The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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.
Number of views: 9.

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  1. This is one of those films that is never the same after the first viewing. Once you have seen it, then you can start to see it differently and the 'magic' of the first time is gone.

    Was good, though. The sequel, not so much.

  2. People that see this movie today for the first time really do miss out on the atmosphere surrounding the film back in 1999 (I too can’t believe it has already been ten years). I never saw the websites about the film but remember the specials on TV and the interviews and even the angry guy that was upset about the movie because he didn’t want the world seeing the last moments of his brother’s life on the big screen.

  3. I saw it in the theater and it was one of the scariest movies I had ever seen. I just watched it recently for the first time since then, with all the lights out and the sound cranked and it still scared the crap out of me. I think I'll give it another 10 years before I watch it again though.

    Great review!

  4. I agree with every single word you say, Carl. I love Blair Witch and think it is one of the most important horror films of the 90's, and it really changed the game as far as advertising and marketing goes.

    I loved all of the mystery that was made up surrounding the story, and I even enjoy watching the Curse of the Blair Witch TV special as much as I enjoy the film itself.

  5. Im a big fan of it, so I fully agree with your rating! The last few minutes are bonechilling if youve stuck to the movie from the beginning.

    I dont neccesarily think the concept was stolen, Id say the makers of Blairwitch were influenced by Cannibal Holocaust.

    Even down to the the faux news reports, for Cannibal Holocaust, the director had the main actors dissapear from the public so everyone would think these kids had really been eaten alive.

    IT was only after he was taken to court and accused of possible manslaughter that he let out the fact that the actors were still alive.

    I remember after I left the theater from watching Blairwitch, a group of kids were saying it was all real and that it was all found footage...I guess that promotional campaign really worked!

  6. I LOVE this movie. I'm actually a fan of the sequel also. Not many people are. 10 across the board.

  7. I agree with you Carl. I'm maybe not quite as enthusiastic about this one, but it's a genius film and deserves a lot more credit than it receives. And as it turns out is extremely influential to post 2000's horror. It took a while for found footage to truly catch on, but it's going full steam now.

    I'm excited for you to see Paranormal Activity then, since the subtlety and "boringness" of it is one of its strengths. Don't worry about missing it in theatres; I think it will be super fun to watch at home in the dark.

  8. Amazingly, we actually have a sitter planned for Sunday and we are going out with friends to see it in theaters! This marks my first trip to the movies since MBV3D lol.. Man I suck..

  9. We should all do a post where we pit BWP vs Paranormal. It'd be interesting to see how much people loved both, hated both or liked one over the other.

  10. I am all for it, maybe in the form of a poll? I think PA will be right up my alley, loved REC and CLOVERFIELD (though I dont count DIARY)