through good word of mouth despite its miniscule budget. The premise is simple and not entirely original. Three students - Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C Williams - go hiking into the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland in 1994 to investigate and make a documentary film about a local legend known as the Blair Witch. They are never heard from again but the film they shot with their video equipment is recovered. This shaky footage reveals what happened to them in the Black Hills of Burkittsville...
The recovered footage device here was used before in a film called Cannibal Holocaust. I've never seen Cannibal Holocaust and never will but I did read an interview once with the Blair Witch team where they said they'd never heard of that film and were more inspired by a seventies series called "In Search of..." which had a documentary feel and would investigate things like Bigfoot. The documentary approach to The Blair Witch Project works quite well early on when the students interview some locals about the legend as they make their way to the woods. They meet an old woman who claims to have had an encounter with the Blair Witch as a young girl and a fisherman who gives them a spooky warning of impending doom. "I saw the witch hovering right above the creek, I saw her right above the creek, don't go near the wood!" It's good stuff although Heather Donahue in particular appears just a little bit too excited to actually be in a film at times and is prone to overact. Just calm down there Heather you feel like saying. Apparently she wasn't told which of the locals being interviewed by her was a real person or an actor and some of them do seem nicely authentic.
I do like the DIY ethic to The Blair Witch Project and the grainy film gives it an interesting and slightly off-kilter feel with the wobbly shaky cam - which was said to have cost a few people their lunch when this was first screened in cinemas. The spooky aura is maintained when they find an old burial site full of cairns and then hear strange noises at night. The students soon get lost in the woods and their good natured banter at the beginning of the film gives way to bickering and shouting at one another. The Blair Witch Project leaves everything to our imagination and relies on darkness, shaky cam, weird noises, and the panic of the students as they run from unseen things and walk around in circles becoming increasingly frazzled with one another and the damp and lack of food. While there are undoubtedly some creepy moments I personally found I never quite suspended my disbelief sufficiently enough to become completely wrapped up in the film.
The Blair Witch Project gleans most of its effect from the strange little discoveries the students make, like stick-figures, hand-prints, piles of stones and an old cemetery. The most enduring image in the film is quite effective and features Heather Donahue talking directly into the camera at night about how scared she is with snot dribbling from her nose. "I'm afraid to close my eyes, I'm afraid to open them." The Blair Witch Project does become more tense in the final act but the film generally rests or falls on how much you believe in the situation and the actors. I always felt oddly aware that these were actors in the woods improvising and reacting to things that the filmmakers were doing offscreen. I first watched The Blair Witch Project alone in the dark in an empty house and wasn't the least scared or troubled by it - which was disappointing after reading about how disturbing it was supposed to be. It's unfair, but I think The Blair Witch Project probably did become a victim of its own hype/success for some viewers - who then wondered what all the fuss was about when they finally saw it for themselves.
One thing I did find mildly unsettling was the characters realising that they keep ending up back at the same place despite the fact the woods aren't supposed to be that large. It's a simple idea and not exactly original but it does work quite well. Nit pickers will wonder why none of them has a mobile telephone although I suppose the film is meant to take place in 1994. Unavoidably, like that George A Romero film Diary of the Dead, you do wonder why they keep filming though even when they are being chased and in fear of their life. What is interesting too is another low-budget horror film called The Last Broadcast which is remarkably similar to The Blair Witch Project at times and entered production at an earlier date. The Last Broadcast team were spitting blood when The Blair Witch Project pitched up and became a media phenomenon while their picture was ignored as they felt their film had got there first and been a major influence. The Last Broadcast is a more thoughtful film than The Blair Witch Project with something to say but the Blair Witch team probably had the right idea in getting to the point - people being scared in the woods - a lot more quickly in their picture.
The Blair Witch Project is a very clever little film that is all the more admirable for relying on psychological horror and eschewing blood and FX. It is a very likeable effort considering its humble origins and the influence of The Blair Witch Project can still be seen today in countless horror films and things like Most Haunted on television. My only problem was that I was never particularly scared or convinced by the actors playing the students and felt the film lacked a certain something to make it a bona fide classic worthy of its fame. I like The Blair Witch Project but just not quite as much as others do.
An interesting horror film with riveting and brutal consequences from a starting point of a basic storyline of teenagers whom go camping in the deep forest in america and slowly get attacked one by one by vicious paranormal interceptors, known as the curse of the blair witch.
This film was primarily based upon a true story and was promoted through these lines in that this film was actually taken by the students themselves and then supposedly found after they had died and therefore being such a prolific and remarkable piece of paranormal evidence was then shown to the world. This however as you can imagine was false and was just made to look as though this was the case but through a clever portrayal or words and act this is indeed the story it created within the viewers mind and hence made this film particularly interesting and enticing to watch.
The film has been criticised time and time again however I think its one to add to your dvd list for sheer horror factor, unique genre of action and analogy of film set and the many gruesome areas which are sure to entice any horror lovers eye.
Some areas are a little to surreal to be real in any sense or form and hence do bring an area of humour through it but overall this is only a tarnish of the main event that surrounds the teenagers. It is frightening I beleive and I found so both on the big screen and at home watching as a dvd. I bought it however and I like to still occassionally watch it so not a bad buy or watch. There is a blair witch 2 which is just as gruesome in parts but a little more humourous as its a similar storyline.
This was a unique film in that it was purely filmed as an amateur holiday getaway documentary but turned nasty, like a horror youve been framed, so watch it just for that factor if nothing else and you might find you like it.
The Blair With Project was lauded as being a revolutionary film when it came out, but it wasnt all that original at all really. Its central premise- a group of campers go out into the woods with cameras and are never seen again but their footage is later found- was done back in the 70s in italian horror film Cannibal Holocaust, causing such a stir that the film's director had to show up in court with the film's cast in order to prove that nobody had actually been murdered during filming.
Blair Witch was made on a tiny budget, and is all presented as unedited camcorder footage as the 3 documentary makers head out into the woods to make a short film about the local legend of the Blair Witch, only to get hopelessly lost and end up being stalked by a mysterious and sinister presence. Its incredibly simple but it works, and the film is convincing and tense, its realism further strenghened by the highly successful online marketing campaign which purported that the legend and the footage were all completely genuine.
Blair Witch is a breath of fresh air compared to the many hopelessly tame and unscary modern hollywood horrors out there, and is well worth a watch if scary films are your thing. Dont bother with the sequel though, as this is a bog standerd mainstream horror with none of the atmosphere or ingenuity of its predecessor.
The Blair Witch Project in my opinion is a must see film. I found it a bit slow to get into it but once you do you can't get away from it and it will have you glued to your seat.
The story of the film surrounds three student filmmakers who make their way to Burkittsville in Maryland to shoot some footage for a documentary they are making. The footage is about a local legend, The Blair Witch. There are many rumours circulating that this mysterious figure has been haunting the Black Hills Forest nearby for years since the 18th century. There are also rumours that the witch is reponsible for a number of murders in these parts.
After interviewing some of the locals, the three of them, lead by director, Heather, head into the forest to gather some more footage for their studies. As none of them are experienced campers they soon get lost. They were originally happy and keen but this has now turned to fear, blame and panic.
Things take a turn for the worse when they begin to find piles of stones carefully piled outside their tents and and wooden effigies hanging in the trees. Then Josh disappers into the night and is not seen again. The finale to the film is harrowing when Michael and Heather stumble across an old ruined house.
The movie is slow paced at times but once they head out into the forest you can't say it's dull. I found it to be a pretty terrifying film and brings out the fear in the audience from the start of their journey into the darkness and uknown. The actors acheive such a huge amount of realism in the film as they filmed it all themselves and had to improvise most of their own lines. I actually found some of the most fear invoking moments were when all you see is black screen and you have to imagine what's happening. Imagination can be one of the most powerful tricks used in movies of this type as it keeps you on the edge of your seat and your sanity.
The best thing about this movie is the change in personalities and mood of all three of them and their worst emotions are realised when they are alone in the dark.
I would recommend this to anyone if you are not of a nervous disposition
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
The Blair Witch Project caused an absolute sensation upon its release, with the trailers implying that the footage filmed for the film was in fact real. People believed it well up to the time of the release, thanks to the superb advertising campaign, and in particular the DVD extras also helped cement this, with numerous documentaries on the legend of the Blair Witch itself being filmed for it.
The film depicts three film students - Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard - who go to Burkittsville, Maryland to investigate the Blair Witch. However, they disappear and their bodies are never found, but a year later, the footage is found, showing what happened to them, and leaving it up to the viewer to work out and explain quite what on Earth it was that they really saw.
There are numerous things that are super impressive about this film, firstly that it's the most successful independent film of all time, with an incredibly high profit ratio, encouraging a lot of imitators and other filmmakers to try and make low budget horror films. It also was the first major "handcam" film, where the action all takes place from the perspective of the peope involved, as has occured in recent films like [REC], Cloverfield and Diary of the Dead. Thirdly, it's a testament to the power of the imagination, that our own minds create a lot of the scares in the film, and it is more the tension that makes this scary than lots of gratuitous violence or jump scares.
Whilst I wouldn't deem the film super scary by now, it was the first of its kind (and has spawned several imitators), and so should be commended for its originality if nothing else. The ending gave me chills, but parts of this film did drag.
'The Blair Witch Project' is a fictional movie that was promoted as a real documentary, months before its release in 1999. The buzz created on the internet was that it was real and even mock documentaries including eye witnesses and supposedly real news reports were flying around, all created by the filmmakers, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez.
The story goes that in 1994, three students disappeared in the woods of Maryland whilst making a documentary on the local legend of the Blair Witch. What we are supposed to be watching in this film is the footage the students shot of their terrifying final days, which was discovered a year after their disappearance. IMDb was listing the actors as 'missing, presumed dead' and for lots of people the penny only dropped that it was all fake when they saw the lead actress on The Jay Leno Show!
The film is set in Burkittsville, Maryland, which is a real place, but the myth of the witch was completely made up by Sanchez and Myrick. They created the whole history from scratch and in the film and the mockumentaries that go with it, we see these various creepy tales told by supposed locals of Burkittsville and apparently real news footage, including an interview with my favourite character in the film, Mary Brown, a batty old women who was abducted by the witch as a girl. In 1785, a suspected witch called Elly Kedward was banished to the woods and left for dead by the people of the town of Blair, Burkittsville's old name. The children had been complaining about her luring them into the woods. Within weeks, half the town's children had gone missing, and the people fled the town in terror.
Stories of the witch and her desire for the blood of children re-surface roughly every 50 years, until the last story which was supposed to have happened in about 1940-41, about 50 years before the students go on their hike. Rustin Parr, a loner living in a small house deep in the woods, was convicted of killing seven children in his basement. He had lured them there with sweets. In his defence, he said that an old woman had made him do it. It is said that he used to be an OK bloke before he lived in those woods. These background stories created by the filmmakers have amazing detail to them if you want to read about them on the internet, which obviously creates the illusion that it is a real piece of history. There is even black and white footage available of Rustin Parr (an anagram of 'Rasputin' by the way) talking about it.
The actors playing the ill-fated students are Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams and Joshua Leonard. We see them arrive in the town of Burkittsville, interview some of the locals and then begin their hike into the woods to locate some of the places that have connections to the witch. At first they are jovial, but as they get deeper into the woods they begin to lose their bearings and start feeling insecure. They find a strange cemetery with seven piles of rocks to represent the victims of Rustin Parr, and strange stick figures hanging in the trees, possibly acting as a warning. When they awake to find three piles of rocks placed outside their tent in the night, they start to get really freaked out. Their map is no good and their compass seems to keep bringing them back to the same spot. The witch appears to be messing with them.
You never actually see a witch at all, and this is the beauty of this film, the sheer suggestion of it all means that your own imagination does most of the work. As Josh points out, it might not even be a witch; "You ever see Deliverance?". Children's voices are the least scary sounding noise but when you are in a tent in the middle of deep woods and you hear them outside your tent, along with what Josh called "a total cackling" sound then, boy, that is scary! Throughout the filming, these actors really were camping in those woods, and the fright they are expressing for example when those hands press onto the side of their tent is real fright, even if they did know it was likely to be the director rather than a witch. They were given very little clues as to what was going to happen to them. They were sleep deprived and food deprived and their anger, irritation and weariness was sometimes for real, or at least only needed to be exaggerated.
Finally, Josh is abducted one night when he goes out of the tent for a pee or something and a bundle of sticks containing something horrible is left for Mike and Heather to find. The film ends as Mike and Heather, who is screaming like a banshee, follow what appears to be Josh's voice to a little house in the woods, and down into the basement, which we might conclude was the house of Rustin Parr. Tiny handprints of children are all over the lower part of the walls. The ending is simple, effective and HORRIBLE.
At the time, 'The Blair Witch Project' was the most profitable film ever made, as it only cost $20,000 to shoot the basic thing. It grossed over $200 million. The expensively-made sequel was terrible in comparison, so not having any money to make this film really pushed the Myrick and Sachez to come up with something that was completely innovative, and they succeeded.
I know that some people just don't get why this film is supposed to be so scary, so don't bother with it if you are looking for wild special effects. I have to admit though, this film messed me up, seriously! I lay in bed after watching it, thinking to myself that I should be more worried about robbers getting through the windows than witches, but somehow it dredged up my childhood fear of the witch in the Wizard of Oz and it is very reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel. These witchy tales are indeed deep in our psyches. The build-up with all the spooky stories, not being sure about how much of it was supposed to be true and the realism of their highly naturalistic acting all combined to make this a total winner in my books. I have to respect Myrick and Sanchez for making this amazing film.
I haven't seen the dvds extras but it contains interviews, 'newly discovered' footage and commentary. I you enjoy this film, I would recommend you look at the range of stuff you can read about the background to the story on the internet, and watch the various documentaries, such as 'The Burkittsville 7'. It's all great stuff.
I hope I've helped!
This movie is a bit like Marmite, you will either love it or hate it. So I will expect some of the people reading this review to completely agree with me and the other half to think I am chatting complete nonsense. Personally I love this movie, which is strange for a horror movie that shows no witches, no evil, no killing and just some people in woods.
Heather Donahue - Heather Donahue
Joshua Leonard - Joshua 'Josh' Leonard
Michael C. Williams - Michael 'Mike' Williams
Three students who are making a short documentary film hed into the woods. Their film is about the mysterious myth that is the Blair Witch. Armed with two cameras they got lost in the woods and are never found again. This footage taken by their cameras is shown to us....
I think it is really this film that started making me appreciate Horror movies. Before I used to consider just films with stabbing and blood like The Scream movies to be horror. Now I think about it, Scream is just a gory movie and other films with more blood may be hard to watch, but thats just cause its disgusting not because its actually scary. This movie plays with your mind and in my opinion is a very scary movie.
The movie is so very realistic and at first thought if you just randomly saw this on TV I am sure you would think it is a real amateur documentary and that it is not acting at all. This is how the viewer can relate to the film and that this can happen to anyone of us. We feel how scared they are at being lost in the woods and the very strange stuff they come across in the woods, which make them question whether the Blair Witch exists or not and how much they wish they never entered the woods in the first place.
The beginning is quite cool as before they go into the woods, they interview locals who give their thoughts on the Blair Witch and whether they believe in it or not. This sets up the rest of the movie perfectly all the way up to the ending. It is a very simple movie that cost peanuts in movie terms to make. Literally if I remember correctly it was around £50,000 or so, maybe even less and it made millions in terms of box office revenue.
This movie did spawn a sequel which was a lot more higher budget, and not the same camera held movie style than this, it was just a plain old horror movie that was not effective at all and it got panned by the critics and deservedly so.
Love it or hate it The Blair witch definetily left a mark on the horror industry and especially American Horror, which has only in more recent years started to improve, although a lot of this is down to the remaking of classic asian horror movies.
I had to go and see this film with my husband when it came out. I love horror films, but do get scared. To this day I cannot watch any of the nightmare on Elm Street films, a, because they are mega scary and b, because they chewed Johnny Depp up in the first film. However back to Blair Witch Project. When I first heard it being talked about I was convinced that it was a political program about Tony Blair and it was not till I saw the fake documentary that was shown on TV prior to the release of the film that this view was corrected.
I did not know what to expect from this film and at first was a bit miffed when it started out all shakey. Everything seems all hunky dory as they start out and I began to think I had wasted £5 on coming to see this. Then it gradually began to get more freaky and scary. My husband was still moaning about it being crap and a couple of people had walked out of the cinema, but I stared to get hooked by the film. I found the effects to be very good and the film was atmospheric and once they were fully lost in the woods the creepy feeling really began to build.
I think that this film plays on your basic fears, one of the most primeaval fears we having being alone and lost in the woods. Look at our fairy tales and they tell you that, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and Little Red Riding hood all illustrate that basic fear of dark woods that we have held for thousands of years. This probably stems back to the time when the Christian Church replaced the older druid based religions and priests found it easier to control their followers by convincing them that evil lurked in the forests. The sense of fear felt by the students as they try to find their way out of the forest and are effectively picked off 1 by 1 is palpable. I think that the filming method helped with this, as apparently the film crew terrorised the actors throughout the filming schedule without telling them exactly how the plot would pan out. They relied heavily on improvisation which gives such a realistic feel. This a a technique often used in horror films, the best example that I can think of was the Alien scene with John Hurt. None of the cast was aware of what was going to happen to John Hurt, so the fear and shock shown by the actors was genuine. Heathers snot dripping solo to camera radiated genuine fear and has become an iconic picture and has been parodied many times. That demonstrates the true sucess of this film.
I found the ending to be truly frightening and it gave me nightmares for ages. I was even frightened of going out into the garden late at night for a while. I think that you have to rate this film highly for achieving such a tense and frightening atmosphere with so little in the way of special effects. There is no gore and there is also no mood setting music. I think that this just goes to show that less is more, that when it comes to the fear factor that you can ratchet it up by not showing everything that can happen in 3D blood dripping gore and that by allowing people to use their imaginations and speculate the fear can be just as intense if not more.
I have heard that the original film makers are about to make a sequel. Lets hope they don't sell out to Hollywood (like the other sequel that was made which was crap) and that they keep to the same principals, although I think it will be difficult for them to repeat.
The build up and hype to this film was just incredible. It lasted months, weeks and weeks, you couldn't turn on the tv without seeing mention of it. It almost built a belief that this film was based on true life events, and that it would be the most horrifying tale of terror to ever hit the screens.
The main Cast was (largely unknowns) Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams, and the film was directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick. (not sure why it needed two Directors).
I was so looking forward to watching this film, however after plopping this into the dvd player, the dissapointment just grew and grew.
It was a mix of poor cast and poorer directing. This film seemd to be lacking in almost all areas. There was no horror or suspense in this horror film.
Basicaly the storyline, or plot if you will, centers around a group of three college students who set off on a research trek into the woods, equipped with a few basics, some handheld cams, and were off, in search of finding any truth behind the "Blair Witch legend" and to find out what happened to the previous investigators who were never found.
The film is shot as a self-made documentary style, which you would think would add to the atmospherics. In reality though, this didn't come off, it was quite pathetic, boring, and totally unbelievable. The attempts at trying to create drama by use of a torch during the "scary" moments, was laughable.
The only moment of note, is when Heather Donahue's character confesses to tossing the only map they had into the ditch. Perhaps they should have kept the map on dry land, and thrown themselves in, and saved us all the bother.
In summary, this was a very poor film, and the most horrifying thing is that it lasts as long as it does.
"In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary... A year later their footage was found."
This is the tag line for the incredibly hyped, and in my opinion incredibly scary, 1999 film, The Blair Witch Project.
I can still remember the first time I saw this film; I was living with the ex and he was working nights; a guy from his work had lent him the video (remember them?) and rather stupidly I decided to sit up and watch the film. Alone. In the dark. Big mistake!
I can honestly say that I was absolutely terrified; so scared that I slept with all the lights on in the house that night! I had heard about the film; everyone had I think, there was so much hype about it all over the place; an official website, people saying that they'd been so scared they'd run out of the cinema screaming etc. Well I don't think I would have humiliated myself in public like that, even at the tender age of 19, but I still found the film very, very frightening.
The scariest thing about The Blair Witch Project is that it all seems so real! Incredibly low budget, hand-held cameras, pretty much unknown actors at the time, a story which is quite convincing if you're into your American folk legends, and some really edge-of your-seat moments. By far the most frightening part of the entire film for me was when the group were in the tent and "something" outside was shaking the canvas, and you could hear children's laughter. There's always something very spooky about children's laughter in a horror film! The film also taps into the universal human fears of being lost in a strange place and being trapped.
The lead actress in the film, Heather Donahue (playing a character called, er, Heather Donahue!) is very convincing, especially in the much-parodied scene where she's talking to the camera after being left all alone in the woods. Let's just say there's snot!
The ending of the film was quite anti-climatic I felt, but it was very effective in that it didn't really give you a definite conclusion. Unfortunately this left the way open for the truly dire sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, which lacked all the charm and fear factor of the original; a complete cash-in I felt with no substance whatsoever.
I have seen the film a couple of times since then (in company!) and also the spoof documentary that accompanies the film, "The Curse of the Blair Witch". If you're going to watch the film I would really recommend watching this as well, as it gives some great background to the story of the Blair Witch and the unfortunate main characters in the film. The website is still up and running and well worth a look.
The Blair Witch Project is a low budget horror that was first released in 1999. It is filmed in the style of a documentary following 3 student filmmakers investigating the local legend of the Blair Witch. The tale goes that the Blair Witch was a local man who kidnapped 7 children and murdered them in pairs whilst the seventh child stood in the corner facing the wall. The students set up camp in the forest but soon run into trouble as they get lost in the heart of the creepy woods. Strange stick figures appear hanging from trees and the filmmakers soon realise they are in over their heads.
I don't want to give too much away about this film as the suspense is the best thing about it. The handheld camerawork and use of natural light makes the film feel very much like a documentary and the naturalistic acting of the 3 main characters is much more believable than you would generally expect from a teen horror movie. The short range of a lot of the shots gives the filma really claustrophobic feel as it focuses on the reactions of the characters rather than revealing what they are reacting to. This leaves it up to your imagination which is often more frightening than some CGI monster or psycho in a stupid mask. I would recommend this film to anyone that is tired of the slasher genre and enjoys thrillers such as the Hitchcock classics.
So what exactly constitutes scary then?Its a fairly relevent question these days seeing as people seem to shift from gore & torture to those slowbuild chillers ie"The ring & all those other asian movies just waiting for a hollywood diluting.It seems to switch back and forth every few years influenced by all sorts of trends preferences and even world events strangely enough.
To begin this review id like to go back a bit first to the early eighties,member those?and speak of a peculiar movie called "the shining by the late great "stanley kubrick.I say peculiar of course because seeing this mans approach to filmaking would indeed raise an eyebrow as to how he would translate a very popular "stephen king"novel to the screen,surely not in a conventional way..!!!
Surely was right,for kubrick wasnt interested in cheap frights with lashings of gore,kubrick was interested in something much more real and everyday in us all.
If you have ever spent a few hours alone in an old and strange building with only your mind for company then you will begin to understand what stanley kubricks take on horror was,there is hardly a scene in that movie filmed in darkness yet it is there,creeping in through the walls of the deserted hotel & into the minds of its occupants,slow primal fear of the unknown.
I would suspect on some level that the makers of "The blair witch project"had taken such lessons on board when they decided to embark on this guerrilla style docu horror.This movie has split audiences so much since its release mainly due in fact to the internet hype machine that rolled before it building up unheard of levels of expectation that couldnt possibley be met.Alas the general consensus was one of dissapointment.This though not unfair has blurred some of the really good points this movie has to its credit.Shot by the actors themselves on a shoestring budget this movie does indeed work when met on its own terms,try watching it on your own for example with the lights down & volume slightly up and some of the darker workings do indeed emerge,at first to unsettle you and slowly but surely to remind you of just how real a situation these people are in,alone in the dark wilderness,harrassed by unseen hands and slowly breaking down as their minds fail them an create horrors of their own making.
Having said all this,its still not a movie for everyone and some people might still feel shortchanged come the credits but just think of what you think scary is,is it what you can see or what you cant see..!!
Anyone who has even the slightest trouble with insomnia after seeing a horror movie should stay away from The Blair Witch Project--this film will creep under your skin and stay there for days. Credit for the effectiveness of this mock documentary goes to filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, who armed three actors (Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, and Josh Leonard) with video equipment, camping supplies, and rough plot outlines. They then let the trio loose into the Maryland woods to improvise and shoot the entire film themselves as the filmmakers attempted to scare the crap out of them. Gimmicky, yes, but it worked--to the wildly successful tune of $130 million at the US box office upon its initial release (the budget was a mere $40,000). For those of you who were under a rock when it first hit the cinemas, The Blair Witch Project tracks the doomed quest of three film students shooting a documentary on the legend of the Blair Witch from Burkittsville, Maryland. After filming some local yokels (and providing only scant background on the witch herself), the three, led by Heather (something of a witch herself), head into the woods for some on-location shooting. They're never seen again. What we see is a reconstruction of their "found" footage, edited to make a barely coherent narrative. After losing their way in the forest, whining soon gives way to real terror as the three find themselves stalked by unknown forces that leave piles of rocks outside their campsite and stick-figure art projects in the woods. (As Michael succinctly puts it, "No redneck is this clever!") The masterstroke of the film is that you never actually see what's menacing them; everything is implied, and there's no terror worse than that of the unknown. If you can wade through the tedious arguing--and the shaky, motion-sickness-inducing camerawork--you'll be rewarded with an oppressively sinister atmosphere and one of the most frightening denouements in horror-film history. Even after you take away the monstrous hype, The Blair Witch Project remains a genuine, effective original. --Mark Englehart, Amazon.com