The Blair Witch Project Relys on Psychological Scares.
The Blair Witch Project raises feelings of powerlessness, being hunted and the hopeless unknown. All for about 35K...with some ingenious Internet marketing.
“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 was led to a website that started with those now famous words. It told the story of a lady who, in 1785, was accused and found guilty of witchcraft. After being banished from the Township of Blair in North Central Maryland she is then blamed for the disappearance of all of her accusers and others within the township. And now three filmmakers have disappeared tracking down the legend. How intriguing…how inspirational…how revolutionary…how totally cool. I was sucked in.
The Blair Witch Project first introduces us to the main characters by showing us the footage of them preparing to travel into Burkittsville, Maryland to investigate the legend of the Blair Witch. Heather, Josh, and Mike are three film students with three different personalities that begin their journey through the backwoods of what was once the Blair Township. We then watch as all three begin to have their spirits broken from cheerful, to frustrated, to suspicious, to downright terrified. The ending just cements the type of horror that causes long, sleepless nights.
The Blair Witch Project is a classic study in the way a director allows the styles of his influences to flow through his own. Myrick and Sanchez (filmmakers) take a meager budget ($35,000 Note: Night of the Living Dead cost $114,000 in 1968), Hi-8 and 16mm cameras, and create a masterpiece of cinema. Throughout the film you will see the combined styles of Romero, Carpenter, Hooper and even Welles. The editing room floor must have been littered with cut footage. The first cut was two and a half hours long and was cut more to a time of 86 minutes. Not a task that I would have wanted to undertake.
There is no soundtrack, no monster, no special effects, and no gore. Ninety percent of the standard content of the horror movie is absent. The only thing left is the other ten percent or the psychological effect. With the lack of visual effects the viewer is forced to uses the power of the imagination to visualize what could be out there bringing fear to the students.The Blair Witch Project is not for everyone, in fact it is either loved or hated (I loved it my g-f hated it), but should be viewed by every horror fan. It should also be required viewing for any student of film and filmmaking. If for no other reason than to show what can be done with virtually nothing to work with except for imagination, determination, and a passion for their art