Just a quick reminder that My Thoughts On… posts may contain spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film in question, please skip down to the section titled Why Should You See This Film? where you will find no spoilers!
Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind. (via IMDb)
What I Liked
- I knew so much about The Blair Witch Project, without ever actually having seen it. Until fairly recently, I had never wanted to see it; I have always eschewed horror films as not being for me at all, until I decided that it was time to branch out and find some that I might enjoy. My search up until this point had been fairly fruitless, but I enjoyed The Blair Witch Project a lot. I didn’t necessarily find it that scary, but given that I knew so much about it, and it is spoken about so positively for most people, there was always a good chance that it would fail to live up to the hype, and it didn’t.
- I think the acting is spectacularly good. It’s no surprise to me that when it was first released, the myth that it was real footage was allowed to perpetuate, because it feels so very real. And it’s not even the scary, tense moments that feel real; it’s all the normal, day-to-day stuff. I totally bought into the idea that these were three college students going into the woods to shoot a film, because the lead up to them getting stranded in the woods felt so real. Sure, Heather is super annoying, but she never feels like someone that you couldn’t come across in real life.
- I’m a sucker for good sound in a film, and I think The Blair Witch Project had it in spades. Mainly because I love the sound of people trekking through a wood; all the stuff underfoot cracking and rustling as they walk over it really appeals to me for some reason.
- I just about bought into the contrivance that Heather would want to film everything. Found footage films can be problematic for this reason; why would they continue filming when such terrible things are happening. Surely you’d just abandon the camera and run for your life? But Josh and Mike pull Heather up on this; when things get bad and she’s still filming, they become exasperated, and she defends herself by saying that if she doesn’t film what’s happening, the whole thing will be for nothing, and she can’t give in to that, because if she does, she’ll lose it. With that, I was able to reconcile myself, just about.
- It’s 81 minutes long. You can’t be angry at a film that is less than an hour and a half out of your life, even if you hate every minute of it.
What I Didn’t Like
- Like I mentioned above, I didn’t find it that scary. There were a couple of moments where I really expected myself to get scared, preparing to start watching through my fingers, but then it didn’t happen. I think maybe if I had seen it in a cinema, when it first came out, with all the media hype surrounding it, it might have been different, but sitting in my best friends’ house, fifteen years after the fact, diluted the response somewhat. I’ve spent most of my adulthood declaring that horror films aren’t for me because I hate being scared, but since I decided to start watching them, I haven’t found one that has genuinely creeped me out or scared me witless. I will gladly accept suggestions! (Except for The Wicker Man. I won’t watch The Wicker Man.)
Why Should You See This Film?
Let me guess: you’ve actually already seen this film, right? I think I’m the last person in the world to see it! The Blair Witch Project is one of those films that you watch, and think “I’ve seen this done before,” but the truth of the matter is that all of those type of films were spawned from the success of this one. So while the idea of the found footage film has been done to death, The Blair Witch Project kind of got there first. And the device just about works. The acting is, in my opinion, the best thing about the film, and it’s clear to me why there was a huge amount of ambiguity over whether or not the footage was real. At 81 minutes, if you haven’t already seen it, I’d definitely give it a go. It’s not as scary as I would have hoped, but it’s a pretty good watch.