The Blair Witch Project (1999) Poster

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Tense, unsettling, original, intelligent, short, cheap.
Lloyd-233 November 1999
This film is not a feature film. For a start, it is not feature length, also, it is not shot on film. More importantly, it does not have what feature films have these days: star actors, special effects, exotic locations, explosions. Instead, seeing B.W.P. is seeing something else that a cinema can be: a place where people can share an intimate experience created by a few people on a tight budget. I would be glad of its success if only for that reason.

The first section of the film appears at first to be amateurish and slow. In fact, it is very deft, and very efficient at what it does. It tells the audience everything it needs to know about the characters and situation, and nothing more. Also, it gets the audience into the habit of viewing the film's format: alternating between black and white (very grainy and poorly focussed) film, and the washed out colours of shaky pixilated video. The film makers managed to set up a rationale for why the film is so cheaply made. Three people hike into the woods for a few days to shoot a documentary, with borrowed equipment, and are in the habit of videoing everything for the hell of it. They cannot carry tripods, steadicams, dollies, large lighting rigs, or the like, so everything we see is lit either by raw daylight, or by a single light fixed to the camera, which illuminates just what is within a few feet of the lens. The film creates its own excuse to be cheap. This is intelligent.

The acting and script are both excellent. The well-cast actors are presumably playing pretty-much themselves, and are convincingly naturalistic, and neither too likeable or too dislikeable. The slow route into hysteria is well documented. Rather than simply having a character say "We're lost!", we see many scenes which show the trio getting more and more hopelessly lost, and more annoyed with each other for this. By the time they are thoroughly lost, the audience shares the despair.

My friend and I, after seeing it, both felt a little sick. I put this down to my having been tense for a hour, he put it down more to motion sickness. The jerky, badly-framed camerawork is hard on the eye and stomach, but I applaud the director for its uncompromising use. Similarly, no compromise is made with the dialogue. Some of it is very quiet and must be listened for, some is technical jargon, which is left realisticly unexplained.

One of the great strengths and weaknesses of the film is the editing. It is good in that it does much to heighten the tension, with many key moments lasting just a little too long for comfort. Each time the characters find something nasty, the viewer is made to want the editor to cut soon to the next scene, and the fact that he doesn't adds to the sense of being trapped, as the characters are. The problem with this, though, is that one is left wondering about the motives of the fictional editor. In truth, of course, the film is edited to create these effects, and to entertain, but the film's rationale is that these are the rushes of a documentary put together posthumously by someone other than the film's original creator. Why, then, would an editor piecing together such footage, edit for dramatic effect rather than for clarity? Why would he keep cutting back and forth from the video footage to the film footage, when neither shows any more information than the other?

The film is stark. After one simple caption at the start, all that follows is the "rushes". I wonder if the film might not have been improved with an introductory section which documented how the rushes were found and edited. A programme was made for television which did this. Perhaps a portion of this might have been added to the film, making it more complete, and more believable (and proper feature length).

While I applaud the fact that young original film-makers have managed to create a mainstream hit out of a simple idea, well-handled. I dread the possible avalanche of inferior copies which may come.

Most horror films these days are created not for the audience, but for the makers. The departments of special effects, make-up, model-making, animation and so forth all try hard to show potential future employers what they can do. The result is that nothing is left for the audience to do, since everything can be seen and heard, and the viewer's imagination can be switched off. Today, it is possible to see pigs fly on the screen, and so film-makers show off and show us a formation of Tamworths, which is something which will look impressive in the trailer. To show us less is to make our minds fill in the gaps. This way, we create our own terrors, perfectly fitted to ourselves. The ghastly face I see in my head, is the ghastly head which I find scary. The ghastly face I am shown may be one I can cope with quite easily. If I see a believable character screaming in hysterical fear at something I cannot see, my own brain creates demons for my night's dreams, demons far more mighty than anything CGI graphics or a latex mask could portray.

This film will stay in your thoughts for some while.
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Generation Xers head into woods; we view excellent results
deadkerouac17 July 2000
I saw this film last night, LONG after all the hype and reviews were made about it. I settled in with the right mood for any film: no expectations. If you expect too much, you may be let down (take note for any Kubrick film). I watched the entire film without interruption and came out with a great feeling. "The Blair Witch Project" is one darn good movie.

Many critics and moviegoers complained about the film for its length, its amateurish photography/editing, and its lack of adequate acting. I feel these things MADE THE MOVIE. First, the film has to be at most ninety minutes long: any more, and it would be too long and boring. Second, the amateur video take gives the audience the feel that they are actually in the woods, listening to the rippling water of the creek, snapping branches under their boots, and hearing things go bump in the night. I greatly admire the use of two video cameras (one black-and-white, the other color) to denote which character is shooting the film. Lastly, the incessant screaming of whiny Heather, the constant complaining of average-joe Mike, and the Dudley-Do-Rightness of Josh make for great acting. Yes, these are regular people and up-and-coming actors from your local community theater, but YOU KNOW THEM. You've met people like them.

The biggest complaint, however, comes from the film's supposed "lack" of scary moments. This film reminds me of the classic horror film "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," and though not as gory and as shocking as that film, "The Blair Witch Project" shows just enough fright in the group's search for a way out of the woods, stalked by people and/or things they may never understand. In the older film, the long interval between opening credits and first gory act of violence is about thirty minutes long; it is even longer here, but the suspense/fright (just as in the older film) begins right from the opening credits: you just don't see it until the film's over. These are three people out to make a documentary in the woods with handheld camcorders--these are REAL PEOPLE. And GREAT ACTORS. Heather whines a lot and screams and reminds you of the girl you hate so much you fall in love with her. Her screams sound real, her cries are genuine, and she is DEEPLY DEEPLY sorry for bringing the others into the woods in order to film her documentary.

I really dig the beginning. It seems so real to me I may delve into my old home movies for nostalgia. Heather and Josh pick up Mike, then go to the store for supplies. This opening sequence really packs a punch. These are three Generation Xers out for a camping trip. We all know what happens to them, but we're glued to the screen, intent to know what actually happens.

The interviews give us some detail into the Blair Witch legend, but most of the audience is too busy thinking about the actual trek into the woods that they don't listen. This is wrong. Listening is good. The interviews, which also sound real and not rehearsed in any way, are like movie reviews: the critics tell you what they saw, but mostly they don't want to ruin it for you...unless they hated it.

And that's what I'll do. I won't ruin it for you. 8/10.
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Sorry we couldn't supply the eye candy most of you are so used to.....
blackheart1 December 1999
I think I know why Blair Witch has generated as much negative as positive responses. It FORCES YOU TO BECOME INVOLVED IN THE MOVIE GOING EXPERIENCE!

Wow. What a concept. Instead of sitting there like the passive sponges most of us become when going to the movies we are actually expected be become involved. Take a leap of faith/belief or whatever and delve into this movie. Without the overpowering F/X and music score most movies rely on to 'scare' you, if you still have an imagination left what is implied becomes a hundred times scarier than anything offered up by Hollywood in the last 30 years. The hardest thing in movies is to scare you. Not make you jump out of your seat with 5000 watts of sound blasting at 400 decibels (ever seen the 1999 version of the Haunting? Event Horizon? - every potentially tense scene is preceeded by dead silence then the Blast). Wake up people! Blair Witch is the horror movies we have been needing for a long time and I'm glad someone finally had the guts to make it.
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Loved it, but you might hate it
steves9721 June 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Like most movies, whether or not someone likes TBWP will usually depend on what they're looking for. Many people enjoy horror movies because of the special effects, gore, shocks, and, in some cases, the high production value. Since TBWP came from a small independent film company that cost less than a hundred grand to make, can a moviegoer really expect all that and have a good time? I honestly don't think so.

Myrick and Sanchez had a terrific idea for a film: make a frightening mock documentary that was supposed to look like it was done by some amateur college students. Some people seem to be under the impression that the movie was about the witch, when what it really was about the mental and emotional breakdown of the three film students. I feel that once viewers could accept the low production values and the improvised script, only then could they deal with Heather, Josh, and Mike. Until they do that, the film would never work for them.

I just put myself in their position: I'm lost in the woods, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I've got the added stress of returning borrowed equipment. The weather is getting colder, it rains just enough to make life miserable, and something is waking me up each and every night. Now, I'm exhausted, grouchy, scared, and I having troubles thinking clearly.

People might have hated Heather because they she was bitchy and annoying, but all three of them had their moments, good and bad. Many people might have also hated the fact that not everything was explained to them, and that they never got to see the Blair Witch. Many other people may have resented Artisan Entertainment's marketing campaign, although they can't deny just how effective it was. All the filmmakers and actors asked was that filmgoers understand the spirit that was intended; without it, they knew the film couldn't work for anybody.

As you might already tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. What Haxan Films managed to do with what they had is not only revolutionary, but is also inspirational to independent filmmakers everywhere. I found the backstory interesting, the plotline well thought out, and the characters extremely developed, considering the lack of structure and guidelines within the film. If you do decide to see this film, I think you'll enjoy it if you see it for what it simply is, nothing more; it might even scare the hell out of you!
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Gripping, stunning film, the absolute thriller!!
robert-1213 July 1999
Privileged to see a preview of this fantastically terrifying film, I found myself actually feeling the pain and mind-numbing anguish of the characters. At times in the movie, I would find myself trying to peer through the darkness with them, fully realizing that there was absolutely no chance of knowing what was out there. I think that is the most effective aspect of this, the fear of the unknown. I really can't think of anything more frightening than something that has no identity, and so you don't know how to relate or react, and you are forced to suffer through the unknown. A key component also included in this film was the steady decline of human spirit that you witness first-hand. You watch as the characters are broken down to small, scared, hunted animals, and you find yourself shaking your head at how pitiful and helpless they have become, yet you don't feel sorry for them, only agonizing hope that they will escape the fear with at least their lives. Wonderfully created film that, at least for me, an outdoor enthusiast who used to enjoy wandering alone through familiar woods, will always haunt me to the core of my soul when I look around and see nothing but endless woods, unknown sounds, and things that are never seen.
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Not "scary as hell", but still good
Xophianic6 February 2000
I've never seen the tide turn on movie reviews before like I did in THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. First, I heard this movie was the scariest movie since THE EXORCIST, then I heard it was the worst movie of the year. When people thought it might be real, they loved it. Then, when everyone found out it was fake, I heard all sorts of bad things about it.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is about three young filmmakers, Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Josh Leonard (actors with same names as their characters), go out into the woods of Burkittesville, Maryland to do a documentary on the mythical Blair Witch. They are never found, but a year later their footage is discovered, and it seems to indicate that there really was a witch and it was stalking these three filmmakers.

I did not find THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT especially scary, although it was rather spooky. I did think it was good, with an excellent and very original plot. The acting in this movie by the three young kids was very good, especially if the rumors about how they improvised most of it were true. The character development was well done, and you will often find yourself waiting for daylight along with the characters.

Was this movie overhyped? A little, but I think if it wasn't that it wouldn't have been as successful, since the actors, writers and directors are relatively unknown. They did a very good job and I hope to see more works from them in the near future.

Sure, some of the realism could've been better. Even I knew that they should've followed the stream out of the woods instead of going deeper into the forest. And if this was happening to me, I doubt I'd pick up the video camera and tape it all instead of running like hell. But it still worked. I think the scariest part is how you don't see as much as you hear, because often the sound is 10 times worse than the thing making the sound.

This movie isn't too scary, but if you watch it in the middle of the night with all your lights off and alone, it will successfully freak you out. It's worth a rent or a buy, judge for yourself.
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Inventive and terrifying. Will spawn many imitations.
zombie6519 July 1999
With all the hype surrounding this new independent horror film, you might think it would be hard for it to live up to expectations. The Blair Witch Project is probably as scary as it's reputation. Feel free to read on, I do not intend to give away any of the film's secrets or surprises. The less you know about this creepy little chiller, the better.

Filmed on video and 16mm black & white, this film is exactly what the horror genre needs in a time reminiscent of the early 1980s slasher onslaught. The Blair Witch Project has no knife wielding maniacs, no DNA altered monsters, and no real bloodshed onscreen. We see what the three film makers see as they make their way through the deep, dank woods in search of a legendary witch. There are times when there is nothing but a black screen, and all we can do is listen to their scared voices and the unexplained noises going on around them. The true horror behind this film is the unknown, and those dark places where you know something is lurking.

If you are a seasoned veteran of the horror cinema, The Blair Witch Project may be less frightening than for someone who has not seen many scary movies. You will have to respect it's originality, and it's manipulation of our deepest fears. At times the film really makes you feel the sense of dread the film makers are experiencing. One thing I did notice about the audience in the theater is that everyone was very quiet. Except for an occasional gasp, the moviegoers were absorbed in this film. That's unusual for a modern horror movie. Most are full of fake scare tactics and multiple twist endings that keep the audience shouting and screaming at the screen. One thing for sure, you can expect many imitations of The Blair Witch Project in the future. Isn't that how it usually goes?
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An Experiment In Fear
great_sphinx_421 May 2001
Hmm. Wow. What is there left to say? I've waited for most of the hype to die down to even add my comments for this movie to IMDB, and here they are:

This is really a movie that has polarized a lot of people. Many love it and consider it the best thing since sliced bread, and plenty more absolutely hate it and call it tripe, drivel, awful, wretched, the worst ever, etc. (NOTE: as far as I'm concerned, the opinions of anyone calling any movie the best- or even more especially, the worst- movie ever are to be immediately disregarded.) Highly innovative in its way, it spawned many parodies and an interesting but inferior sort-of sequel. In the summer of Star Wars: Episode 1, this was the movie that originated several cultural symbols.

I saw this movie shortly after it opened in wide release. Sitting in a theater surrounded by my friends with popcorn in my lap and watching Mike and Heather run around some creepy old house, I felt for the first and last time in my adult life *real, creeping fear* when I myself was not in danger.

Many have complained about the shaky-cam, the cussing, how nothing 'really happens', and that it's not scary. By and large, the camera is not *that* shaky, at least to the point where you can't understand why- they're tromping through the woods and they're scared half to death. I must not get queasy very easily, as I had no problem with it. As for the cussing- the lines were ad-libbed, the actors are college-age, and all three sound exactly like every American college student I've ever known. So maybe people have a problem with young peoples' language, but what else is new? That's not a flaw of the movie- it's realism and part of why so many more young people found TBWP scary.

I think at least some of the dissention in opinions is caused by generational and cultural differences. My mother's friends told me it wasn't scary, but that 'Psycho' terrified them. 'Psycho', while interesting and a classic, is not the least bit scary to me. 'The Excorcist' has only a couple scenes that I find frightening, but my mom breaks out in goosebumps at the mere mention of it. The scariest thing I ever saw until I watched this movie was a reel in a collection of horror shorts: a woman walks into her house carrying groceries, drops her keys down her heating vent, bends down to try to get them, and something grabs her scarf. She struggles, but within a minute or two, she's drug down and strangled. The scarf goes slack, the woman is lying dead on her floor, and that's it.

TBWP is about what you *can't see*, about how your fear of the unknown is so much worse than what the unknown could probably ever be. The characters were not even necessarily likable, but they were *familiar*- Heather is the girl I sit next to in film class who thinks she has all the answers. Their mundane existence, captured in the beginning of the film, roots them in reality. What happens to them is terrifying because they are so every day, so interchangable with millions of other college kids. And, finally, you never know whether the Witch exists or not. Everything that happens can be explained away by coincidence, pranksters, bats, hunger, exhaustion and imaginations run wild with fear- or you can choose not to explain them away.

Young Americans are not scared of much- school shootings can roll off us like water, the evil human beings inflict on each other is run-of-the-mill 6 o'clock news, we are raised in a culture that claims to worship a vengeful, elitist god while almost everyone is hypocritical and uses the power of spirituality as a way to abuse others. We are in information overload from birth. What we fear is not knowing. And in the Black Hills Woods of Maryland, just beyond the flashlight's reach, something is making strange and terrible noises- but we don't know what it is.
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Haven't you ever been to camp?
Roo1i12 February 2000
This movie scared me in a way that no other has done before. I remember going to camp as a child, and hearing things outside at night. That was scary enough. This movie recreated that entire scenario and then added some to it. The fact that those things that go bump in the night outside your campsite were REAL in this movie makes it more nerve-inducing and frightening. As anyone, the first time I set foot in the ocean after seeing JAWS for the first time, I was nervous. Let me tell you in order to get from the movie theater to my house, I have to drive through the woods. After seeing this movie, that drive got SIGNIFICANTLY longer, more eerie, and scared the heck out of me. I went about 90 mph all the way home in order to get out of the woods! This is one SCARY movie.
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another try
EJK-311 December 2000
well i hated this movie the first time. so one year lated i rented it again to see "what was i missing???"

well i am missing a brain for thinking that it might improve with age or a second time around

it doesn't ==== as a matter of fact it gets worse.

i don't get the big deal -=------ it is NOT scary, NOT entertaining, does NOT hold your interest, it does NOT have good characters, it does NOT make you think. it isn't even mindless fun.

it is just stupid and annoying and a complete waste of time. i guess one can never underestimate the taste of the public at large. this movie deserved to make $0.

i still think the entire budget of the movie went to beer and pizza. and twigs and rocks.

made me save money by NOT going to see Blair Witch 2.
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Not your average horror film
Goreripper21 June 2000
A film which fell foul of its own publicity machine, `The Blair Witch Project' was abhorred and derided by the mainstream film-going public which it became unfortunately directed at due to its extraordinary and outlandish marketing campaign. `The Blair Witch Project' is not a typical film that the typical cinema-going public would normally be exposed to. The camera-work is jerky, the dialogue repetitive and inane and the action virtually non-existent. At times confusing, annoying, irritating and tedious, this film is nonetheless a brilliant piece of arthouse experimental film-making. This movie is virtually all style-there's hardly any plot, no real action, no semblance of a real script-and one that works on a deeper psychological level than the standard mainstream horror film. Indeed, only the very last image in the film is truly frightening, and only if it can be correlated to an incident at the very beginning. The rest of it only becomes scary afterwards, when the audience has had time to consider what they've seen. It is groundbreaking, manipulative cinema made without a script, with an amateur cast and with little or no post-production values. This is a remarkable film which can only really be appreciated, if the accompanying hype is overlooked, as a unique, avant-garde art film and not the regular Hollywood stock it was presented as to the public.
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Most Over-hyped Movie I've Ever Seen
Chasuk16 February 2001
I've seen worse movies, but not many. Yes, I like horror films. Yes, I can distinguish cheap, sensationalistic splatter-horror from from the more chilling, show-less-and-frighten-more variety (and I prefer the latter to the former).

I still hated Blair Witch. I don't lack imagination, but this movie certainly did. I've seen Tampax commercials that filled me with greater fear. The film lacked wit, style, story, plot, suspense, or verve. I don't need expensive cinematography or stellar acting, but a film does need something to redeem itself (other than a sophomoric, if marginally clever, idea), and this film did not have it.

It is unfortunate that a bad movie has come to represent to many the epitome of independent cinema. For a real horror masterpiece, see Ringu (The Ring), which, though it was probably filmed on a larger budget, worked because of talented direction and great storyline.
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Is there a zero option in that voting menu?
psycholemming13 January 2001
Is there? Because if there is, I want to see it. I went to see this movie because all my friends told me that it would scare me. I've never been even remotely frightened by a movie before. This movie didn't even come close to scaring me. It was so unbelievably asinine and stupid that I can't believe it even got picked up for distribution, much less called "great". I can't believe it made the amount of money it did. I should have demanded a refund. Let's put it this way -- if I took a few of my friends into the woods, with a video camera, and made scary noises at them so that they could pretend to scream, it would undoubtedly be scarier and superior to this movie. I'm sorry, but those "blair witch" noises sounded exactly like someone playing a prank on them. A waste of my $7.
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Waste of time..
trumpman3017 April 2002
I spent about an hour and a half sitting around in my living room on halloween waiting for something...anything to happen. Just when I thought it was coming to the big climax at the end in the house, nothing happens....big surprise.

This movie is a complete waste of time..there is nothing scary about it unless you find filming shots of the woods, watching swearing teens, listening to a high pitched annoying girl voice (that was pretty scary), watching film from inside a tent with cheap sound effects playing outside, or watching a wobbly camera run through the woods at night (cant see anything), then you should skip this movie. If I was out in the middle of the woods, I too would decide to throw away my only way of finding my way map. This movie had a weak, if any plot. This movie was one of the biggest let downs I have ever seen, and I've seen "Batman and Robin."

I've never seen BWP 2, but it's anything like this movie, it will be equally bad if not worse, because I would have to waste another 90 minutes of my life.
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The witch has no clothes.
donm-224 March 2001
This one is like the fable about the Emperor and his new clothes. He didn't have any, and the Blair Witch doesn't have any. This thing was awful, I wanted to like it, I expected to like it, I tried to like it, I came away hating it. I saw this thing three times, and while it's got a great idea, and it's not terrible for a student film say, it's far far too long and boring for the one trick it's got to pull, I simply am at a loss as to how so many people can allegedly have loved this thing.
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War of the Woods
rrichr3 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
CONTAINS SPOILERS In Berkeley, The Blair Witch Project generated a lot of a certain type of buzz that will often make me wary and I avoided seeing it during its first run, suspecting that I'd feel the rip of an eight-dollar ticket. After having screened a VHS copy acquired at Yard Sale Videos, I still feel that way a little but not because I didn't like it. Seeing it in a theater would have precluded being able to really watch a film like this the way I prefer to do.

I had to stretch a bit to get past some aspects of the film's setup. The self-filmed documentary approach can't quite carry the movie's weight through its entire length. Some sequences could not have been filmed by any of the protagonists, as was the implication, yet there they were. No one among the three `film makers' could have managed the presence of mind, in the midst deep panic, to have filmed Heather running screaming through the dark woods. It was all too far out of pre-established character, although the image is certainly indelible. But even a Dodge Dart with a brown door will get you there if it keeps running and once past my initial hesitations, I was forced to admit that The Blair Witch Project is.very effective.

There are moments when Blair Witch has the dankness of Silence of The Lambs and the raw, twilit scariness of the opening few minutes of Night of the Living Dead, in my opinion one of the great horror sequences. I became a true believer at the point where Josh and Mike began to realize that something was very wrong in the crackling Burkittsville woods, that they really had to get out, and were ramping up to full freak while Heather simply refused to stop filming although there was really nothing to film. This sequence nailed perfectly the deep frustration one can feel under the sway of a relentless know-it-all, especially when said person is female and, thereby, largely immune to the more primordial forms of conversation reserved for males. Josh and Mike, aggravated and frightened as they were, still could not abandon Heather, who had become more of a liability at that point than an asset. Both had begun to succumb to the stress of walking the razor edge between being scared squat-less and being unable to admit it.

The Blair Witch Project has an unassuming, almost sneaky way of getting to you. First off, the main characters are not at all likeable, which in itself is fatiguing. Josh and Mike are types that might be found at loose ends on any Saturday night, marooned in a mall or mini-mart parking lot. Heather is an almost-cute, soon-to-be-overweight, classic candidate for domestic violence at the hands of a future husband or boyfriend equipped with no sense of humor, or of the ironic. A few minutes with them and you are more than ready to burn out from slogging the monotonous autumn woods where night, freed from the shackles of Daylight Savings Time, comes too soon and remains too long. When the exhausted trio takes to its sleeping bags, you're right with them. Then, you're suddenly wide awake for all the wrong reasons. The sound of fracturing wood, out past a wall of darkness on which strong flashlight beams pile up like pizza dough, are not just twigs being snapped. They're branches, big ones. But this conclusion is never verbalized by any of the trio. One of the three refers to the sound as `footsteps' but only if the feet are size-72 American. It's left up to us to fully grasp the implications.

The three principal actors are, essentially, playing themselves and all perfectly manifest the giddy hubris reserved for those who may be able to come fifteen times a day but possess just enough knowledge and experience to be dangerous. But playing one's self may be harder than it looks and they do so with conviction, most notably the tough-minded, endlessly irritating Heather. Her character may be packing the only real cojones in the bunch and when she finally begins to unglue near the end, you know the doo-doo has gotten very deep. It's not mere post-adolescent, cheeseburger-craving discomfort any longer. That trifle has been left far behind; somewhere back under the decaying leaves. Heather's runny-nosed, video self-portrait, made upon realizing that she and her companions are in far, far over their heads, is truly poignant. We may enjoy seeing vain, clueless teens get theirs in slasher movies but the Blair Witch trio; three somewhat loosely-wrapped goofballs trying to pull off a film-making project, are really not clueless in the classic sense nor are they stupid. They've just intrepidly placed themselves in a very wrong place for which there may be no possible right time.

And finally the ending, which is really what this film is all about. Almost everything you ever feared in your youth, both in the light of day and dark of night, is compressed perfectly into the film's last few seconds. When the evil suggested throughout finally thunders down like stagnant water through a breached dam, the result is possibly the most viscerally disturbing horror sequence ever produced. All exploding skulls, bursting rib cages, and dangling intestines ever filmed are mere confetti alongside its simple, implicit power. Only the discovery of the maternal corpse in the basement, in Psycho, even comes close. Keep the little ones away from this one, Mom and Dad. A child's mind will have no defense, nowhere to run, and most disturbing, nothing tangible to run from; only an invisible, meticulously goal-oriented malevolence that comes from nowhere, and everywhere, at once.
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Boring, slow and not scary in the slightest
mrxavia17 May 2011
If you are looking for something to scare you, look somewhere else, this is the worst excuse I have seen for a horror film. The style of shooting was as expected, shaky hand held camera, which fitted the premise of the film, but you felt like you were watching an amateur film by school kids rather than actual footage of a real event which it was supposed to depict.

Normally I expect a horror to get my heart racing a few times, and have some surprises, but the plot was too obvious, there were no surprises, nothing that would make you jump.

I would not recommend this to any film buff, ignore the hype and skip this film.
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These 3 Film Students Were The Ultimate Flunkies
strong-122-47888514 June 2014
I'd confidently say that this film has got to be one of the biggest movie-swindles ever perpetrated on a completely unsuspecting audience.

With a devilishly clever publicity campaign to fuel its release, The Blair Witch Project (TBWP, for short) became the 2nd most successful "indie" film of all time, grossing nearly $250 million. Its success was surpassed in 2002 by My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Directed by Eduardo Sanchez, TBWP is presented as a documentary pieced together from amateur footage and filmed in real time. TBWP was shot in a matter of just 8 days and all of the dialogue was, pretty much, improvised.

TBWP tells the tale of 3 young Film Students who hike out into the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland to film a documentary about a local legend known as The Blair Witch.

The viewer is told that these 3 students were never found, although their video and sound equipment (along with the footage they shot) was discovered a year later.

In my opinion, TBWP completely fails to deliver on all counts.

*Trivia Note* - Throughout the course of the story the word "Fukk" was spoken 154 times. With this film having a running time of 87 minutes, that averages out to about one "Fukk" every 45 seconds.
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brianlion7 November 2002
This is the worst waste of film I have ever witnessed in my life. I cannot fathom what people who loved this movie are thinking. WOW! The "actors" seem to be talking off the cuff, the script- if there was one, lacked any imagination or anything clever to say. Movies that have parodied this crappy movie do a better job of conveying fear. I understand the premise, of course. Make the movie appear like a home movie where some young people encounter some weird and horrific experiences. The problem is, most vacation home movies are more compelling and clever. Whenever there was a hint of tension, the actor would swear or scream, for lack of anything better they could think of. This film experience was memorable to me and those who watched it with me, for one reason. It is easily the worst I have ever seen. It makes "Freddie Got Fingered" look like "Gone With The Wind"- which is where "Blair Witch project" should go.
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if it looks like S%#t, and it sounds like S%#t, then it must be S%#t!
Dale655 August 1999
If you thought that "Star Wars Episode 1" was the most over-hyped letdown of the year, get ready. "The Blair Witch Project" is so shockingly bad it could have been made by your ninth grade brother's friends on their first camping trip this summer. Shot primarily with a poor quality video (which appears to pre-date steadyshot), "Blair Witch" should have had a hard time getting into student film and video festivals based on the poor visual and sound quality alone. Instead, it has won prizes and accolades at both Cannes and Sundance, and has become the new indie darling of film critics most everywhere. But, "Blair Witch" is far scarier than many of the critics have even begun to hint at. It's basically 80 minutes of watching amateurs stuck in flat woods, running in circles, with no concept of shot composition, no script, no performance talent, and absolutely no idea of what the hell they are doing. This is the movie that puts the 'horror' in horrible.

"Blair Witch" is supposed to be about the making of a documentary. Is this supposed to represent a documentary film crew? A girl who is a complete bitch, and two dweebs who act like whiny versions of Beavis and Butt-head. The interminable fits of yelling and screaming will have you bored stiff. Do stick figures made of wood, and the sounds of nearby "filmmakers" making funny noises in the woods give you the creeps?...if so, you might actually find this frightening.

Well, as audiences everywhere are finding out (as Cinemascore is indicating), "The Blair Witch Project" is not a good film, and certainly not what they were told it would be. Shame on critics making comparisons to horror classics like "The Exorcist" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Those were bold masterpieces of terror in which the scripts were solid before production began. Jeez, even "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" was scarier than "Blair Witch" (if Jennifer Love's breasts get any bigger...) Any dolt can do what the makers of "Blair Witch" have done, just look at the worst home videos your neighbor Larry has in his collection (but Larry knows how to use that tripod his wife bought him last Xmas).

To quote Bart Simpson from that great Halloween episode with Poe's "The Raven"; "Do you know what would have been scarier than nothing?.....................ANYTHING!!"
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If only negative ratings were possible.....
TheFinalAlias20 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
As anyone who has read my reviews for any length of time knows, I don't kiss ass when it comes to independent films. If it's a good film; I rate it accordingly, if it's a bad film; I do likewise.


It's become one of my pet peeves that indie film fans demand that EVERY independent film be called nothing short of a masterpiece no matter how mundane it is, no compromise. It's this mentality that has resulted in my extreme dislike of indie films and their fans and filmmakers. Honestly; just because something was made without studio assistance and/or interference DOES NOT automatically make it a masterpiece, any more than having the hot new centerfold of-the-month makes the next Michael Bay film an Oscar contender. Yet, still the indie zombies insist that it does, supposedly this mentality comes from resenting Hollywood's excesses, such as taking away artistic control, bloated budgets, inattention to casting appropriate actors in favor of popular ones, and worst of all; annoying marketing campaigns. What BS.

Indie films are guilty of many hypocrisies; but attacking marketing campaigns is their biggest; as endless marketing hype(along with pure stupidity)is the only reason anyone would have seen this clunker I'm currently reviewing.

I can recall, quite vividly; the endless pop-up ads, the fan sites; official and(supposedly)unofficial, magazine articles, TV. specials, the merchandise, the relentless TV. commercials. Whew. The people who complain about the 'Dark Knight's marketing campaign just plain weren't ALIVE to not know the extent of this films marketing(which makes sense; since 99.9% of all the negative TDK reviews I've seen couldn't have been written by someone older than 5 or 8). TDK had NOTHING on this film's relentless marketing campaign.

Trashing Hollywood for over hyping their products, then doing the same: that's the definition of hypocrisy. That alone would be justification enough to dislike TBWP and it's indie film moron cult and to call them hypocritical and give the film a 1 rating, even if it was a good movie, even if I had liked it.

The fact that it also sucked as a film anyway just justifies my rating.

The common defense is that this is some brilliant 'art-film' which introduced the concept of not showing the monster and leaving it to the imagination. BS. Val Lewton did the same thing a thousand times better during the '40's, with films which are classics of the genre: 'Cat People', 'The Seventh Victim'. etc. and in 1963; probably the best of all 'unseen' horror films; Robert Wise(a disciple of Lewton)'s 'The Haunting' was released; to borrow an indie film fan phrase: it PWNED 'Blair Witch'. All classics, all achieving their suspense without showing the monster. All before this film.

But indie fans ignore all this; they claim those movies don't count because they are old and in black & white. Typical response from them, no respect for older film.

As for the 'story' of this film and it's qualities; I wouldn't even give it a D if it was a student film. The device of not showing the monster comes off less as an artistic choice and more an excuse to film nothing but a couple of dumb-asses running around and passing it off as a film. I'll admit it's clever, heck, even Lewton originally adopted the device out of necessity, but he did it mostly because he recognized it's dramatic potential in the face of several alternatives. For the record, it is also a complete and utter rip-off of a much better film called 'The Last Broadcast', the difference being that there is a survivor. Really, otherwise it's the same damn thing, and it's the indie film fans who call Hollywood unoriginal(If only I could use the eye-roll emoticon).

The story also sucks, 'Cannibal Holocaust' did the 'found footage' thing much better. The 'acting' is also awful; it's so forced you wonder if the witch is a legitimate legend even in the context of the story. The praise for characterization is true, though. I definitely felt something about the characters: I wanted all 3 of them dead within a minute. And even if, pray tell, the device of not showing the monster WAS original, or had been used well; does it REALLY matter if it's an awful film otherwise? Nope. At best, it just revives a long-dead gimmick.

And for all the people who say it must be good because so many people thought it was real, let me ask you something: Have you ever heard the phrase 'Idiots will believe anything'? Grow up and watch some atmospheric, 'unseen' horror films that are actually good. This is no different than your usual incredibly stupid, vapid Hollywood slasher flick with annoying teenage victims, only without a slasher and not made by Hollywood, but still incredibly stupid , vapid and filled with annoying teenage victims.~
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Overly hyped pile of horse manure
jacksonc25 June 2001
Some observations:

Anyone who thinks this movie is scary has lived a sheltered life, indeed.

Those who gave this dreck anything higher than a "5" probably bought pet rocks when they were on the market.

This flick will go down in history as another "Billy Jack." (Remember it was getting high ratings for the first few years.)

As far as one of the producers saying he noticed people vomiting after having seen the movie, they were probably made physically ill at having thought of being ripped off like they had been.

This flick sucks beyond words....
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Cinema Verite Fright...
Don-10225 October 1999
Is THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT a masterful ghost film or a gimmick to create a multi-media event? It is both. The picture, shot on super 8 video and 16mm film displayed in a squared, documentary-like frame, is quirky, annoying, and spectacularly scary. The scenes at night quite frankly scared the hell out of me. The gimmick that THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is created confusion and wonder over whether or not the footage shot was real life. Now, we all know the truth, but the French term 'cinema verite' is defined by this grisly film.

A guaranteed cult classic, BLAIR WITCH has "Heather, Mike, and Josh" heading off into the allegedly hexed woods of Maryland looking for the Blair Witch or whatever else may exist up in those hills. For most of the film, it is very unclear. The beginning excerpts ingeniously set up the three participants to believe they are a) experiencing the supernatural, b) being played like a fiddle by the suspicious townspeople or c) just completely out of their minds. Its up to the viewer to decide but my money is on option A.

Most filmgoers know that the filmmakers Sanchez and Myrick used their MAC cards and cookie jars to put this phenom together and I commend them. This is a tour-de-force thriller that does indeed seem real. Its all improvised and 'verite' like and the best part about the movie's many chills are based on the basic premise that scares most of us: We are generally frightened by what we cannot see. Many times throughout the film, the screen is completely dark with sudden bursts of screams and grainy scenery. For the sake of the suspense, the film may have been better if we did not know the gimmick. The realism is sometimes smothering.

True, the hand-held camera can make you achy in the head, but the way the actors play off each other is magic and not for the faint of heart. I viewed the film on DVD with someone who was not feeling too well because of the dizzying camera, but somehow the black and white and color and rain blend together and allow Myrick and Sanchez to do what they were attempting to do. Spooking an audience with unseen forces is so effective and I was reminded of Robert Wise's original THE HAUNTING from 1963 with the groans and the cries and the shrieks. A baby's giggle can be heard during one spellbinding scene when the tent the 3 students sleep in takes on a life of its own.

Much has been made about a similar film made in similar fashion by some other young auteurs well before THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was released. I never saw it and if it was as good as this film we would've seen it. Nonetheless, this past summer shocked and surprised me with the amount of good horror pictures around. In the woods, no one can hear you scream either.

Rating: ***1/2
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Blair Witch Scam Project - One of the worst films ever made
StanleyStrangelove22 August 2005
*** This comment contains spoilers ***

As a fan of movies and horror films for 45 years, I've seen a lot, and I have to say that BWP is a totally amateurish piece of junk.

To call this a "film" is laughable. It has no plot, no ending, no story. It is the 90 minute rambling of some dunderhead carrying around a hand held camera filming everything he sees. This movie was made by loading some film, getting some nobodies together, going to the woods and shooting enough film to make up 90 minutes. No film was left on the cutting room floor. Every worthless scrap was included. The ineptitude and total lack of film-making skills is astounding. I used to think Robot Monster was the pits; BWP is worse.

Here is what happens in the "film". Three dimwits find a tape made by three nitwits who supposedly uncovered the Blair witch and were never seen again. The three dimwits head into the forest to investigate. Along the way they hear weird noises at night, find some sticks hanging from trees, get lost in the forest, start to cry because they are so scared. In the end one of the dimwits wanders into an abandoned shack and the last scene shows him trying to look scared into the camera. THE END. That's all folks. I'm not kidding. That's the movie.

In these times when anyone has access to equipment to make a movie, BWP proves the theory that any talent less person can make a "film." BWP was the biggest movie marketing SCAM in history. It proves P.T. Barnum's "There's a sucker born every minute." By using the internet to lie and hype the film, the cynical lug heads who made this suckered people in. As they say in the used car business, "For every seat, there's an ass." I was one of the asses who got suckered. Using the same "based on a true story" technique as The Amityville Horror, BWP lured well-intentioned moviegoers into the theater. If BWP were a car then it would be subject to a "lemon law" and you could get your money back. Unfortunately, the movie business doesn't work that way. Those of us who lost our $$ on this scam have no recourse. The only recourse I have is to slam this piece of trash in this review, which I hope I have done. Why I detest BWP so much is because it was such a shameless scam that showed utter contempt for movie goers. This was not a film; it was just a mechanism to cheat people out of their money.

I would rather watch Robot Monster ten times than ever see BWP again.
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The Worst Movie I've Ever Seen
JG-2312 August 1999
The Blair Witch Project has to be the worst movie I've ever seen. It was not scary. It was not intriguing. It was boring, and the jerky camera work left me nauseated. The acting was decent, but the storyline didn't really go anywhere and the cinematography was atrocious. I understand they were supposed to be film 'students,' but my 10-year-old sister can shoot better footage than this. At the end I was really wondering why I bothered to sit through the whole thing, and I was definitely sorry that I actually paid to see it in a theater. If you're still curious about this one, wait until it comes out on video. At least then, hopefully, the smaller screen will reduce your motion sickness.
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