The Blair Witch Project (1999) Poster

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  • In October of 1994, three film students—Heather Donahue (Heather Donahue), Mike Williams (Michael C. Williams), and Josh Leonard (Joshua Leonard)—equipped with a 16mm camera, a Super 8 camcorder, a DAT recorder, and some hiking gear, go into the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland to film a documentary about the legendary Blair Witch. The three are never seen again. A year later, their footage is uncovered. The recovered footage is made into a film in order to show what happened to them in the woods. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Blair Witch Project is based on a screenplay co-written by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, who also co-directed the movie. The movie is shot in faux documentary style. It's this "recovered footage" that forms the basis of the film. A companion piece, Curse of the Blair Witch (1999), a 44-minute mockumentary about the Blair Witch, was released concurrently. Due to the success of The Blair Witch Project, it was followed by two sequels, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) (2000) and Blair Witch (2016) (2016). The film genre which these films popularized has come to be known as "found footage". Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Before the students go searching for the Blair Witch, they interview some of the Birkettsville residents to get a perspective on the legend. The younger residents are rather blasé about the Witch, generally referring to her as a "ghost" or saying that the woods are "haunted" and they don't go there, but basically describing it as a myth or a story that their grandmothers used to tell them to get them to go to bed, i.e., if you walk around the house too much at night, the Blair Witch will come and get you. However, the old-timers are more forthcoming, describing piles of rocks, bundles of sticks, disembowelments, and a hermit named Rustin Parr who lived in a cabin and killed seven children during the 1940s by luring them in twos into his basement where he would make one child stand in the corner while he killed the other after which he killed the second child. In the companion mockumentary, Curse of the Blair Witch, directors Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick attribute the Witch's origin to the ghost of Elly Kedward who, in the late 18th century, was accused of luring several children into her home to draw blood from them. Found guilty of witchcraft, Kedward was banished from the village during a harsh winter, generally sentencing her to death by exposure. By midwinter, all of Kedward's accusers and half of the town's children vanish, and the residents vow to never speak her name again. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • No. The only descriptions of her are offered by Mary Brown (Patricia DeCou), presumed crazy, who describes her as an old woman covered with black fur, and two fisherman (Ed Swanson and Bob Griffin) who describe (1) seeing a white misty thing rise from the water, climb up the side of a tree, and disappear, and (2) a child who described her as an old woman whose feet never touched the ground. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Deer, locals, the Blair Witch herself? It's really unclear. But if the continuity of the Blair Witch videogames applies, it could have been a number of objects or persons under control of the Blair Witch and other forces, like animals. In actuality, the directors and crew were the ones making the noises to simulate the supposed Blair Witch. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Like most of the events in the film, the answer is never explicitly stated, left instead to the viewer's imagination. Thus, there are varying explanations: The foreshadowing throughout the film (knocking over the pile of rocks, getting what appears to be ectoplasm all over his camping gear, etc.) points to the possibility that Josh was kidnapped by forces linked to the Blair Witch legend, be it ghosts of the murdered children, Rustin Parr, or even the Blair Witch herself. Numerous other explanations have arisen, based on speculation, that Josh was even kidnapped by murderous hillbillies (hinted at when Mike suggests hill folk could be messing with them), or he could have simply abandoned Mike and Heather following a nervous breakdown (hinted at when Mike says about Josh "he's losing it"). Edit (Coming Soon)

  • According to information given by the directors in interviews, the bundle contains teeth, blood and hair. Rumours have suggested that the bundle also contains a tongue, but the directors have denied this. There has also been speculation that the bundle contained a tiny piece of Josh's intestine. It is perhaps the Coffin Rock story told earlier in the film (about the men being disemboweled) that has lead to this suggestion. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Josh's cries lead Heather and Mike to an old, abandoned house. Inside, they find on the walls runic symbols and child-sized hand prints. Mike rushes upstairs to look for Josh, then realizes that Josh's cries are coming from the basement and rushes downstairs. Suddenly, his camera falls. Heather follows but finds Mike standing in the corner of the basement, face against a corner wall. Heather begins screaming, apparently realizing what is happening, then goes silent. The camera runs for a few seconds, then dies. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • There are varying explanations to this, none of which are explicitly made clear within the film. At the end of the film, Mike is standing in the corner facing the wall, recalling an early piece of expository dialogue that stated Rustin Parr used to take two children down into the basement and make one face the corner while he murdered the other child. Another speculation, this one offered by the filmmakers on the DVD commentary, is that Heather, Mike and Josh could all have been killed by rednecks, an explanation vaguely hinted at (or perhaps foreshadowed) throughout the film. Other explanations center on (1) it was the Blair Witch herself, (2) the Blair Witch has possessed yet another person (Josh?) who has started up the killing spree again, (3) Josh and Mike were simply messing with Heather, and (4) the students were caught in a time warp that took them back to the 1940s. Ultimately, it is up to the viewer's own imagination as to what happened to the three students and the occurrences within the Black Hills: whether the viewer believes it was supernatural (i.e. the Witch, the Parr paradox, the time warp) or a simpler explanation. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Through the expository dialogue at the start of the film, it is assumed to be the house of Rustin Parr, the Burkittsville child murderer who claimed to be under the influence of the Blair Witch. This "fact" is supported in both the film's sequel, Book of Shadows, and D.A. Stern's companion book, The Blair Witch Project: A Dossier. However, according to the backstory outside of what is mentioned within the film, following the execution of Rustin Parr his house was burnt to the ground by irate Burkittsville citizens. So how then did Mike and Heather find it near the end of the movie if it had been destroyed over fifty years earlier? Like most of the questions in the film there are no solid answers. A widely accepted theory is that Mike, Josh and Heather somehow got trapped or taken back in time by the Blair Witch (or a similar supernatural being), which explains how the house appears to still exist and why they can't get out of the woods. Apparent confirmation appears in the videogame Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr; in 1941, after the destruction of the Parr house, it is revealed that the Black Hills possesses supernatural powers that manages to distort time, briefly sending the main character back in time to the still standing Parr house, where ghostly visions of Mike and Heather being killed in the basement are seen, suggesting that Parr killed them. Whether or not the Rustin Parr Volume should be considered to be in line with the mythological arc of the Blair Witch franchise is both open to viewer interpretation and further study. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The legend of the Blair Witch is fiction although this is something that not even the actors knew when they were making the movie. This was to help get realistic reactions out of them when they were filming. Some claim that the Blair Witch story was inspired by the legend of the Tennessee Bell Witch, but the stories have little in common. Some Marylanders have noted similarities between the Blair Witch story and a real legend around a witch named Moll Dyer who lived and died in Leonardtown, MD, and who supposedly cursed the area. However, it is unknown whether the Blair Witch was truly based on the Dyer legend or just coincidence. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Yes. The videogames reveal that an evil force recognized by the Native Americans as "Hecaitomix" inhabited the hills and forest long before civilization grew there and helped to influence Elly Kedward as she lived out there. In the movie, it is possible that animals, stickmen and various creatures could have done the foul play against the main characters. It is also suggested in the videogames that, when Heather toys with the talismans, she could have opened a time warp back to when Rustin Parr was still killing, resulting in the characters stumbling into the house and possibly meeting their deaths and never being found. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Burkittsville is a real town, but it was never called Blair. Other locations given in the film and its mythology—Coffin Rock, Tappy Creek, the "Black Hills" region of Maryland—are completely fictitious. The forest scenes were not even filmed near Burkittsville; in the movie, the forests are all on flat land, while the only forested areas near the real Burkittsville are on a sloping mountainside. The forest scenes were mostly shot in Seneca Creek State Park near Gaithersburg, Maryland. The house used in the film's final scenes was in Patapsco Valley State Park near Ellicott City, Maryland; it has since been demolished. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Blair Witch Project (1999) is a good example of found footage mockumentary in which a fictitious story is presented as a documentary based on lost or recovered film footage and was probably the most recent movie that led to the popularity of mockumentaries. Following The Blair Witch Project, we've seen Paranormal Activity (2007) (2007), [Rec] (2007) (2007), Cloverfield (2008) (2008), The Last Exorcism (2010) (2010), Trolljegeren (2010) (Trollhunter) (2010), Grave Encounters (2011) (2011), V/H/S (2012) (2012), and Supernatural Activity (2012) (2012). If you'd like to see found footage movies released before The Blair Witch Project, look into Cannibal Holocaust (1980) (1980) and The Last Broadcast (1998) (1998). Some non-spooky found footage pictures that deal with man's inhumanity to man are Zero Day (2003) (2003), Snow on Tha Bluff (2011) (2011), The Dirties (2013) (2013), and Mockingbird (2014) (2014). Edit (Coming Soon)

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