31 Days of Halloween Day 25 – The Blair Witch Project

31 Days of Halloween – Day 25

The Blair Witch Project (directed by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sànchez, 1999) Whether you like it or hate it, The Blair Witch Project is a polarizing film. Being promoted as a “true event” found footage film, this is the first movie I remember using the internet as the main promotional vehicle. The story was mysterious, aided by a vague website and a television “documentary” to hype the release of the film in theaters. Being made for a modest $60,000 and raking in $250,000,000 world wide, BWP is a true independent film success story. Three students set out into the Black Hills of Maryland to film a documentary on a local legend, Elly Kedward, a “witch” who was banished from a village after being suspected of practicing witchcraft. Events over the next two hundred years have led the residents of Burkittsville (formerly Blair) to believe that the area is cursed by Kedward, who is now simply known as the Blair Witch. The students, Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, and Mike Williams become disoriented and lost in the woods during their investigation. Each night, increasingly bizarre events take place, and the trio begin to unravel. The fear of what is in the dark takes its toll and the film makers, becoming more and more hostile to one another. After one of them vanishes during the night, the remaining members break down and lose hope. What happens on the final night of their nightmare journey is unexplained and shocking. Whatever opinion you take on this movie, it has undeniably made an impact on film making. Cheaply made, promoted expertly, and kick-starting the found footage genre, BWP has made it possible for anyone with a good idea and some editing software to produce a film. This is a great example of guerrilla-style film making at its finest. A lot of the acting is genuine reaction, as the directors only kept in contact through radio, and had the actors kept in the dark as to what would happen next. There are some really creepy scenes, such as the voices and shadows of children outside the tent during the third night, and the final sequence which leads to the abandoned house. The camera work is very shaky, and the actors do a lot of yelling, but if you can look past that, it really is an effective film. I buy into the theory that less is more when it comes to atmosphere and effects, and BWP is bare-bones in this aspect. It’s not what you see that scares you; it’s what you can’t see that you have to worry about. The film makers did a great job of leaning on this to create the unnerving nature of the movie. Fifteen years later we all know that the story isn’t true, and although it isn’t perfect, it is original and worth a little attention this Halloween.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects
  • Day 17 – Night of the Living Dead
  • Day 18 – Dawn of the Dead (’78)
  • Day 19 – Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
  • Day 20 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Day 21 – The Cabin In The Woods
  • Day 22 – A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
  • Day 23 – The Exorcist III
  • Day 24 – The Evil Dead (1981)
  • Day 25 – The Blair Witch Project
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