Blair Witch Project Movie Review Essay, Research Paper
“In October of ‘94, three student filmmakers disappear in the woods of Burkittsville, MD, while shooting a documentary… a year later their footage was found.” With that introduction, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez launched what was one of the most chilling and most successful horror movies in the last 20 years. The Blair Witch rises above typical horror movie genre and brings about something very rare, a horror film with genuinely frightening moments.
This movie tells a story of three high school students, Heather (Heather Donahue) Josh, (Josh Leonard) and Mike (Mike Williams) who set out to shoot a documentary about the well known legend of the Blair Witch. The witch is said to haunt the woods and is responsible for a series of child murders in the 1940’s. They begin by interviewing the townspeople, who warn them of the legends and horrifying tales that relate. Then, they venture off into the woods to investigate the legend, with only a few cameras, a DAT machine, and a few minimal supplies to get by for the 3 day excursion.
Shot over 6 days and nights, all the footage is filmed by the three students on the equipment they are carrying. The film had no scripts, and each character reacted to the situation the director placed them in. With the whole film improvised, the characters become real, and the story line becomes more frightening, leaving the viewer on the edge of his seat. The audience fears for the safety of the students, even though it has already been established that the three never return home.
The Blair Witch Project, succeeds in making a good horror film without blood baths, determined killers, or the Scream Queen, Jamie Lee Curtis. The viewers see little, allowing them to imagine what it is that makes the noise’s in the forest each night, and who it is that places the rocks in three piles right outside their tent.
Make no mistake, the film has its flaws. It is only 80 minutes long and drags in the middle when the three have nothing left to do but bicker between eachother and breakdown. And the camera movement can pose a problem to those viewers who are prone to motion sickness. Finally, a major detail that wraps up the ending is only mentioned once in the very beginning. If you aren’t paying attention, you won’t understand when the screen turns black.
It is easy to get swept up in this film, and to believe the characters are real people in a real situation. It has done something that no film has since the Excorcist, touching something in everyone, that remain creepy in the process. Horror films this good, this different, and this realistic are too few, and far between.