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A Classic in the Genre
Michael_Elliott25 October 2009
Blair Witch Project, The (1999)

**** (out of 4)

The story is known by everyone as three filmmakers go into the wood to tell the story of the Blair Witch and soon they find themselves lost with something apparently coming for them. I remember the hype surrounding this film quite well and I remember my two viewings in the theater when the film originally opened. It's been about six years or more since I last watched the film so I was very curious going in as to how the film would hold up. After viewing the film I think it still holds up remarkably well and even though the hype has died down and much hates has been thrown upon the film, it still remains a rather chilling and all too realistic venture into basic fears. I think these basic fears can be the dark, being lost or hearing something when you shouldn't be hearing anything. These are three elements that make this film so effective because there isn't any blood, no monster, no killer and whatever is out there is something we never see. I think the greatness of the film, and something very important, is that the viewer is put into the action to where you can feel everything that the three filmmakers are going through. If you can imagine yourself lost in the woods then you should be able to know the fears going on with the filmmakers here. The movie does a marvelous job at various things but one is the start of the thing when we learn the history of the curse through the documentary set up. A perfect move. We hear from locals, various myths and then we slowly get put into the action. The set up wasn't original as the "lost video footage" was used in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST nearly twenty years earlier but the effectiveness of this film is that it takes that lost footage and uses it again the viewer to assault their fears. The performances are all very raw but that makes them effective in terms of everything going on. The direction and use of two cameras is also very effective but the most chilling aspect of the film is without a doubt its ending. I won't spoil anything but the final shot before the hit still send chills down my spine no matter how many times I've seen the film. Over the years this film has found many critics to hate on it but this is something that happens with countless popular horror films, which is a real shame. In a day and age where we can see anything, it's refreshing to watch a movie like this that shows us absolutely nothing yet works on every level.
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10/10
A film that turned me into a nervous wreck
Leofwine_draca21 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
On a Sunday morning in 1999 I made a rare venture to a multiplex cinema, which is 17 or so miles away from my house. I don't usually make a habit of travelling that sort of distance to see a mere film, but I felt that this one in particular was special. I mean, nobody on the face of this planet can fail to have heard of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, a low budget independent production which took Hollywood by storm and became the most profitable film of all time. My expectations were high, based on the hype. Then it began...

I remembered hearing that the dizzying camera work could induce nausea, but happily I was not afflicted in this way. The shaky hand-held camera didn't annoy me in the least, and in fact within just a few minutes I was settled into the film, engrossed. As time went on, my nerves began to fray along with those of the guys on screen, and my heart beat faster. By the end of the film I might have well as been a nervous wreck. Because, more than any other film I've seen in my life, this film scared me. Yes, it was creepy and extremely disturbing too, but mainly it was just scary.

Now I've read all the negative comments about the film simply not being scary. I can understand this, because for one to be truly affected by the film then you have to make an effort to engross yourself in the events, to believe that they are real, to not get distracted by the person sitting next to you. It's easy to sit back and laugh, but it's hard to actually get into a film and be there with the characters. Thankfully I did this and I had one of the scariest experiences of my life, an experience which left me scared to go to sleep that night in case I dreamt about it (I didn't, though, thankfully).

The inventive use of the hand-held cameras really makes the viewer feel as if he/she is there in the film. Well, not totally perhaps, but halfway between reality and the celluloid strip. While the film may not be totally original (take, for example, the previous year's THE LAST BROADCAST), in the light of contemporary dull 'post-modern' horror films like SCREAM 2, HALLOWEEN H20 and THE FACULTY, this is a breath of fresh air. I've heard people moan and complain that nothing happens and you don't get to see anything. Well, that's the point...it's left up to your imagination, and I suppose that if you don't have one, then the film just won't scare you. It's the viewer who's lacking, not the film.

The acting is surprisingly brilliant and realistic. You really get to feel for the actors by the end of the film, and each of the three is a solid, well-drawn person who could be a neighbour. Michael Williams is the most likable of the three, he loses his cool first but then regains it at the end. Joshua Leonard is the most tragic of the three as he sits and cries, and you really feel sorry for his character. Many people have said they didn't like Heather Donahue, but I thought she was amazing. The best bit has to be when she holds the camera up to her face and apologises to the trio's parents. Heather is believable, sympathetic, and her performance really tugs at the heart. The film may have a high level of swearing, but then again I'm sure if I was in that situation I wouldn't mind my language. The trio are simply superb and their acting creates believable characters to sympathise with and understand throughout.

The woods are a perfect setting to conjure up fear (see THE EVIL DEAD and many others) and this film makes full use of them. Behind every tree lurks an unseen menace. I've been in the woods myself at night, and the atmosphere is just right. I don't know if I'll be able to venture into them again in the dark, though. There are also some surprisingly intense moments when the students fight amongst each other, some say that these are funny but they actually brought tears to my eyes...not because I was sad, but just because of the ferocity and violence and because I felt so sorry for the three.

The actual horror elements in the film are outstanding, subtle and all the more effective for it. The piles of stones and stick men hanging in the trees are very disturbing, as is the slime covering the backpack. The worst of all has to be the teeth and things wrapped in the cloth, a moment which is hard to watch. The night time scenes are the most chilling, with the unknown noises and even the - shudder - sound of cackling and a baby crying. So creepy, and so frightening. The bit where the tent is violently attacked from the outside comes out of nowhere, and made me jump out of my seat in terror, it's that horrible. And of course the finale in the ruined house is just totally eerie with the laughing and the jolting, disorientating cameras spinning around in a last desperate rush. The final frames of the film are the most inexplicable and unnatural and leave the viewer pondering events well after the film is over to draw their own conclusions.

As you might just be able to tell, I loved THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT which easily lived up to the hype in my opinion. I'll be sure to buy the video when it comes out. Unmissable, a classic, I can't praise this film enough. The scariest thing I have ever seen!
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6/10
Birth of a sub-genre
SnoopyStyle4 October 2014
In October 1994, three film students Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard and Mike Williams (their real names) disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland. A year later, their cameras are found. There is a local legend of The Blair Witch and missing children. They were there to do a documentary.

This is the granddaddy of the found footage movies. This could be scary if the audience buys into the film as real. I didn't and it's not scary for me. It's a little too shaky and rambling. I am reminded of Michael Moore talking about what a revelation the tripod is. Also the start is excruciatingly slow. It's an interesting idea that birthed a whole new genre. That's no easy task. However, it achieves very little more than that for me. It is more dizzying than frightening.
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6/10
I really wanted to enjoy it!!!!
Hitchcoc24 January 2000
Well, here we are in this woods (which doesn't seem to have a lot of trees; it looks more like a city park). But we have wandered in far enough to get ourselves turned around. That's cool. We are already spooked by the legends and our minds are playing games with us. One of our problems is that we are all so self centered (nineties kinds of people) that we don't listen. We whine, we complain, we don't think. We film everything creatively but we also have a really stupid streak. I thought the actors were very good. It's what they portrayed that bothered me. Wouldn't it be good to have a look at what was going on outside the tent at night. It could have been a fringe group of the Girl Scouts. Why was it categorically accepted that a fire should not be set. If the witch is out there, then wouldn't you want to see it, or at least let it get itself singed. Hey, you're in a tent. What could be more unprotected (we all know the stories about grizzley bears that treat small tents as doggy bags). Hey, maybe we could put someone at the door and let the others sleep!!! Why do we start running? Where are we going? There's nothing chasing us. The power of suggestion takes over a little quickly here. Why go into that house? Why try to find that guy? I mean, your first order of business is to find a way back. I felt for them and I thought the frantic camera work was interesting. I just couldn't get past the stupidity of the people and their lack of survival instincts and self protectiveness. I agree that experimental cinema is wonderful and I'm glad that this has done well. Hollywood gets pretty tiresome. But this movie didn't click with me.
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2/10
The wait in watching this wasn't worth it.
mark.waltz14 October 2021
Warning: Spoilers
A good half hour or more shows the three principals of this phony horror documentary discussing human gas, chest hair and the skipper and Gilligan. The film is only 81 minutes and the obnoxious Heather Donahue seems to drop the f bomb once a minute. Then there's the other assorted curse words she interject, verbally abusing the two young men with her as they search for evidence to prove the existence of the Blair Witch. Eventually they are all snapping at each other to the point where you begin to hope that this was real and that the Blair Witch did get them.

The first five minutes interviewing "locals" is much more interesting than what happens when the three are alone, and the shaky camera after a while becomes annoying and waiting for anything supernatural to occur becomes interminable. This was a big smash which proves the old P. T. Barnum slogan that there is a sucker born every minute. I support independent filmmaking and new ideas, but this is a wreck in every way that gave me a headache after half an hour.
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Over-hyped but fresh and scary
bob the moo27 July 2002
In the woods outside of Burkittesville, Maryland a legend exists about the Blair Witch who supposedly killed many children in the 1940's. A trio of film makers decide to go into the woods for their student project to document what they find in comparison with the legend itself. They go missing. A year later their footage is discovered and pit together to reveal what they went through when they became lost in the woods. This film is the footage they recorded.

There is no doubting that hype was both the making and breaking of this film. The hype got this small, no-budget film into multiplexes world wide where otherwise it wouldn't have got in the front door. However the hype also raised expectation so that people were expecting the horrors to end all horrors etc. Viewed without any hype this would have been so much better – but on a wave on such expectation few things can avoid coming down a bit.

Outside of this the set up is very good – put forward as true. The way the film starts by mixing interviews with recollections of the legend etc gives us enough information to join the trio on their journey. The film then begins to journey into the woods and the tension build nicely as we share some of the group's fear.

A lot of this comes down to the cast – they all start cheerful and young but as they go on they do seem genuinely tired and scared – this helps us believe. The hand held cameras add to the realism but also put us right there with the group (if also means we don't see things but the fear comes from what's outside of eye line).

Now the film is very basic but in many ways that helps it. There is no hidden subtext, no baggage – just things going downhill. The film ends in the most basic way and is good for it. While it may not be the most scary thing ever seen, it is refreshing to se a horror film that isn't another cliché ridden slasher flick.

Overall it may be overhyped and be suffering from a certain amount of backlash, but this is a very sharp, tight, clever and scary little film. It is best viewed as a great independent and not a multiplex filler that it was hyped to be.
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6/10
I want to avoid any cheese
nogodnomasters19 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I feel like I am the last person on the planet to have seen this film and I could have left it off my bucket list. This is the mother of the hand held genre with Heather Donahue being the cut off face that launched a 1,000 films. I found the premise to be interesting. The interviews with locals seemed extremely real and not boring. The internal conflict the group has in the woods was over done and was more grating than entertaining. Yes, I wanted to kick the crap out of Michael (Williams) too. It is iconic, so I watched it.

Utz chips and beer is indeed the meal of champions.

Guide: F-bomb. No sex or nudity. Heather Donahue gives us the best Up-Nostril since José Ferrer in "Cyrano de Bergerac."
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7/10
Not exactly a masterpiece.
lee_eisenberg17 October 2005
It goes without saying that we fear that which we don't know. And in "The Blair Witch Project", we sure as hell don't know what's out there. It's only the three filmmakers growing more and more scared. I will admit that I didn't find this movie to be as great as most people thought, but it does send a shiver down your spine, just because you don't know what's out there. I would never have wanted to go out into the woods alone to begin with, and now I really don't (although I don't believe these legends about spooks in the woods). Either way, this was an unprecedented movie when it came out - especially since it out-grossed flicks like "Eyes Wide Shut".
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8/10
The Blair Witch Project
jboothmillard8 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This was marketed very well by the internet and word-of-mouth as "found footage", many people at first thought it was real, obviously this turned out to be untrue, it was a low-budget movie ($40,000) with no stars, no special effects and no gimmicks, but it proved a box office sensation. Basically in 1994, three student filmmakers, Heather Donahue, Joshua 'Josh' Leonard and Michael 'Mike' Williams (all using their own names) started a "documentary" interviewing the people of Burkittsville, Maryland, formerly named Blair, to hear their views and opinions of the local legend, of the "Blair Witch". They plan to travel to the woods and find evidence of the legend, they carry with them camping gear, a map and their video cameras. Soon after starting their trek however they get lost, they find themselves going around in circles, the map is lost, they hear strange noises in the dark, and in the daylight they find strange piles of rocks and wood symbols hanging in the trees. Josh is separated and disappears, Heather famously sobs (with lots of snot) about their impending doom, she and Mike realise that something is out there and tormenting or hunting them, and they both eventually meet their fate in a secluded and dilapidated house. All the footage and sound captured by the cameras was "discovered" in the woods a year later, this is what the viewer is watching. Away from the hype surrounding the film at the time, it proves that even the simplest of films, with improvised acting and action, shaky camera- work and no explicit material (you never see any monster), can become a cinema landmark. Cannibal Holocaust may have been the first "found footage" horror film, but this broke new ground, there would certainly be no Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield without this film, and it is genuinely freaky to watch, a terrific independent psychological horror. It was number 5 on The 100 Greatest Scary Moments. Very good!
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3/10
Inventive Approach, But Marketing Was Disgraceful
ccthemovieman-113 August 2007
I never really was interested in watching this but when it got so much publicity, I thought it would be worth a shot to give it a look. I should have saved my money. I don't really find a film featuring ultra-profane, punk college kids that appealing. The movie might have been effective at what it aimed to do - to scare people - but it was just too sleazy for me. Of the three leads, the girl is probably the most annoying because of her smugness.

My main complaint is really not the movie so much as it was the marketing. This movie was viewed by millions of teenagers, and that's what the producers wanted. That, along with the college crowd, was their target audience. Hey, as far as college kids seeing this, I have no problem, but not high school kids.

To promote a film to that young a crowd - which it undeniably did - and have over 130 f- words, over 60 uses of "sh-t," 20 usages of the Lord's name in vain and tons of other profanities - all in a paltry 80 minutes - is absolutely ridiculous and just plain wrong.

I recognize the inventive film-making. They make it look - effectively so - that the kids in the story are filming some sort of documentary. It certainly has that feel to it and it's very realistic in that regard. It doesn't rely on gore but on a psychological level for the horror. It shows the evilness of witchcraft and the occult. No problem.....but.....

I still remember my local library having an entire wall on where the computers are located, promoting this film, reading "Hey, kids - It's Blair Witch Month. Celebrate with us....blah, blah, blah." I am not making that up. Unbelievable, but that's our Liberal libraries these days. I guess that's what still "sticks in my craw" about this movie. It should have been promoted "for adults only," but it wasn't.
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8/10
If you go down to the woods tonight...
Tweekums8 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'd heard rather a lot of hype about this film before seeing it, I'm not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, on the one hand few films live up to their hype on the other without that hype I probably wouldn't have seen it at all. While I don't think it is the "scariest movie ever made" it is certainly very creepy and makes the viewer feel that they are lost in the woods with the protagonists.

At the start of the film we are told that three students, Heather, Josh and Mike, disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville (formerly called Blair) in Maryland while investigating the local legend and that a year later their equipment had been found and what we are then shown is the film recorded by them before their disappearance. Once the three of them have joined up and got their equipment together they head to Burkittsville where they interview some of the locals about the legends before heading off in to the woods to film the sites where the events in the legend are alleged to have taken place. All goes fairly well until the trio try to return to their car, while camping over night they here strange noises outside their tent and the next day despite following the map they don't manage to find their car. The same happens the next day and the next etc. as the days progress they get more and more distressed, especially as whatever is outside the tent each night is leaving strange items in the trees and messing with their equipment.

I have tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum as the less you know about what happens in the woods the more disturbing the film is likely to be. If you are put off horror films by gore then this is a safe film to watch as there is almost no gore, the scares all come from being lost while some one or something is messing with your head. The way that it is filmed also adds to the atmosphere, quite often the camera is pointing and something away from the action or in the night scenes there is no image at all, just sound. The acting was very natural probably because most of it was unscripted.
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5/10
Please excuse my incoherent ramblings: I was up late last night watching an over-rated horror film.
BA_Harrison2 August 2010
I had always thought that arachnophobia—the fear of spiders—was the most common of phobias, but thanks to The Blair Witch Project, I now know better: the irrational fear of small twigs and pebbles is far more prevalent. It's the only explanation I have for the phenomenal worldwide success of a horror film in which stick figures and tiny piles of stones are considered to be the stuff of nightmares?

Whilst I am, of course, fully aware that big sticks and stones can break your bones (as the childhood saying goes), inanimate small pieces of rock and the lesser of branches hold no real fear for me. As a result, I didn't find The Blair Witch Project anywhere near as frightening as the millions who are afflicted by Stickstonophobia (surprisingly, I could find no official scientific term for this widespread condition, so I coined this one myself!).

Admittedly, I did find some of the strange noises that occurred during the night fairly creepy (after all, they might have been made by big spiders), and the way that the film-makers were unable to find their way back to their car was unsettling (I've lost my bearings in the woods myself, and this brought back bad memories), but the ending—when Heather and Mike enter the dilapidated old house at the end of the film—was simply frustrating: surely everyone knows that derelict houses are deathtraps.

Sure enough, both characters lose their footing on the obviously rotten floors and die. Or something like that.
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6/10
Canny, clever novice filmmaking
moonspinner5528 June 2001
Independently-produced thriller filmed on videotape concerning 3 student filmmakers making a documentary about the haunted woods near their Maryland homes. Those looking for a slambang chiller will be disappointed--the budget obviously didn't allow for special effects--but the movie certainly works as an examination of the deterioration of the human mind in crisis, complete with dissension and hysteria. The actors are extremely capable and the results are largely creepy for a one-time viewing. It also deserves credit for tapping into the sudden need in America for "real" entertainment. **1/2 from ****.
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Watching this movie is a waste of 90 minutes!
TxMike17 July 2000
When the "Blair Witch Project" was in theaters I resisted the hype and did not see it. Last night, "free" on TV, I spent the 90 minutes watching, hoping for something thrilling. Nothing ever came.

Heather, Mike and Josh, actors, play "Heather", "Mike", and "Josh", characters. They are students doing a project and get lost in the woods, camping there several nights. There is absolutely *zero* character development, *zero* inventiveness in dialog, and *zero* believability in their plight. The first 85 minutes you follow them through the woods, listening to their teenage dialog with the "F-word" used 2 or 3 times each sentence. When they meet their fate, you don't care one bit about them. At least I didn't.

Still, I give it a generous "3" of "10" for the novelty of the idea. However, as movies go, this one is simply a good "school project" quality. It in no way deserves to be in the same category as any of the above-average films made these days.

All the favorable comments come from teenagers. Perhaps one of ten mature adults would find this film at all worth watching. I certainly did not. But I'm glad I satisfied my curiosity. How can we recognize truly meaningless films unless we see some occasionally??
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9/10
Tom Thumb has a picnic at hanging rock.
dbdumonteil14 January 2002
This movie,along with "the sixth sense" and some recent other ones ,is the volte-face of the fantasy and horror genre.The disappearance of these special effects which has been defacing the "scary movies" since ,say,"the exorcist".A return to pure psychological suspense.Like Don Siegel 's "invasion of the body snatchers"(1956),there are here no stars,and a shoestring budget.The form is unique,for it is an amateur camera work,almost a draft,giving the terrible feeling the heroes have really been through it all.

The fears we feel in this work recall childhood terrors:the forest,when you are small may be beguiling ,but it's also an unknown world.Who has never been afraid of getting lost in this maze of trees and bushes?That's Tom Thumb syndrome:in the movie,the heroine's map is an equivalent of Tom Thumb's stones.These stones which the three lads find in front of the tent might be a nod in the direction of Charles Perrault;as the (witch's?) house might be a hint at Grimm's "Hansel and Gretel".

Most of the terror happens in the midday sun:a fantasy and horror movie does not necessarily mean darkness.I would go as far as saying that the scenes in the daylight are the scariest:Peter Weir opened up the way in 1977 with his classic "picnic at hanging rock".The three characters 'roaming round this quiet place , waiting for SOMETHING to happen,all this is extremely disturbing.There's an impending menace,but we do not know exactly what it is,and our fears are increased tenfold.Strange signs along the way ,a gruesome treasure hunt. At night,the screen becomes sometimes completely black:in all,about five minutes(!),enough to put the spectator in a cold sweat.

Like "picnic at hanging's rock" or"the haunting" (1963),the ending leaves you in front of a huge hole.A movie to treasure.
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10/10
One of the scarriest films ever
Quinoa19846 May 2000
This film is not like those usual killer with weapon slasher movies in which everyone in the theater screams when something scary happens. This is the type of film where you watch the proceedings and are so afraid when you leave the theater you feel paralized. Why, because this film is so realistic, it looks like this is actually the footage found in Maryland. But no, it isn't, and that is what makes Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick such good directors. They just give the cameras to the cast and let them run rampant. This film shows what happens when 3 student film-makers (Heather Donahue is excellent in the best female lead of the year, Michael Williams is convincing as a scarred and insane sound man, and Joshua Leonard is exceptional as a mad cameraman) who get lost in the woods of Burkittsville, Maryland. What follows is scarrier than anything I've seen in a really long time, and it is enjoyable (especially in the dark). One of the best films of the year. A++
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7/10
Can things that go bump in the night really hurt you?
michaelRokeefe6 February 2000
This movie chills and thrills. You bite your nails as you squirm in your seat. You want to be medicated in defense of the bouncy, jerky camera work. The sound engineer deserves a lot of credit for setting the moods and flow of this project. In the winter of 1994, three student film makers go into the woods near Burkittesville, Maryland to film a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch. A year later, their interrupted video search is found. No trace of the trio; and now their disappearance becomes part of the mystery. Unknown actors make this thing more believable. Heather Donahue was pretty darn good. Joshua Leonard and Michael C. Williams were her partners. The final sequence and last ten seconds in particular left me scared as hell. I had nightmares three nights in a row. Give it a chance. The non-professionalism makes fear more believable. Try it, you'll like it.
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In the Corner
tedg10 January 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

I was very impressed with this little film. I had stayed away because of the kiddie audience, but I found it intelligently conceived.

The first thing in film is to decide who the camera is. The gutsy thing is to make it a character, and the most straightforward way to do that is by POV shots from someone in the story. `Strange Days' has the best POV sequence I've seen. But these are hard to manage, and almost always used sparingly.

Horror, real horror should rely on something deeper than shock or disgust. Most strategies depend on creating a character (sometimes a situation) that is threatening. In this case, the scares in the theater are due to direct encounters with this character. But even then, that bugaboo is threatening the people on screen, not you.

In this gutsy move, the strategy is all focused on placing the viewer within the film. Every shot is POV, from either a 16mm camera or B/W video, often shooting each other. Rather brilliant conception, but from there one has a few big problems to solve.

The big one is how to handle the exposition. It may not be obvious in most films, but there are two completely independent jobs of the storyteller. The filmmaker is a clockmaker, creating a world, characters and situations within that world. Some collection of devices must be managed to tell or show us the viewers what this is all about. The other job is the real work: allowing the clock to work: the characters and situations developing in some engaging way.

The first part is no small matter in horror or its sibling, science fiction. Most clever approaches use visual shortcuts to refer to previous movies, but that's another story. Another approach is to adopt a world that we all know: from Potter or Ring books, or old TeeVee shows or comic books. What these folks do is a radical departure: they did all their exposition outside of the film, primarily on the web, but also with a TeeVee documentary on the documentary.

(If you like this notion of a created metadocumentary, check out the the mind-blowing `The Falls.')

Then, all the film has to do is reference that `myth' in a few, very well engineered `townspeople' interviews. We have one visual motif, the stick figures. One environmental reference, the stacked stones (and the `coffin' stone). And we have just one narrative device, and this is where the intelligence of the filmmakers impressed.

For all the time in the woods, essentially nothing happens. There's incidental friction; they encounter sticks and stones; one member vanishes; a puzzling `message' is delivered. But there's no narrative advance. Until the very, very, very end, when Heather goes in the basement and sees her friend in the corner. By this time, we have been groping to tie the `myth' to what we see. We are given this one touchstone to the myth, about one child being put in the corner while another is killed in presumably some gruesome way. That connection sears for only a second, then our eye goes blank. (That this was the video, not the film, is especially well conceived.) The whole narrative is collapsed into that one second that we see with our own eyes. Right there. We explain it, not anyone in the film. Scarey as all getout. Clever. Self-referential.
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2/10
Don`t Believe The Hype
Theo Robertson20 October 2002
How can a film like this make so much money ? Get a trio of American media students , give them a couple of camcorders , get them to video absolutely nothing of interest and get them to make a movie that will make a distrubution company tens of millions of dollars in profits . How the hell is that possible for crying out loud ? Oh hold on I`ve just remembered , get the distributors to lie and say this is genuine video footage then after Mr general public has cottoned onto the fact that the footage is faked get the distributors to launch a media blitz as to just how scary this film is supposed to be . Well sorry having three unlikeable film students waving a couple of camcorders about in the dark doesn`t scare me . If you want to be scared watching something that cost next to nothing to make try DOCTOR WHO
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10/10
The Blair Witch Project
Scarecrow-8812 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
"We are going to die out here."

Hard to believe it's been practically a decade since "The Blair Witch Project" was all the buzz, revolting some with how it would not give in allowing us to see what is terrorizing these three unfortunate would-be documentarian filmmakers, causing some audience-goers to almost up-chuck at the dizzying, skakey camera work(..but, if you think about it, this only gives this piece merit, these are amateur filmmakers who have yet to truly master the right form of precise camera-movement), and leaving many furiously duped at how producers claimed it was real, that footage of vanished film students had been found and pieced together for our benefit. Watching it for the first time since, hell, 2000 I guess, I was surprised at how this gave me the creeps. It was as if I were with them, deep into the woods lost, the sinister trappings of wilderness imprisoning me. I envisioned just what it would be like, there in that tent hearing noises out in the distance, even those giggly sounds of children brought chills up and down my spine..particularly when you see and hear the slight pounding on the exterior of the tent. I mean, snapping twigs and sticks out in the darkness actually gave me the willies. At first, I could understand how three film students, Heather, Josh, & Michael would find their little adventure such a thrill..it was like a vacation with the goal of capturing a documentary for an extra grade in school lifting their average of say B- to possibly a B+. This documentary, as seen early on, seems to be little more than to photograph and convey the legend of some Witch who supposedly haunts the woods. It's treated with rolled eyes as locals share what they know second-hand about it, providing our students with fuel for later laughter. I enjoyed how, as this continues, the camaraderie deteriorates eventually leading to shouting matches and ridicule. I found this actually rather believable and realistic, it worked for me. I could see a couple of people I either barely know, or know just from reputation, getting lost with yours truly as the guide with these sort of reactionary emotions and situations happening. These are just people with everyday jobs hoping for brighter futures facing unforeseen horrors which spiral out of their control despite the fact that getting lost in the woods in our modern age shouldn't happen. Is it some mythical witch behind the spooky noises and unusually shaped rocks and stick-men? The film sure paints a picture of this in the final moments as Heather and Michael enter an eerie dilapidated house with children's hand-prints and ritualistic symbols inscribed on the walls as Josh cries for their help. The basement with a person standing with their face to the wall as a camera falls helpless to the ground after a hard thud sure opens up the scary idea that something truly disturbing was happening away from the camera. I like not knowing because I could just imagine the horrors taking place as if it were me being treated to a rude awakening that far from the civilization I know lies in the heart of the wilderness evil has freedom over those unlucky enough to enter it's domain. I know that a lot of f-king people hate this with an absolute passion, but this sure worked for me..I mean just think about it for a minute:lost in the woods, sounds and voices in the distance, you have heard about a supposed witch haunting the woods, one amongst your party is kidnapped with his agony just out of reach echoing the wilderness, and rocks(..not to mention something bloody wrapped in a napkin, neatly intertwined within sticks, cloth & string)formed in a specific manner warning you that you are not alone. It sure would have me peeing in my pants.
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7/10
A good & creepy modern fright flick.
Hey_Sweden9 February 2012
"The Blair Witch Project" can be seen as a movie along the lines of 1978's "Halloween": it may not be original stuff (think "Cannibal Holocaust", made approximately two decades before this movie, in this case), but it certainly popularized its particular sub genre, the "found footage" sub genre, for better and for worse. This marvel of marketing deserves its props for one main reason, and that's the way it uses its low, low budget to its advantage, placing all of its horrors squarely inside the heads of its viewers, forcing them to use their imaginations to conjure up their own demons. The story hardly needs summarizing by this point, but suffice it to say that it presents itself as the "real" footage of three student filmmakers who get lost in the wilderness of Maryland while investigating a local legend. What this viewer has to say, in his own personal experience, is that repeat viewings have helped him to appreciate it more than he used to. A large part of the appeal is the *very* rural setting, and the idea of being lost in this setting and having no idea where to go, possibly ending up going in circles, which would be an extremely distressing thought. Now, the largely improvised dialogue is no great shakes, but it does offer a realistic enough account of the way that humans under extreme stress may very well speak, alternating between sniping at each other and trying to bolster each others' spirits. Our three protagonists, played by Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams, aren't entirely unsympathetic. The directors slowly increase the sense of menace throughout, with the last act naturally registering as the creepiest. Interview sequences at the beginning are definitely amusing. The arts and crafts displayed by our unseen antagonist(s) are genuinely striking, and do lead to my favorite line in the film: "Rednecks aren't this creative!" Of course, the idea in this film of one character stubbornly insisting on documenting *everything* has already become a cliché; while of course we wouldn't have the movie if this person weren't doing so, it's all too easy to understand how this would annoy other people. Overall, I realize I have been under-rating this for years (watching it late at night or early in the morning with all the lights off would create the perfect effect) - it does have good atmosphere - although *that* scene has always cracked me up, and that was before I even saw "Scary Movie". In the end, it does appear that assessments of "The Blair Witch Project" usually do tend to rely on how one reacts - either it works for the viewer or it doesn't. Seven out of 10.
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5/10
A racket - on multiple fronts....
CinemaSerf3 June 2020
So three young folks go off into the wilderness in search of evidence to support the local Maryland legend of the "Blair Witch". Shortly afterwards, they lose their map, get lost - discover an old house; scream and cuss a lot.... A collection of three more odious folks I struggle to recollect seeing on screen. Directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánches substitute noise for suspense; and despite the fact that they spend several nights (more than planned) out in the woods without food, the batteries for their camera seems to endure remarkably well as they run around in the dark edging ever closer to whatever grizzly fate they well deserve. This is an huge triumph for hype over content and the marketeers have done a truly remarkable job. Though I would advocate that you watch it; it would only be because it has become a film of cult status - which, like so many others in that "elite" grouping, is a polite word for dross.
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1/10
Over-hyped
preppy-31 November 1999
Warning: Spoilers
This is a VERY low-budget horror film that was WAY over-hyped! It's about three college students who go into the woods for a weekend to see if the legend of the Blair Witch is real. They film themselves all weekend long. Then they get lost, run low on food and water and some REAL spooky things happen...

The moments when they're hearing noises and voices in the dark are VERY scary (especially somebody calling them from a distance). But that's it. There's nothing inventive plot wise, the characters are REAL annoying (Heather was particularly annoying--she never shut up!) and the camera-work made me seasick. Also all the horror in this is implied and never shown. There's nothing wrong with that but add that with the above ingredients and you got a very exasperating film. Basically I was never scared once...but I was bored a LOT!

Also what's all this hype about the "incredible" ending? The ending was telegraphed at least a half hour before it happened! I really don't like this film, but I think it's because of the nonstop hype on it. You might like it, but set your expectation on low.
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6/10
"I never gave Mike any fart allowance." I'm in two minds over this one.
poolandrews1 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The Blair Witch Project starts with the revelation that three student filmmakers disappeared in October 1994 & that the footage they shot has been discovered & is presented here for our viewing pleasure... Two young student filmmakers Heather Donahue & Joshua Leonard pick their friend Mike Williams up & set off for Burkitsville, Maryland to investigate & film a documentary on a local legend known as the 'Blair Witch'. To get their documentary going they interview various residents of Burkitsville who tell the tale of the Blair Witch, with the interview footage in the can the three set off into the nearby woods to carry on their documentary & try to delve a little deeper into the legend. Unfortunately they soon become lost, tensions begin to boil as Heather has the map but doesn't seem able to read it properly & when they try to sleep at night they are awoke & attacked by something from within the woods. Their plight becomes desperate as they run low on food, morale, patience & are continually harassed by someone or something, someone or something evil...

Edited, written & directed by Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez The Blair Witch Project was apparently shot in a mere 8 days, was made for about $22,000 & made back $240,500,000 which is a ratio of $10,931 made for every $1 spent which ain't too bad, is it? Persoanlly I like certain aspects of it but dislike others. The script tries to keep it as real as possible with natural dialogue (I'm not sure who counted but apparently The Blair Witch Project contains 133 'F*cks') & most of the film looks improvised which I think it was. Everything is kept to a minimum & nothing is really explained which gives it a genuine creepiness at times, in this case less is more. We know what the characters know, which is pretty much nothing when I think about it. It can drag a bit, has only three character's & it does go round in circles while the lack of any sort of explanation for anything did annoy me & then there is the bizarre ending which will either please or disappoint you. The main area where The Blair Witch Project stands out is the way it is filmed just like a documentary & the film could indeed be made up of scraps of footage haphazardly spliced together as it alternates between colour & black and white & the cinematography has a real amateur hand held jerkiness about it to add to the supposed authenticity & we get lots of pointless (but psychologically important for the whole documentary effect) shots of people's backs, the ground & the sky, the entire film is shot first-person with a hand held camera usually operated by Heather & frankly this approach can become tedious & annoying at times. For those looking for sleek cinematography, cool camera angles & fancy special effects The Blair Witch Project is not for you, for those looking for something a little bit different & original then you could do a lot worse although it's hard to tell what any one person's reaction will be to a film such as this. There is no blood or gore or sex, just lots of bad language so don't expect anything like that. I must admit there is a certain eerie atmosphere & creepiness about The Blair Witch Project especially the scenes where the three students are attacked in the dead of night & are unable to see anything. The acting is pretty good throughout by a young & unknown (at the time) cast. The Blair Witch Project is certainly different although I'm not quite sure why it turned out to be such the huge commercial success that it was, I can still remember when it came out over here it was everywhere & everyone I knew wanted to see it but most were ultimately disappointed when they did. Definitely worth a watch especially for horror fans & considering it probably turns up on TV all the time it shouldn't be too hard to get the opportunity to see it & you should give it a go if you have a spare 85 odd minutes.
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7/10
Holds up well
utgard1425 August 2015
Compelling and eerie found footage movie about a trio of amateur filmmakers who disappear after hiking into the Maryland woods to shoot a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch. A modern classic that helped usher in that particular subgenre of horror we have today. Most found footage movies are absolutely terrible and can't hold a candle to this one. It's probably the only movie of its type that ever seemed remotely authentic to me, even though I knew it was all fiction. At the time, people debated whether or not this was actually real. That seems silly, of course, but I knew several people back then who believed what they saw on the screen really happened. A lot of the credit for that should go to the actors, particularly Heather Donahue, for doing such a great job of making it seem believable. I just saw it for the first time in probably a decade or more and, while it doesn't hold the same impact as it did initially, it's still a remarkably well-done low-budget psychological horror movie.

Yes the movie was heavily hyped but it was deserved, in my opinion. This was a huge box office success built largely on word of mouth which is a testament to its quality. Sadly, because of its popularity, a lot of people bashed the film (and still do, judging by some of these reviews). If by some chance you have never seen this movie, please ignore the haters and give it a fair shot. I know that, after so many found footage horror movies since it was released, it won't seem as fresh. But I think if you drown out the background noise of the whiners and allow yourself to become immersed in the story, you'll find this movie is one of the best of its kind and worthy of praise.
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