Day #14: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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The Blair Witch Project (1999) IMDB

Synopsis:

[From IMDB:] Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

My take:

As with The Strangers, I can’t help but acknowledge that The Blair Witch Project has a place in my own personal history of horror.

This movie came out at a time when I still had a dial-up internet connection. I know this, because I distinctly remember sitting up late at night reading all the bits and pieces on the movie’s website while I waited for the .mov files to download. And so it is that I was one of the many people completely sucked in by the promotional campaign for this movie, well before I’d seen it (so, kudos to their promotions team!).

Another thing I remember is being one of the unfortunate people that got motion sick while watching the movie – and even revisiting it for this review had me feeling a bit queasy at times. I’m less inclined to give kudos for that.

Unlike The Strangers, I don’t think that The Blair Witch Project has really stood up to the test of time. It’s still enjoyable – and I give all the credit in the world to Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams for their acting, which went a long way to selling the idea that the movie was actually found footage – but, I don’t know, I just wasn’t feeling it this time around.

While the pacing of the film generally works with the format, it quickly becomes a bit formulaic. As soon as it was dark, you knew there was going to mean an escalation in the events happening around the three campers; and while this may not exactly be unique to The Blair Witch Project, I couldn’t help but wonder why whatever had them trapped in the woods would work in this manner. Why wouldn’t it just keep them there indefinitely, or get rid of them straight away? I know that this works in narrative terms – I’m just not sure if it worked in terms of the internal logic of the movie.

And while the aforementioned camerawork did a great job of legitimising the found footage format of the movie, it’s hard not to find it a bit lacking 15 years after the fact. This isn’t necessarily a fair criticism, I know; but I also can’t help but acknowledge the impact it had on my most recent viewing.

It’s possible that someone who hasn’t seen this movie might get more out of it than I did. After all, I’ve seen it quite a few times over the years. But I found myself actually feeling slightly disappointed that it didn’t live up to my memory of it.

Apparently there’s a third Blair Witch movie in production. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out. Let’s just hope it’s more like the original, and nothing like Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, which will have to get its own review treatment at some point.

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One thought on “Day #14: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

  1. Pingback: Day #57: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) |

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