The
Blair
Witch
Project
 (1999)



 


(Fig1)
 
 ‘The
Blair
witch
Project’
is
a
‘found‐footage’
horror
film,
that
was
directed
 by
Eduardo
Sanchez
and
Dan
Myrick.
The
story
revolves
around
three
film
 students
who
go
out
into
the
woods
to
film
a
documentary,
looking
for
any
truth
 in
‘the
Blair
Witch’
myth,
never
to
return.
All
that
remains
are
the
cans
of
footage
 they
shot
before
they
disappeared,
discovered
a
year
after
the
trio
set
off.
The
 footage
begins
like
a
mundane
home
video
with
snippets
of
documentary
and
 ends
as
a
motion
sickening,
chilling
nightmare.
 Using
unbelievably
low
production
values,
the
three
actors
essentially
 film
the
story
themselves
on
one
colour
video
camcorder
and
one
black
and
 white
16mm
film
camera.
(Fig2.)
‘[The
Three
actors
were]
dispatched
into
a
forest
 with
rough
directions
and
fragments
of
script,
strictly
on
a
need­to­know
basis.
 Then,
by
night,
the
crew
contrived
to
scare
them
witless.’
(Romney,
1999)
The
 result
is
a
very
realistic
depiction
of
three
lost
teens
in
a
forest
slowly
becoming
 more
paranoid
and
ultimately
hysterical
with
fear.
Their
camera’s
become
the
 only
things
left
in
the
world
to
ensure
they
ever
existed
as
people
before
they
 vanished,
having
seemingly
been
hunted
by
something.

 


Written
by
Emily
Clarkson


(Fig2)
 The
build
up
from
the
beginning
of
the
film
is
steady,
deliberate
and
well
 paced.

The
kids
adventure
is
so
well
intentioned
and
authentic,
it
could
happen
 to
anyone.

The
development
of
plot
is
completely
compelling
what
with
the
 actors’
ability
to
be
utterly
human
about
everything
that
happens.
Fraying
 tempers
when
the
map
goes
walk‐about.
Arguments
at
how
long
it’s
taking
to
get
 back
to
the
car.
Poor
decision‐making,
denial
of
the
situation,
nicotine
 withdrawal
fuelled
mood‐swings
and
so
on.
 As
the
story
darkens,
so
increases
the
primal
fear
of
the
shadows,
 inexplicable
noises
in
the
dark,
and
heightening
tension
without
really
displaying
 anything
extremely
supernatural.
Most
of
it
is
suggested
and
then
amplified
by
 the
actors’
reactions
to
the
situation
before
them.
‘Because
their
imaginations
 have
been
inflamed
by
talk
of
witches,
hermits
and
child
murderers
in
the
forest,
 because
their
food
is
running
out
and
their
smokes
are
gone,
they
(and
we)
are
a
 lot
more
scared
than
if
they
were
merely
being
chased
by
some
guy
in
a
ski
mask.’
 (Ebert,
1999)

Adding
to
the
myths
and
the
horrible
legends
playing
on
the
backs
 of
everyone’s
minds,
the
most
inane
items
happened
across
throughout
the
film
 become
all
the
more
troubling.
‘It's
strong
on
disturbing
throwaways
(stick­figure
 dolls,
child­sized
handprints,
something
unidentifiably
bloody)’

(Empire,
N/A)
 Cold
shivers
creep
up
in
the
first
instance,
when
‘insignificant’
piles
of
rocks,
 similar
to
old
ones
seen
earlier,
suddenly
appear
outside
the
tents,
one
for
each
 teen‐
as
though
they
have
been
marked
for
prey.
 
After
such
a
well
put
together
build
up,
the
films
closure
is
somewhat
 sudden.
Events
are
picking
up
speed,
the
urgency
is
incredible
and
it
appears
 there
is
about
to
be
a
break
through
and
the
truth
revealed.
But
in
the
shrieks,
 crashing
cameras
and
shadows
something
happens
so
quickly,
blink
and
it
is
 missed.
A
very
keen
eyed
viewer
might
see
something…
but
what
they
may
have
 seen
could
be
another
matter
entirely.
As
is
pointed
out
by
reviewer
Roger
Ebert
 ‘"The
Blair
Witch
Project"
is
a
reminder
that
what
really
scares
us
is
the
stuff
we
 can't
see.‘

(Ebert,
1999)
And
that
is
precisely
why
it
makes
such
a
good
horror
 film.
What
seeing
very
little
incurs
is
a
permanent
mark
in
the
subconscious
that
 camping
in
legendary
haunted
woods
is
never
a
good
idea.

 
 


Bibliography


 
 Romney
Jonathan
(1999)
Blair
Witch
Project:
Jonathan
Romney
on
all
things
that
 go
cult
in
the
night
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/1999/aug/23/edinburghfilmfestival.festivals?I NTCMP=SRCH
 


Written
by
Emily
Clarkson


Empire,
(N/A)
The
Blair
Witch
Project
 http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=5094
 
 Ebert,
Roger
(1999)
The
Blair
Witch
Project
 http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19990716/REVIE WS/907160301
 
 Pictures
 
 Fig1:
Bfi
(2012)
The
Blair
Witch
Project
 http://explore.bfi.org.uk/4ce2b822587b0
 
 Fig2:
IMDb
(2012)
The
Blair
Witch
Project.
 http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3207313664/tt0185937
 


Written
by
Emily
Clarkson


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