THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT appreciation thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Justin_S, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Seeing how Halloween is upon us, and this film is one that I must watch every Halloween night, I thought I'd do this appreciation thread. I love talking with other fans of the film, so this thread seemed like a sweet idea to me.

    THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is one of my top 10 favorite films of all time, is my personal pick for the best film of the 90s, and is an absolute masterpiece of horror! This film was so hyped, and it is one of the few films that actually lived up to its hype for me. I absolutely treasure this film, and in all honesty, I watch my DVD of it once every two weeks. Also, in all honesty, I think this film is definitely the scariest film I've seen! I am a seasoned horror fanatic, and no film had ever freaked me out as bad as this one did. The unknown/unseen is truly terrifying as hell, and this film proved it. I still have a hard time sleeping after rewatching this film, because it really gets to me, and no, I never thought it was real.

    Whenever I tell people I love this film, I usually get a negative response, but I couldn't give two shits what anyone else thinks, because to me, this film is a true cinematic masterpiece, and I am not afraid to admit it.

    I, for one, liked all of the characters, and really identified with them and their awful situation. You can say they were all bad actors, but their performances were 100% believable for me, and that is great acting in my book. I especially loved Heather Donahue, and I thought her performance was perfect, and I found her very likeable, and not an annoying bitch as I have seen several people say.

    The unknown is extremely scary, and that is never more evident in any other film than this one. The bone chilling tent scene is done perfectly, as is basically every scene of this film. I was terrified from the moment they entered the woods (knowing the inevitability of things to come) to the eerie climax.

    I also wanted to mention one thing that I never see mentioned. This film has one remarkably effective (as if it weren't an effective enough film already) effect which is a much more subtle dread causing effect, and it just adds even more dread to the film if you ask me. The fact that when they first enter the woods, you can hear all sorts of animals, but the deeper into the woods they get, everything is dead silent and there are no animals in sight. Very subtle and creepy effect, even if it were unintentional, it works in spades.

    The naysayers can disagree all they want, but to me, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT will ALWAYS be an undisputed classic of cinematic horror! So come on, join me in appreciative discussion of this gem!
     
  2. ChuckSolo

    ChuckSolo Screenwriter

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    This is one of those movies that you either love or hate. I personally liked it. I think what negativity lies in it is the way the film itself was shot. Many people I know who saw this film complained of motion sickness due to the instability of the camera. I personally found it extremely creepy and unsettling, especially the part where they can hear their buddy screaming and find his teeth in a piece of his shirt in the morning. Very good movie, one of the best, but not, IMHO, the greatest of the '90s though. I thought the sequal was rotten to the core.
     
  3. Nick_Scott

    Nick_Scott Second Unit

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    I think the massive backlash against the movie had less to do with the movie itself, but more with the huge marketing campaign that was behind it.

    Heck, I was impressed when they released the fake documentary about it!! Almost fooled me..

    I watched it for what is was: A super-low budget, artsy, horror-movie, and I liked it.

    It was a tough movie to watch in the theater though. When I first saw it, the theater was packed. 1/2 the theater would scream with the scary scenes, and the others would laugh! You could tell that reactions were definetly mixed, but thats how a lot of movies are.

    I also liked BlairWitch-2. Pretty good horror movie. Probobly would have done better if they did not associate the movie with Blair Witch-1 directly..

    Nick
     
  4. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Count me among those who love this movie. I wouldn't call it the best movie on the '90s, but it's certainly in the top 20. The best thing, besides perhaps the performances, was how they managed to make an incredibly suspenseful movie without using any violence.
     
  5. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    I agree with most everything you say.

    I'm always surprised to see people put Blair Witch on their "Worst Movies of All Time" lists. It's an excellent film and a great example of the "what you don't see is more frightening that what you do see" school of horror film making. (My girlfriend, who is usually a pretty rational person, went around and turned on all the lights inside our house after we got back from seeing the movie).

    I don't understand why Blair Witch has inspired such a backlash, but it definitely has. Sure there was a lot of hype surrounding it, but so what? Many movies are overly-hyped. I see a lot of people complaining that "it looks like it cost ten dollars to make" which is a really stupid criticism - as if the size of a film's budget had anything to do with its artistic quality. Blair Witch doesn't need a big budget or fancy CGI to do what it does. Other people complain that "nothing happens" - not true. A lot does happen, it just isn't spelled out for you as it is with most horror movies.

    I thought all the charachters were realistic, well-drawn, and well-acted. (As for anyone who would call the female charachter "an annoying bitch," well, to me that says a lot more about THEM than it does about the movie.)

    Actually, when I stop to think about it, considering the film's many strengths, which run completely counter to the popular big-budget Hollywood way of making movies (Haunting remake anyone?), I'm surprised Blair Witch was as well-liked as it was.
     
  6. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Count me in as a huge fan. This movie got everything right. Not only was it effective (for me) in what it was trying to be, but their marketing tie in was also pitch perfect, with the websites and documentaries only bolstering what they had on the screen. This worked so well with the faux documentary concept I know quite a few people who went it half expecting something real.

    The characters they created came off as real enough that I cared about what happened to them. And their increasing hopelessness as they realize they are further and further from any type of rescue comes across wonderfully. When I think back to opening day as everyone was quietly listening to the sounds of the pitch black woods, anxiously waiting for Heather to open the cloth pouch or being creeped out by the stick figures, I renew my admiration of what they were able to do.

    As a final note, considering the great buildup that they had done, I was on the edge of my seat as they approached the house. Thinking that what they find couldn't possibly live up to my expectations, I was (as I had been with Seven) totally blindsided by one of the most suggestively shocking scenes that is built from a foundation created much earlier in the film. Just brilliant.
     
  7. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Yeah, the marketing was fantastic. The Curse of the Blair Witch documentary is almost as frightening as the movie! It gives me the chills, and is very well done for a promotional piece.

    I also must concur about the ending. One of the best endings in cinematic history, and a perfectly terrifying finale to a perfectly terrifying film.
     
  8. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Count me in as one who loved it. Many people I've talked to just don't get it. I guess for someone that grew up in an urban environment that never spent much time in the wilderness this movie wouldn't do much for them.
    Maybe because I used to play in the woods near my house constantly with friends when I was younger and had the experience of walking through a near pitch black woods. Every sound you heard would get to you and play with your head.
    While watching the movie I became absorbed into the story and actually felt like I was there with my hair standing on end.

    Jeff
     
  9. Tommy G

    Tommy G Screenwriter

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    The best horror movies out there are the ones where the villain is the unseen. This worked incredibly well in Blair Witch. Psycho made people not want to take showers in the 60's. Jaws made people not want to swim in the ocean in the 70's and Blair Witch made people not want to go camping in the woods in the 90's. Yeah, the cinematography seemed very shaky but it was based upon the findings of original movie tins that were lost for a few years. Very original and scary.
     
  10. RyanPC

    RyanPC Stunt Coordinator

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    I will admit, BWP probably had the greatest marketing gimmick of all time. I have to say I disliked the film, but seeing as this is an appreciation thread, I will try to point out the good things about the film.

    As others before me have said, fear of the unknown is probably one of the most successful and frightening kinds of horror. A movie I recently saw for the first time did this particularly well-- The Haunting (1963). I think that both The Haunting and BWP are very similar in the fact that there are no visual thrills whatsoever; everything is left to the imagination. While BWP took a different approach to the material, basically it is the same thing. You don't see any monsters, nothing jumping out at you from the shadows. YOU have to make up in your mind what that monster looks like. That is what makes it all the more scary.

    There are plenty of reasons why I dislike BWP-- the shaky camera movements, way too much talking and profanity, no real resolution at the end of the film-- but I won't go into those too much. It IS an effective horror film, because it did generate fear in some of the people who watched it. I for one was not scared in the least bit of the movie, but that is just me.

    Because it did generate some fear and because of the brilliant marketing program, that is why it is considered a classic of the 90's.
     
  11. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    One of the first (and lamest) movie reviews I ever wrote was for The Blair Witch Project. I'll spare you my silly ramblings from five years ago; suffice to say that I loved the movie then and I still do to this day.
     
  12. BarryS

    BarryS Second Unit

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    I'm a fan of TBWP. I think, on my first viewing I was a bit disappointed initially by the ending. I think I expected something a bit more explicit. However, I now have a much better appreciation for what the filmmakers were doing. I like how ambiguous it is, and the psychological aspect is great. I love the Hitchcockian "fear of the unseen" approach. The movie never comes out and says "There's a witch-ghost chasing them!". In fact, nothing explicitly supernatural ever happens in the film. The viewer can either see the events as supernatural, or decide that it's all in the heads of Heather, Josh and Mike. The viewer makes the decision.

    The Blair Witch Project is not a movie that will make you "jump" particularly. It provides nary a visceral shock or thrill. However, what makes it a success and a great horror film is the way that it creeps into your subconscious and gives you an uneasy feeling. You don't know what is making those sounds in the night or what stacked up those piles of rocks or what produced the little stick figures. Immediately, your imagination goes to work. Not many horror films involve the viewer's imagination as much as TBWP. I admit the endless chitchat and bickering grates on my nerves a bit, but the spooky scenes more than make up for it. The ending of this film has to rank among the creepiest sequences I've ever seen in a movie. Every time I watch the film, I'm on pins and needles through the entire last five minutes. The minute they walk up to that house, my heart begins pounding. I don't think I've ever seen creepier footage than the scenes in the inside of the house. Those bloody handprints in the stairwell!!! Holy crap............. I get spooked just thinking about it.

    The Blair Witch Project is a masterpiece of psychological horror.
     
  13. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Blair Witch was one of the very few movies that truly frightened me. Granted, I don't see many out-and-out horror movies, but I don't scare easily. Three nights after seeing TBWP I had trouble going to sleep.

    As many have pointed out, the way the film plays on the viewers'imagination is great. The shaky camera work was fine, once you get used to it. My only complaint was the profanity - I know all the dialogue was ad-libbed, but it grew old quickly.

    The ending was very, very disturbing. I haven't seen the film since my first viewing in the theater, but I respect what it did right.
     
  14. Leroy

    Leroy Second Unit

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    I saw this opening weekend with a large group(around 8 or so) of friends and we were split 50/50 on it. I really liked it and was creeped out by the night time scenes and of course that ending!

    Wouldn't you know it, I was camping in up near the Buffalo National River a few weekes later and every sound I heard at night would freak me out!:b We were pretty isolated(only people camping in the area) and it had rained earlier so rocks were constanlt sliding down muddy slopes and making all sorts of noises on the way down....creepy...

    So that shows how effective a movie BWP was as nothing really ever scares me in horror movies.
     
  15. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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    I'll join the group of I Love Blair Witch Project fandom.

    Excellent film. The "crying in the night" scene (in pitch-darkness) and Heather discovering the bloody mess of teeth/bones/(or whatever it was) are two classic horror scenes in my view. Chill-inducing for me.

    The ending might have been a slight disappointment (in that we're not really sure what's found in that house at the end)...but, then again, the ending is being true to the rest of the film's premise: What you don't see....
     
  16. Sergio Z.

    Sergio Z. Stunt Coordinator

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    Same here, one of my horror favs...the unseen evil was a nice approach....when she interviews the old woman talking about the witch with dark black hair on her arms and body, that just got my mind rolling for the rest of the movie...unforgettable!
     
  17. MikeFR

    MikeFR Supporting Actor

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    When I first saw this movie, I believe it was the second day it was out, I knew nothing about the movie other than their was some 'first person' camera work that could make people a little queasy.

    It was one of the best movie theater experiences I have ever had. Knowing nothing about the movie allowed me to go into it without any predjudices and I had an open mind. The second time I watched the movie I didnt like it nearly as much and I got hung up on how stupid they were in the woods. But the first time was classic.

    Great movie, its unfortunate that the hype turned so many people off. I think if people went into the movie like I did they would have enjoyed it much more.
     
  18. Tab Nichols

    Tab Nichols Stunt Coordinator

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    This movie is one of my faves of all time.... Already considered a classic as far as I am concerned.

    BW2 was good too. It was a different style of movie from the first, and it appealled ot different people.... I however enjoyed the twists, and the group paranoia and fear that is shown through it.

    Most people tend to dislike both of them for their lack of a conclusive ending. Its funny, because thats the same reason most poeple like the X Files.
     
  19. Craig_O

    Craig_O Agent

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    This movie scared the bejesus out of me. I love scary movies and this one did for me. When was the last time you heard of a 30 year old man sleeping with the lights on? I did after seeing this movie at the midnight showing. Only a few other people I know actually liked. Most complained about getting sick because of the camera always moving around or so they say.
     
  20. Jason Boucher

    Jason Boucher Stunt Coordinator

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    All right, if you want a naysayer, I was in the hated it category. The scare didn't work for me. Shoot down this argument that I repeatedly make. It was poor filmmaking. In any award category, where does the artistry excel--acting, direction, editing, screenwriting, lighting, cinematography, special effects, et al.? Give me one example of where the movie excels, or even meets minimally accepted standards? I guess you can argue that the sum of the whole exceeds it parts, but I think that calling this one of the greatest horror films of all time does a disservice to the work that masters like Carpenter, DePalma and Hitchcock exhibit. Even for those who were scared, might the same effect not be achieved on some by placing them in a pitch dark theater with creepy audio? You can't say that the film was great--maybe the experience. Have at me! I'm flameproof.
     

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