The Blair Witch Project

Everyone remembers the shaky running camera in the dark woods, the close-up on the girl’s blue eyes crying out of terror. The Blair Witch Project made its debut.

The simple symbol hung from the trees that became an icon, 1999 marked the beginning of a new era of filming and a debate on either The Blair Witch Project was a good or bad movie.

The Blair Witch Project - 1999
The Blair Witch Project – 1999

The Summary

Three film students travel to Maryland to make a student film about a local urban legend… The Blair Witch. The three went into the woods on a two-day hike to find the Blair Witch and never came back.

One year later, the students’ film and video were found in the woods. The footage was compiled and made into a movie. The Blair Witch Project. — Kevin Overstreet, IMDb

The Tech & Specs

Directed, written and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, the movie itself only cost sixty thousand dollars to make, but made more than two hundred and fifty million worldwide. All was in the marketing of the movie.

To make the story believable, the three supposedly filmmaker students’ names were displayed as “missing” or “deceased” on various databases. All research done would conclude that the trailer for the movie was accurate and supported the work at the time.

The Blair Witch Project - 1999
The Blair Witch Project – 1999

The Blair Witch Project movie is the most successful independent film of all time. Something to be quite proud of, despite the lies told to make it such a success since now we all know the “filmmaker students” were in fact actors.

The legacy of the movie is a now a franchise, comic books, novels, dossiers, and plenty more different merchandise. Say what you will, The Blair Witch Project made its mark on the film industry.

The Eternal Debate

While some despise the movie saying it was ridiculous from beginning to end, have the right to think so as it was a very different approach to filming on a professional scale.

However, the documentary side of the movie, filmed as if it was an actual school project, had me quite curious back in 1999 when I was only a teenager. It still has me glued to the television despite the magic gone as we all know the story never happened.

Because I always was a fan of the paranormal and everything it encompasses, The Blair Witch Project to me was the ultimate achievement. When I watched it back then, over and over again, I wanted to know everything about this Blair Witch and learn more about her, the legend and folklore.

I was and still am to this day a research nerd due to my OCD, and so it took me no time with research to know it was all fake before officially announced. The magic might not have lasted long, but while it did, I thought the movie to be captivating.

Realistic Reactions

To those haters of the movie, I would like to say this: the terror felt real in the eyes of Heather Donahue, the “cabin fever” of Michael C. Williams was exceptional, and the disappearance of Joshua Leonard with a piece of his tongue, hair and teeth found later in the movie by a river, still has my skin crawl.

Think about it, if you would be to get lost in the woods in a place you don’t know with a paranormal story that you’re not sure to believe, how you would react?

The Blair Witch Project - 1999
The Blair Witch Project – 1999

Heather was the one capable of reading the map, while Michael knew nothing about it and ended up throwing it away. When they got lost in a quite strange manner and found themselves walking in circles over and over despite heading south, their psychological state slowly changed.

That’s what I believe made it more real, the slow change of personality. The terror in their mind settling in was also slow, but boosted once Joshua went missing and only got worst when Heather found the piece of his flannel shirt with a piece of what I believe was his tongue.

The Blair Witch Project - 1999
The Blair Witch Project – 1999

The forest itself, cursed by the Blair Witch with altars found here and there, tombstones and the symbol of the witch made the scenery quite creepier than it already was. Toward the end of the eighty-two-minute movie, when it’s night and Michael runs toward the screams of Joshua on the second night of hearing his voice, heading for a small house, something horrible is waiting for them.

The ending of the movie left some people perplexed; I wasn’t. My knowledge of the paranormal was enough to have me stipulate the woods itself was cursed, and the house was most likely a portal to hell.

That was my conclusion, and it still is to this day.

My Thoughts

The movie to me was fantastic back then, today I see it as a pioneer of its kind as it inspired other films such as The Fourth Kind, Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, among others.

The story itself was new, original and cleverly thought. The Blair Witch Project held quite a few promotional tricks that later on revealed to be lies. However, quite adequate for the success of the movie itself.

The Blair Witch Project - 1999
The Blair Witch Project – 1999

The directors came out with one of the first mockumentaries about a fabricated legend for the witch on the Sci-Fi Channel in 1999. Then, the creation of the fictional city of Blair which later on became part of Burkittsville in the state of Maryland. Also, a fake website that fed the legend around the witch and of course, pictures of the “filmmaker students” reported missing or deceased.

My honest opinion? Brilliant

Say what you will, this movie was groundbreaking for its time and inspired many successful movies to this day. Not all need to be high budget, CGI or fully action packed or manufactured.

Sometimes, just an original twisted thought, a camera, unknown actors and monsters nerds are needed to make a movie that even almost twenty years later we still debate about if it was good or bad.

Answer: good and I give it a 9/10 for its originality, clever thinking, brilliant acting and still have people talk about it today.

The OCD Vampire,
Alexa Wayne


2 thoughts on “The Blair Witch Project

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