Monday, February 28, 2011

The Blair Witch Project, Dirs. Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, 1999

This review is analysing the style of Daniel Myrick’s and Eduardo Sánchez’s directed movie “The Blair Witch Project”. This movie is a good example of how it is possible to make a low budget film earning loads of money. This review is based on Roger Ebert’s review from Chicago-Sun Times, Todd McCarthy’s review from and James Berardinelli’s review from “ReelViews”.


“The Blair Witch Project” is a 1999 American horror film; the narrative is presented as a documentary pieced together from amateur footage, filmed in real time. The film was produced by the Haxan Films production company. The film relates the story of three young student filmmakers (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams) who hiked into the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland to film a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch, and went missing. The viewers are told that the three were never seen or heard from again, although their video and sound equipment (along with most of the footage they shot) was discovered a year later. This "recovered footage" is presented as the film the viewer is watching.


"The Blair Witch Project" has no fancy special effects or digital monsters, but its characters get lost in the woods, hear noises in the night and find disturbing stick figures hanging from trees and Roger Ebert explains why it looks so realistically disturbing: “The film's style and even its production strategy enhance the illusion that it's a real documentary. The characters have the same names as the actors. All of the footage in the film was shot by two cameras--a color video camcorder operated by the director, Heather (Heather Donahue), and a 16-mm. black and white camera, operated by the cameraman, Josh (Joshua Leonard). Mike (Michael Williams) does the sound. All three carry backpacks, and are prepared for two or three nights of sleeping in tents in the woods.” (July 16, 1999, Cgicago Sun-Times). Todd McCarthy also helps to understand how childishly it is played with audience’s feelings: “An intensely imaginative piece of conceptual filmmaking that also delivers the goods as a dread-drenched horror movie, "The Blair Witch Project" puts a clever modern twist on the universal fear of the dark and things that go bump in the night.” (Tue., Jan. 26, 1999, When people are extremely concentrated and deeply drowned into the movie they actually stop realising how simply everything is made there, takes everything as real facts and lets they’re emotions go free into the dark corners of horror.


“The Blair Witch Project” is presented as a documentary within a documentary. Aspiring director Heather Donahue, a film student at Montgomery College, has decided to chronicle the legend of the supposed "Blair Witch" - a mythical figure that has supposedly haunted Maryland's Black Hills Forest since the late 18th century and is credited for numerous, heinous murders and another thing that makes it so real is that it is easy to notice how spontaneous and simple filming was. Everything was made just in the way as it should be. “The element that makes The Blair Witch Project unusually compelling is the atypical manner in which it is presented. Every scene is a point-of-view shot, shown exactly as one might expect from someone carrying around a video camera. The transitions are unexpected and often jarring - the kind of thing that would result from turning the camera off at one point, then turning it back on later.” (James Berardinelli, date of publishing unknown, “ReelViews”). There are several scenes when the plot becomes stunningly uncanny too… For example, when a child tires to shut his mother’s mouth while interviewing about the story of the “Blair Witch” is just brilliant.

All in all, this movie couldn’t have been made in any other better way. It proves that everything in movie making actually depends from the idea and realisation – not from the budget or special effects. This is definitely one of those worth to see movies.


Roger Ebert

Todd McCarthy

James Berardinelli’

1. Missing main characters
2.Freaky dolls in the woods
3.Colourful camera view

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