BLAIR WITCH always gets so much crap, ranging from the slow pacing, uneventful action, lack of any physical representation of the entity, all the way to the fact that the concept was "stolen" from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. I completely disagree on all points, and feel that every one of the complaints are the actual strengths of the film. As for the concept being stolen, is it that much of a stretch to believe that someone else might have had the same idea? Even if it was influenced by Deodato's film, the supposedly found footage idea is pulled off flawlessly in this effort. Where to start..
The execution of the film and particularly the advertising campaign were nothing short of genius. There wasn't a person in the world that didn't buy into the fact that the footage was real. What sold the point even further was how genuine and real the characters are. These are not actors. No part of the film is acted. Heather, Mike, and Josh are real, from their flawed features and unscripted dialogue to their raw emotion and fear. Ten years later (has it been 10 years??), the events on screen feel just as authentic and chilling as they did for audiences on opening night. I share in the trios laughs, terror, and desperation in every viewing. While many grow tired of watching three people walk around in circles for over an hour, it is the lack of action and subtle scares that make this a believable scenario. The fact that literally nothing happens for extended periods of time is exactly what you would come to expect from a group of teens that are lost in the woods for days while they are stalked by unseen entities at night. I will be the first to admit that I get bored at times towards the end of the film, however conceptually it was the absolute right choice to make in establishing authenticity. There are also many brilliantly scripted moments that establish why the team continues to film despite the fact that they are completely lost.
Outside of the minimalist production that was used to make the film feel real, I also find the night scenes to be absolutely terrifying. The faint cracking noises in the woods, the children's laughter, the intensity of the reactions to the events surrounding them, each of these simple techniques are extremely effective in setting a sinister and creepy mood while sending shivers down your spine.
The fact that all of this was done with less than nothing for the budget solidifies the film as a complete success in my eyes. It is convincing, it is frightening, and I consider it to be entirely unique for the time. Say what you will, but we all know that the commercials, faux news reports, and website were enough to get your ass in the theaters to see the film. I love the film, and I will defend it 'til my death, though I cannot blame anyone for disliking it since this particular style seems to be quite subjective amongst Horror fans. I dare anyone that hasn't see it to crank up the volume, turn off the lights, and come back saying that you didn't piss your pants a little.
Rating: 10/10. Yes, that is a 10.
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