“The Blair Witch Project is one of the smartest horror films around”
- Bold Statement Bro
Whenever I ask someone whether they’ve seen the Blair Witch Project they usually reply with ‘yeah, its shit’. A simple statement to sum up a film they’ve probably never actually seen.
The Blair Witch Project is highly acclaimed as being the most popular indie movie of all time earning $248,639,099 worldwide. As one of the first films to use hand held cameras and use them well; it kicked off a whole series of films like Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield. And yet it still has this stigma amongst audiences.
To be fair the suspense building at the start can be seen as boring but it’s necessary for the payoffs. Every little bit of noise or dialogue adds to the plot, it’s not just 3 teens chatting for an hour in the woods.
What’s most impressive is what they created with such a ridiculously small budget. They still managed to make it scarier than a lot of high budget horrors. It’s the same technique paranormal activity used years later; you don’t need to see the antagonist to be terrified of them. The Blair Witch Project does to woods what Jaws did to the sea. Guaranteed no one’s going camping for a while after seeing it.
Most surprising was the quality of acting, it’s actually not bad. Main lead Heather Donahue makes her characters breakdown believable. When they end up getting lost and going round in circles in the woods you start to share their sense of ‘oh shit, there’s no way out’.
The night scenes are brilliant. Yet again, like Paranormal Activity, the use of sound when everything is dark on the screen is highly affective. Screams heard from the woods are terrifying when you can hear the shallow breathe of the teens over the camera.
And there it is, everything the film has been building towards. The final showdown in an abandoned house in the middle of the woods. Your heads been filled with local tales of murderers that lived there and the increasingly scary encounters the teens have had with the Blair Witch. It does not disappoint.
You might not have watched The Blair Witch Project but you will have subconsciously seen a lot of references to it, with techniques so commonly used you might as well see where it all started.