The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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Old and, from a modern viewpoint, tired as well.  As part of a film school project, a few students explore the areas that locals claim are home to a blood thirsty witch.

Beware the following will contain plot detail.

Halloween, for kids, is a time for sweets and all things spooky. For adults, a great excuse to watch a horror movie. So, with another sequel (see Book of Shadows) to The Blair Witch Project soon to be released, how good is the original?

Shot completely in a found footage style, it is from the perspective of Heather, who is trying to document the local myth of the Blair Witch. In total, we have 3 young friends who brave the woods in search of the Witch but become lost. So far so ordinary, it’s not until first night where things turn ugly. Cue some screaming in shoddy night vision to get the spine tingling. Rather repetitively, the cycle then continues with day sections filled with minor and increasing drama between the documenters, and the night where the Witch strikes. I found it all unimpressive and would describe it as creepy rather than scary.

For a film trying to ground itself in reality, the Witch is purposefully almost never shown which leaves the audience and one of the crew himself to wonder if it’s all just an elaborate prank. Due to the found footage style, there was no music to enhance the feeling of danger either. In trying to recall the scariest part, I struggle as the only distinctive moment that I remember from watching this was as the credits rolled and wishing I had watched anything else.

Altogether then, it’s very forgettable. Maybe it is not my style of horror but I did enjoy Cloverfield, which also adopts a found footage style. The premise is fine but, in execution, it’s beyond disappointing. It still surprises me there is demand for another, despite Halloween raising the profile of horrors like TBWP. Is this then, a trick or a treat? Most definitely, a trick.

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