Another movie review for this go around, and a horror flick that I saw when it first came out. The Blair Witch Project,
The Blair Witch Project was a unique film in that it attempted to create a real life situation. During the late 90s, people didn’t have cell phone cameras like they do now, so finding old video as a lost crime scene is rather interesting. It’s sort of been watered down now, especially with a sequel to Blair Witch, five Paranormal movies, and even J.J. Abrams Cloverfield which used cell phone cameras to track the movements of a group of people as New York was being ravaged by some giant monster that landed on Earth. Blair Witch might seem like old hat, but it was quite new and used the internet quite well to it’s advantage.
The movie itself was simple. Three film students go into the woods in a New England setting, carrying camera equipment with them to document the the locations and possible reports of sightings of The Blair Witch. When the film is recovered, it’s determined the three never survived. We never see what the actual thing is that kills them, nor do we actually get a sense of them dying or being killed. But, we’re given lots of evidence to that effect.
Instead of being filmed in amazing wide screen format, it’s filmed in standard television size. As I mentioned before, the film used the internet to it’s advantage, which was great considering that the internet was just getting into it’s own by the time the film came out. The promos used to promote the film, which was incredibly low budget, were set up to look like witness accounts of what happened, treating the story like it was real. The acting itself wasn’t the best, unless you take into account the three “stars” were playing the role of everyday college students.
The true downside to this movie was how much it was overhyped, being touted as having a budget around $50,000 dollars or some such low number. There was even a rumour that the entire thing was paid for with credit cards. In the end, the hype became more than what the movie was, and completely became overblown. The movie was good, it had suspense, but the hype made it seem more than what it was which was disappointing. Avoid the second movie, because it was trying to recapture the feeling of the original, even though it treated the original like a movie that the main cast had seen. Basically, one of the main characters cashed in on the hype of the original and that was the plot. Oh, and he had tours of the area with those hungry to see something and even brought his own video and audio equipment.
Since Blair Witch, the use of handheld cameras and even web cameras has been very over done (Paranormal, which is into it’s fifth movie now). While a good movie, it wouldn’t be one to end a Halloween horror fest with. Start with it, maybe. I guess there was one good thing which really came out of the Blair Witch Project. That was the parody movie, The Blair Thumb Project, which recreated the movie with a cast of thumbs. Should check that out sometime.