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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Blair Witch Project (1999) - Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez


After the 31 Movies of Halloween review spectacular I had a few months back I decided to take a few  months off from writing. I scribbled out a review or two since then but I haven't figured out a schedule. But for now here is my review of the Blair Witch Project.

In 1999, I begged a group of adults to buy tickets for my friends and I to see the Blair Witch Project. We gave them the money and they bought each of us a ticket. It was amazing. I was about to walk into the most hyped movie of the fall; yeah... I admit it, I was taken by the publicity that surrounded this movie. It was like the first viral marketing campaign. Everyone had some sort of sneaking suspicion that this movie was real. That all of the events were real.

Coming out of the theater that night I realized that I was terrified. It wasn't just hype. It was the way the movie was filmed, and that ending. That ending scares the crap out of me. I really don't like it. It stays on me. Because of that I didn't want to re-watch the movie, but I decided that it was time to revisit the wood of the Blair Witch as seen through the shaky camera lens of three unwitting amateur documentary filmmakers. So, I dusted off the old DVD case and pulled out The Blair Witch Project. I actually received the DVD as a gift years ago and hadn't opened it. Its been sitting in my closet for the longest time.

The Blair Witch Project is a found footage movie about three college students that go into the woods in Burketsville, Maryland to document the tale of the Blair Witch. Needless to say, they run into some trouble and have to try and survive... each other...I mean the Blair Witch! I think... maybe... who knows?

First the bad, the movie runs about fifteen minuets too long. I didn't remember the movie having all of this senseless dialog padding out its run time. Its not horrible, but it could do without.

The movie is creepy all the way from the beginning to the end. There is no soundtrack and the movie just jumps into it. You have, what appears to be raw found footage. The subtle noises in the background are the scariest parts. In the scene where the tent gets shaken, there is someone saying something very faintly in the background but it's not quite audible. You have to really lean in to try to hear what they are saying and then you can hear children laughing and playing. That whole set-up and scene is the second greatest part of the whole experience.

The ending is the best part of the entire movie. The body of the film works solidly enough to lead up this really scary ending. The entire sequence is one of the best  planned out pieces of horror cinema in a long, long time. The movie leaves you with all sorts of questions and that is the beauty of it, the viewer isn't supposed to figure anything out about the Blair Witch, we are only seeing what the young adults in the movie are seeing.

The gore in the movie is pretty non-existent. The film relies mostly on the subtle scares to get you. There is a scene with a few pieces of what looks like a molar and something nasty but its really fast.

If you haven't seen The Blair Witch Project then you should. It is a solid film. It didn't need a sequel and it doesn't need the Scottish remake that is currently being produced. The movie is a perfect piece of horror cinema and stands alone. Anyone who says otherwise is just butt-hurt that they were taken in by the ruse the movie played pre-release. I can safely say this movie gets a good 8 in my book. This is a scary f'ng movie. It definitely has a place in the 1001 horror movies you need to see before you die.

TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE JOSH!!!

S!D


  • The actors were given a 35 page overview of the film. All of the lines in the movie are improvised and all of the surprises were real to them. It was actually the directors, scaring the actors at night.
  • In the promotion for the film, the producers claimed that the film was real.
  • The film reached the highest grossing independent movie of all time, and beat out Halloween. However, it was surpassed in 2002 by My Big Fat Greek Wedding.