The Blair Witch Project: One Of My Favorite Horror Films
If you were to ask me what is the scariest film I’d ever seen, I would answer: The Blair Witch Project (1999). I think this is one of the best horror films ever made. If you haven’t seen the film then I’d highly recommend watching it before continuing reading this.
The Blair Witch Project is a found footage horror film from 1999. The synopsis is In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found. I really love the story of this film. It’s very simple, yet effective.
Before I dive into the story more, I’d like to talk about the marketing of this film. The filmmakers were able to convince many people that this film was real. They made websites, missing persons posters, and word of mouth. The film gained much hype over the marketing, which is well deserved. The film was made on a $35,000 budget and it grossed $248,600,000. It became the highest grossing independent film of all time.
This film is written and directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. I think they did an excellent job with the script and the direction of this film. Their script was mostly a blueprint of the story, so the directors put a lot of trusts in the actors to improvise the dialogue. They let the actors go in the woods and shoot the scenes with improvised dialogue. They were then able to put over 20 hours of footage into a horror film. They deserve the recognition for their work on this film.
Like I said, I really love the story of this film. Three student filmmakers are making a documentary on the Blair Witch and get lost in the woods. It starts off like a documentary but as the characters get lost in the woods, we see how they react to their situation.
What makes this film truly scary to me is when I put myself in the character’s shoes. When they are lost in the woods and wander around looking for a way out, I imagine myself being in that situation and I get really freaked out. It’s especially horrifying when the characters experience the horror at night.
The night scenes are truly terrifying. The characters hear what sounds like trees being smashed and children laughing. It gets under my skin every time. Again, when I put myself in their shoes, I’m scared to death. The sound design is phenomenal.
I think this film succeeds because of what it doesn’t show. We don’t see much of anything besides the character’s POV. We don’t see a witch or any kills, but I think that was smart. What I imagine is more horrifying than what the film could actually show. The best example of this is when Heather and Mike hear their missing friend Josh yell for help. Is it actually Josh or is it the Witch tricking them. I imagine the witch controlling Josh like a puppet in a fucked up way. To me, that’s more horrifying than actually seeing anything like that on screen.
Rei Hance as Heather is a great character. She’s the director behind the documentary and is excited to make her first film. She thinks she’s in control until she realizes she’s way over her head and realizes she got them lost and is at fault. I love her confession near the end with that iconic shot of her close up face. It’s very heartbreaking and I feel awful for her everytime I watch the film. Hance does a tremendous job as Heather.
Josh Leonard as Josh and Michael Williams as Mike are also great characters. I understand their frustration with the awful situation and feel for them. I think the two actors do a great job with selling the horror of their situation.
The ending of the film is truly iconic and I love it. Mike and Heather entering that creepy house, thinking they will find Josh, only to be killed is an intense sequence. The final shot always puts a chill down my spine.
The Blair Witch Project is a film I will watch for the rest of my life. It’s not only well made, it’s truly one of the best horror films ever made. I don’t think any other film will scare me as much as this film.