The Blair Witch Project (1999)

theblairwitchproject_1999_poster
  • Time: 86 min
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery
  • Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
  • Cast: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

Storyline:

Three film students set out into the Black Hills Forest to make a documentary on the legendary Blair Witch. Armed with a 16mm camera, a Hi8 video camera, and a DAT recorder, every step, word and sound is captured. After wandering around the Black Hills Forest, Heather, Josh, and Mike are cold, lost and hunted. Finally, one night after the last ray of light had left the forest black, they were never to be seen again. One year later, a bag full of film cans, DAT tapes, and video tapes were found. The behind the scenes, video footage and the film, are cut together, and this is…”The Blair Witch Project.”

3 reviews

  • The movie The Blair Witch Project was an outstanding movie. It was so scary that you were on the edge of your of your seat the whole time. The thing that I didn’t like about it was the camera never stopped moving around.

    This movie is so scary that it made it seam like you were the one being chased. One of the most scariest parts of the movie was when of the guys was found missing. Through that whole night, you could hear things that were very scary. The next morning the girl found a bundle of sticks outside of the tent and inside the sticks was the guys fingers.

    The bad thing about the movie is that the movie was shot by and eight millimeter camera. Throughout the movie the camera is shaking. One time it was really bad was when they were being chased by the Blair Witch at night. You couldn’t even see anything, once in a while you could see a tree. Some people say that they got motion sickness.

    In conclusion, I think that the Blair Witch Project was a great movie, even though it had a down side. However, the scaryness over came the shaking of the camera.

  • In 1999, two young filmmakers scared the living daylights of moviegoers with a horror film unlike any other. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez shot The Blair Witch Project with the tiniest of film budgets and released the film in one of the most bizarre marketing campaigns ever, propelling the independent film to a remarkable box-office success. This is what happened:

    In 1994, three student filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams) decided to make a documentary that explored the local legend of the Blair Witch. They hiked into Maryland’s Black Hills Forest with cameras and were never heard of again. One year later, their footage was found and pieced together by Myrick and Sanchez. The Blair Witch Project became their legacy. Because of the nature of the film and the mystery of its marketing, the film is thought to be a true video recording of what happened during that fateful hike.

    Unlike other more conventional forms of horror, The Blair Witch Project does not hold up well after a decade. This is because as it ages, it gets less appealing. With the accessibility of digital cameras and video technology, anyone can make such a film, post it on You Tube, and get either instant gratification or immediate disparagement. Yes it is probably the most innovative horror innovation since John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), but The Blair Witch Project has over the years lost its ability to deceive and scare viewers.

    Shot with two unsteady handheld cameras (one in color, the other in black-and-white), The Blair Witch Project was the original inspiration for Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield (2008). This technique gives viewers a nauseating, stomach-churning feeling throughout, something which I admired in Cloverfield but detested in The Blair Witch Project. At least the former was entertaining, but that cannot be said of the latter which is an example of execrable filmmaking at its finest.

    There is an absence of depth and substance in The Blair Witch Project. Yes, one can argue that it is in the nature of such a film which makes it not require any kind of depth and substance. However, to categorize something as ‘film’, there needs to be a degree of professionalism to how it is being done. Characters and the narrative must be adequately developed. The Blair Witch Project exhibits near emptiness; it is an amateurish, long-drawn video clip that, in my opinion, has one of the lowest scare quotients for a horror flick.

    The film will appear creepy to most as it plays on our fears of the unknown. It builds tension through silence which is occasionally punctuated by strange sounds and the use of darkness adds to the eeriness. Yet the most chilling scene happens in the day when the trio discovers human-like impressions made using leaves and twigs, and hung using nettings and ropes. But for the rest of the film I wish to say, “I wanted to be scared, but I couldn’t.”

    GRADE: F (2.5/10 or 1 star)
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  • It ends with a scream. Perhaps it will be one of many. Perhaps the last scream is from your own lips. Make no mistake, The Blair Witch Project is one of the more terrifying cinematic excursions any viewer can make.

    Written, directed and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, The Blair Witch Project is a crafty piece of filmmaking — fiction passing as reality. In 1994, three student filmmakers set out to Maryland’s Black Hills Forest to shoot a documentary on the local legend of the Blair Witch, who is thought to be responsible for the disappearances and deaths of several children in the Forties. The three filmmakers disappear into the woods and are never heard from again. What we see onscreen is meant to be their recovered footage.

    Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard play Heather, Michael and Joshua. Heather is the director whose interest in the mythology of the Blair Witch has led to this project; Michael and Joshua are the sound man and cinematographer along for the ride. Footage from the first day shows them as affable teens with Heather a bit more determined than the others. They chat with the town’s residents about the local legend. Some believe it, some don’t. One woman claims she encountered the Blair Witch, whom she describes as covered in fur. One amusing — and perhaps prophetic — scene has a mother talking about the Blair Witch and her baby daughter covering her mouth, as if the very mention could cause her to disappear.

    Day two begins the nightmare from which they can never wake up. It passes innocently enough — they hike into the woods and set up camp for the night. It will be the last time they sleep so undisturbed. The next day, the guys sense that Heather, who has taken them off the map trail, has no idea how to get them back. She insists she knows where they are and they keep on walking. They come upon a patch of land with a small pile of rocks. That night, they hear a strange noise — is it a low howling? a child’s cry? But the darkness reveals nothing.

    They’re absolutely lost now, the map has disappeared and their nerves are becoming ever more frayed. The guys just want to get out and so does Heather but new discoveries keep her and her camera intrigued — three piles of rocks that weren’t there before, a section in the forest where sticks in the shape of figures hang from trees, a bundle of sticks which reveal a bloody tattered piece of clothing. They’re lost, they’re hungry, the night are becoming more and more horrific. One of them will disappear and all will end in an abandoned house somewhere deep in the forest, a house with handprints on its walls.

    So is the legend true? Perhaps the dark is nothing but dark. Perhaps it’s only their own imaginations playing tricks on them. But what of those piles of rocks? Or the sticks bundled together? Just creepy coincidences? The canniness, of course, of The Blair Witch Project is how it taps into our fears of the dark, the woods and what can happen when you’re lost in uncharted territory. An allegory of Vietnam, anyone? Or an extension of a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm?

    In any case, The Blair Witch Project succeeds in injecting terror at its most primitive level. The formula sometimes gets repetitious and Heather’s incessant I’m-right attitude may drive you up the wall, but you will be afraid of the dark. Despite yourself, you will be afraid.

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