- Directed and Edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez
- January 23, 1999 (Sundance) / July 14, 1999 (US)
In October of 1994 three film students set out into the woods of Maryland to research the legend of The Blair Witch and eventually disappear. This is their story as told through their found footage.
Can someone to explain to me what the appeal of this film is? Seriously. This is the film that essentially started the found footage movie genre so you would think despite being imitated numerous times since it would still have some level of enjoyment but no, it does not. Films like Frankenstein or Dracula or The Mummy or The Wolfman, despite being copied numerous times, still retain a level of entertainment value. This has none.
I remember hearing some of the complaints of the film at the time it was released but thought they were people being hypercritical. There is a great deal of waiting for something to happen and the film certainly leads you to believe that there will be a payoff to all this but then it just stops. It goes and goes and then it is no more.
There is probably a very good reason that the two follow-up films have failed to really click with audiences. What is that reason? The first film, the foundation upon which the other two are built, was not really that good to begin with. The original RoboCop is a great film followed by two significantly lesser sequels along with a weaker television series, two animated series, a miniseries, and a big budget reboot. All of them were not as good as the source material yet people still return to the original RoboCop and its assorted connected inspirations because they still want a taste of that greatness and some of that greatness can still be found occasionally popping up in the other material.
The Blair Witch Project was a novelty act. It caught the public’s attention when it first came out because it was something unique in presentation. That novelty helped it to be successful and helps it to remain in the public consciousness but being an imitated novelty and in some cases imitated better does not mean you have or are a quality film. A novelty is a novelty and often others can do it better.
The characters are almost entirely unlikable. You need to care what happens to the characters even if they are not necessarily likable. There needs to be something that causes the audience to become invested in their fate but by about the midpoint in the film you just stop caring about them. Perhaps even earlier. You may even start hoping the witch gets them.
Perhaps the problem is that there was never an actual script to this film. It was all outlined with dialogue improvised. I am curious how much was fleshed out about each character before filming began. What traits did each character have or was supposed to have? I’m guessing they were given names and a very vague synopsis if much of anything.
The biggest sin of this film is that it builds but there is no payoff. There is the implication something will happen, but nothing ever does. You will lose an hour and a half of your life and get nothing out of it. Perhaps you do. Perhaps the lesson is do not always believe the hype.
The Blair Witch Project is an overhyped and overrated film. There is no justifiable reason to view it other than to view the movie that started the found film genre. Other than that, skip it.