When I saw the commercial for The Blair Witch Project, I was seven years old, and it dug right down into me. I vowed that I would do whatever I could to not see that movie. Later, as I became a teenager, I saw a special on the top 100 movies of all time, in which Blair Witch placed. After getting a taste, I rented it. That decision to break by vow and watch that movie is one of the best and worst decisions I ever made. It's a good horror movie. So good that I discovered what I'm scared of, and now sleep can occasionally be a challenge.
The gimmick of this movie is that it's a fictional documentary, but it's not the comedic "mockumentary"; this is how a small team of filmmakers research and search for a myth, that ends up seeming too real. When the film starts, it is stated that the movie was found in the forest by itself, setting the tone. After that statement, the film rolls and it's just a few college kids getting ready for a trip. Everything seems normal. They collect all their things, and then go out to start their documentary, researching the myth that is "The Blair Witch". Does this sound familiar to you at all?
It wouldn't to the people who attended theaters in 1999. Blair Witch was a trendsetter; it is responsible for the overall presentation of much bigger movies like Cloverfield
, Paranormal Activity
, and the less successful Diary of the Dead
. So it may be old news as you see it present day, but take into account that this movie started it all.
As the team gathers more footage, more information about the Blair Witch is revealed. These bits of information, more or less, become important later on, so if you skim over that part, thinking it's just lame setup, you are in for a rude awakening at the end. The documentary's final shots are to be shot in the forest in which many say the Blair Witch resides, and over time, they seem to get lost. While this seems like the usual scary movie tactic we've seen before, it stresses out each character, and it reveals the amount of sanity and patience that all three characters have during their ordeal.
In fact, that's really the only part I don't like. It's an essential part to the story, because the group gets paranoid, suspicious, and frustrated. This would eventually lead the characters to doing the drastic things that otherwise would seem like the same retarded moves that we see in every typical horror movie. The problem is that it takes too long. The frustration sequences started to test my patience; though the scares slowly start to amp up, each moment is separated by the watching how the characters move farther away from each other, move closer, then farther, then closer, testing their friendships and minds. Once again, it's a great way to feed us the same stupid decisions in a new form.
Do you ever see the Witch? From what I saw, no, but that adds to the movie's creepiness. To know that something is going on, but you never figure out how it is happening, leaves what's behind the camera to your imagination, and the imagination often finds it funny to screw with your head, even after you stopped watching the movie. Even at the end (the crazy-suspenseful end), a small amount is left out of the shot, left to you to think about. As you sleep, you won't see anything, since you didn't see a monster or a witch to base your own monster on, but that's what's so devious about this film: being afraid of the dark seems childish, until you really start thinking about the many possibilities as to what is sitting just outside your bedroom door.
Also, reversed child laughter is very
creepy. Especially the one breath that seems to be right next to your ear. You'll know when you hear it.