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The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project

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Published by AlexEdmonds
Cutting Edge Film Programme
Cutting Edge Film Programme

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Categories:Types, Reviews
Published by: AlexEdmonds on Feb 24, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Cutting Edge Film ReviewThe Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project is a low-budget independent film released in 1999. It is apsychological, supernatural horror film that was jointly written and directed by Daniel Myrickand Eduardo Sanchez, and was their first film. It did not use special effects, had no sets andwas filmed by hand-held camera in the style of an amateur video recording, which was soconvincing that it had audience members believing that what they had seen was a real,discovered documentary video film. The fact that the characters had the same names as theactors added to this belief. Some people have called it the
scariest movie ever made
 A message at the start of the film tells the audience that what they are about to see isvideo footage found a year after three students disappeared. The students, Heather, Mikeand Josh, were making a documentary in Black Hills Forest in Maryland, at a place called
Burkittsville, formerly known as Blair. The subject of the students’ film was the Blair Witch, a
local legend, supposedly responsible for a number of gruesome murders. The townsfolk tellthe students about Rustin Parr, a strange man who lived in the woods and murdered sevenchildren. He claimed he was told to do this by the ghost of Elly Kedward, an 18
centurywitch. After entering the woods, the three filmmakers become lost and, as their videoprogresses, so the fear of being alone in the dark woods and the tensions between themincrease.
Figure 1
The way the film is made, using a hand held video recording camera, adds to the authenticfeel. There are jumpy transitions as if someone had turned the camera off abruptly duringfilming, then on again later. Sometimes the screen is black and the audience can only hear what is going by way of creepy, supernatural noises or the panicky, frightened voices of thethree people. The audience has to use their imagination and this is what adds to thescariness.-
“At other times, the action depicted is chaotic and difficult to piece together, often because
the person doing the filming is running or unsure what to capture. It's not hard to understand why these segments work so well - they rely on the imagination to fill in the pictures, and what our minds conjure up is always more horrifying than anything the filmmakers can put onscreen (even with today's special effects technology). Also, this seemingly haphazard and "unprofessional" approach gives the audience a "you are there" feeling that draws them intothe experience, making everything that transpires more shocking and immediate that it 
would seem in a conventional format.” 
- J.
Berardinelli, 2012The film is not only about people getting lost in the woods and never being seen again. It isalso about the psychological stress on a close group of friends, and the way their relationships and mental states begin to break down under the pressure of knowing they arein a desperate situation.-
“The scenes as each of the three are gradually broken down contain a great deal of 
emotional rawness and a realism that one is never likely to see in your average stalker movie
like Heather Donahue’s hyster 
ia at finding the same stream again and realising that they have just travelled in a circle, or her outburst at finding that Mike kicked the map away.Far more so than any psychological ghost story, the film is a study in the psychologica pressures of a g 
roup lost in the wilderness.” 
- R. Scheib, 200?
Figure 2
 Although made on a very low budget, the Blair Witch Project ended up being a hugelyprofitable film. The hand held video camera technique, filmed in the dark forest setting, in anamateurish way, with improvised dialogue from unknown actors, gives the film the sense of being genuine, recently discovered video footage. The audience gets massive spine-tinglingfrights and scares as they try to work out what happened to the missing trio
the studentswho were warned about the haunted woods, but still went in there anyway.
“The Blair Witch Project is the mani 
festation of every scary childhood story and urban
legend. The film’s rough edges made it seem entirely plausible and yet still fantastic. A pop
culture phenomenon that inspired an entire generation of filmgoers, The Blair Witch Project will be fondly remembered for quite a long time. In addition, the film is a triumph of AmericanIndependent cinema, having been produced for about $750,000 and grossing $248,639,099
making it one of the most profitable films ever made.” 
Ajay, 2011
Figure 3Figure 4

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