Monday, October 3, 2016

31 Days of Horror: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)

Welcome horror fans, to Day 3 of the 31 DAYS OF HORROR!  We are back with another film in our lead up to Halloween, and today we will be reviewing the film that kicked off the "found footage" phenomenon...THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.  Enjoy!

As one of the biggest pop culture phenomenons of the last twenty years it feels odd to give a synopsis for The Blair Witch Project. The reason being is that two different versions could be given, one where you talk about a documentary, and one where you talk about a fictional found footage film. As twenty years have passed, I think it's pretty safe to assume anyone who's reading knows this is a fictional film disguised as a documentary from three student filmmakers who go into the woods near the town of Burketsville to investigate the legend of the Blair Witch, believed to haunt the woods.

Even after seventeen years from its release, to someone like me who didn't see the film until late in the game after having seen other found footage films that used the medium to great effect (Paranormal Activity, Rec, Chronicle), The Blair Witch Project remains a gem of the horror genre, one of the best ever made, indicative of the fact that what truly scares us is what we don't understand.

To talk about this film is also to talk about the many stories that surround its making which represent the brilliance and the inspiration these filmmakers had for the production. It is a film that, even after all of these years, remains original, fresh, unique and most of all terrifying. It is one of those movies where you just don't believe how they made it, how they came up with certain ideas and techniques, the one where you just keep asking yourself questions throughout the whole duration and one that still lets you enjoy the art of filmmaking and directing without ever calling attention to itself.

At the heart of this creepy madness are three performances that live on as remarkable efforts of acting and actor's direction. There isn't a false beat in these performances, there isn't a dull moment, you full heartily believe in these three characters, you appreciate them as fully rounded, three dimensional real people which is what ultimately makes this film that much more terrifying. Again, the stories of how the directors pulled these performances from the actors are fascinating and indicate truly inspiring, great filmmaking from two individuals that had a clear, beautiful vision for this picture.

The characters manage to feel so alive and real, which is where almost all of the true horror takes place. In reality, what we have as set-pieces are a couple of sounds, one iconic image and a final set-piece. Yet it feels like so much more. That is because of how insanely close you manage to get with the characters. The found footage trope was used to extreme brilliance here, it was dictated by story and manages to bring us into the world of these people as no other medium could have ever done. I mean you feel every drop of sweat, every breath they take, and ever bit of insanity the characters are put through. It is absolutely harrowing.

Moreover, the film also manages to have a thematic line and delves deeply into the realms of starving, desperation, getting lost and confronting yourself with death. All of this subtext it what actually makes the film as tension-filled and scary as it is. The raw portrayal of this wears you out by the end and you have just the same will of these characters to get the f**k out of the woods.

As a big horror fan, as a true film fan, as a lover of the art of filmmaking and as an adrenaline junkie I cannot recommend The Blair Witch Project enough, turn off all your lights, put away all other electronic devices, make sure the screen is the only source of light surrounding you and experience this film in all of its glory, you will have a blast, it lives on as one of the scariest films ever made.

James's Score: 8.5/10

Make sure to check out the rest of the 31 Days of Horror and check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

1 comment:

  1. I think this is an absolutely stellar horror film and a real classic in the genre. They really nailed the found-footage aspects and defined that genre in a meaningful way. I also thought that it did a great job at building tension and *SPOILER ALERT* the high octane finish to the sudden end of the film is really effective when leaving it. I also gave this an 8.5! :)