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Blair Witch Project

Horror movie directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez

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Hands-down one of the scariest films ever made.

  • Oct 9, 2011
**** out of ****

"The Blair Witch Project" is among the simplest, most frightening, and most visionary horror films I've ever seen. It's the kind of feature that some will, no doubt, find to be somewhat silly; but it's also one of those movies where I lose all ability to care about what others think. In the end, my opinion matters to me; and my opinion is that this film is genius in how it presents itself and toys with various and common fears. It's scary in a sense that was groundbreaking for its time; taking a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"-esque approach to its subjects and diving head-first into all-out, but surprisingly human and relatable terror. It's an exercise in pure horror; with a keen eye for intense drama and even some mildly likable characters and engaging sub-plots. It's nothing more than a horror film, and I openly accept that. But when it comes down to horror and whether a genre film can horrify in ways that don't involve graphic rape or decapitation, this one's kind of brilliant.

No doubt, I'll surely remember it; and for all the right reasons. If it gives me nightmares - and it's very doubtful that it will, since no horror film has so far - then so be it. This is the reason I like this genre; to be scared, to be terrified, to relate to the horror that's all around us. Much of "The Blair Witch Project" is filmed in a place where we've all been countless times, and will be many times to come. When we return, we'll never forget the film and its ever-lasting impact. Whether you enjoyed it or not, that will certainly be your first reaction; to remember what you experienced when you watched it. Perhaps this will help you to appreciate it; horror is at its finest when it comes through sheer realization. In a world where most horror is either dumbed-down or far too sadistic to be truly engaging in terms of scare-factor, this is a great genre picture that defied clichés and created a style that, by now, is to be considered a tad over-used.

The Blair Witch is a story lost in time; a piece of adult fairy-tale-esque lore that exists only if you want it to. The legend is seldom explored or chased, but trios of film students is curious and decides to dig as deep as they possibly can into the mystery surrounding the story. The threesome consists of Heather, Mike, and Josh. They start what is presumed to be a "student film" by interviewing local residents of Burkittsville, Maryland; where the legend originated. They get some different reactions; one man seems to think that the story itself is nothing more than a legend, while another man tries to convince the students to turn back. They don't.

This begins the fascinating descent into hunting down the infamous tale of the Blair Witch; a murderous figure who would kill off young children while the presumably "next victim" would stand in a corner, looking away, and awaiting their turn. The students camp out in the woods in which these events took place, and things seem to be going well at first. There's little tension between the three, their map tells them where they're heading and where to get back, and they don't suspect that this legend is anything to worry about. However, it starts with noises in the night; twigs snapping, the wind. The students perceive these noises to be footsteps; and they run, run, run. Things just get weirder from here on out, so if you aren't a fan of frights in the way of noises, screaming, and cliff-hanger endings; then this film may not be for you.

Oh, darn me; I mentioned the "cliff-hanger ending". I shouldn't have done that. Well anyways, I did, so, I'm guessing you want an explanation. This is as much as I can provide you with; the ending is as universally discussed and appreciated as it is despised. It's an ambitious, ambiguous climax that completes the cycle of fear by giving no clear answers; no easy getaways. We must think for ourselves (oh, how frightening!), and since there are only a number of theories that we can truly pick from, we must succumb to the fear and praise "The Blair Witch Project" for all it is worth. You may call it derivative, which it isn't; I call it one of the scariest movies I've seen, and will ever see, if only for the ending alone; one which I will surely never shake from my memory. Oh, joy.

I hope the filmmakers responsible for this remarkably atmospheric film eventually make something else with their time. They can make more quality products; because with this here film, they really succeeded in creeping us out with sound and thought rather than sight. You don't "see" the horror. There may not even be any horror whatsoever. Maybe the characters are merely going crazy. We will never know, and that, in itself, is quite frightening indeed. In short, this is simply low-budget horror filmmaking done right; an experience worth experiencing, a film worth watching, and it's outstanding for what it wants and tries to be - and ultimately is. If you can't seem to fathom the material and think intellectually about the skill and craft that went into making it as scary as it is, then go stand in the corner.

*Oh, and despite any claims that say otherwise, this film is not an unedited collection of the horrors that befell those three students; the horrors never befell them in the first place. The film and its material are entirely fictitious, but as for the legend, it's all in the dark.

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October 16, 2011
I liked this one too; it paved the way for REC and Paranormal Activity....too bad it also opened to door to gimicky movies....nice one!
More Blair Witch Project reviews
review by . November 10, 2004
How in the world can people consider this to be one of the scariest movies of all time? There are tons of other films that rely on the viewer using their imagination to move a story along that are so much better than this. "Signs" never gives you a visual of the alien until well into the movie, but it works on your mind. "The Others" has more twists and turns in it without special effects than "The Blair Witch Project" could muster in a film and a mockumentary.    What I saw …
review by . January 16, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
"In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary......a year later their footage was found"So begins the load of tripe that is THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Ah, but it is wonderful tripe all the same!!!THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was marketed as being the real thing, but what heartless... would release in cinemas the last days of three young teenagers who were murdered in the woods? Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua …
review by . May 28, 2000
Pros: Marketing, Improvisation, Concept     Cons: "Cinematography", Dialogue, Everything Else.     If you do, than you're going to be disappointed with this movie.      Heather, Josh, and Mike all head into the woods in Maryland for a couple of days to learn the truth of the Blair Witch, filming the entire time. This product is supposed to be Heather's senior thesis or something. Anyway, they get to the woods, and all of a sudden …
review by . May 28, 2000
Pros: Marketing, Improvisation, Concept     Cons: "Cinematography", Dialogue, Everything Else.     If you do, than you're going to be disappointed with this movie.      Heather, Josh, and Mike all head into the woods in Maryland for a couple of days to learn the truth of the Blair Witch, filming the entire time. This product is supposed to be Heather's senior thesis or something. Anyway, they get to the woods, and all of a sudden …
review by . February 03, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: requires use of imagination     Cons: moronic dialogue     I first heard about the Blair Witch Project on NPR. The story talked about a low budget flick that was scaring America's youth. The story stated that many of the audience members interviewed said that Blair Witch Project was the scariest movie they'd ever seen. AND, this movie scared them without gory special effects. The use of sound scared the audience. This caused an eyebrow to raise as I …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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The Blair Witch Project
Anyone who has even the slightest trouble with insomnia after seeing a horror movie should stay away fromThe Blair Witch Project--this film will creep under your skin and stay there for days. Credit for the effectiveness of this mock documentary goes to filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, who armed three actors (Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, and Josh Leonard) with video equipment, camping supplies, and rough plot outlines. They then let the trio loose into the Maryland woods to improvise and shoot the entire film themselves as the filmmakers attempted to scare the crap out of them. Gimmicky, yes, but it worked--to the wildly successful tune of $130 million at the box office upon its initial release (the budget was a mere $40,000).

For those of you who were under a rock when it first hit the theaters, The Blair Witch Project tracks the doomed quest of three film students shooting a documentary on the Burkittsville, Maryland, legend of the Blair Witch. After filming some local yokels (and providing only scant background on the witch herself), the three, led by Heather (something of a witch herself), head into the woods for some on-location shooting. They're never seen again. What we see is a reconstruction of their "found" footage, edited to make a barely coherent narrative. After losing their way in the forest, whining soon gives way to real terror as the three find themselves stalked by unknown forces that leave piles of ...

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Genre: Horror
Release Date: January 25, 1999
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: October 22, 1999
Runtime: 1hr 27min
Studio: Lions Gate
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