Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Blair Witch Project

"The Blair Witch Project" (1999, Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick, Haxan Films, Artisan Entertainment) is one of the first Found Footage horror films I'd ever heard of.

As a teen I thought this film was scary. As an adult I'd say it was more atmospheric and some very good, realistic acting. The dialogue seems genuine and so doesn't have the forced feeling that some modern attempts have achieved.

Three students go missing in the woods while filming a documentary about local legend, The Blair Witch. All that was found was their footage.

The filming is very handycam, but not as purposefully shaky as some of the more modern attempts. The characters are surprisingly well rounded too, considering that we only really know them from their banter amongst themselves.

When the scary stuff starts it's not as graphic or as scary as we're used to, but the build up is actually quite impressive, propelled by Heather Donahue's tearful performance as she breaks down.

The main issue, despite the lack of actual physical scares, is that we are watching hand-filmed footage and so do not see much straight, head on action. While this can be used to affect (See "Rec"), it can be disorientating. Mainly I found it distracting. I'm not a huge fan of found footage.

However, the creep factor is definitely there and although it won't have you chewing the cushions, if you turn the lights out it will definitely please the casual horror film viewer.

I just laugh to think of all the hype at school about how it was all 'real'.

[Image: Haxan Films]