FILM RESPONSE TO THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)

I have seen this movie for the first time in 2000 and I was really looking forward to seeing it. However, I was deeply disappointed by the movie. It is lame, I think and it relies on that X-Files hype. However, I can somehow see that it has worked in the movie theaters by the time it was released. If one believes to be true what happens there, it certainly can be very frightening. However, if one believes the movie footage is real, I can’t help those people. I cannot believe that people held that to be true. Even if they think the story is true – so what? The footage is not real! That is the point. And everybody who once in a while filmed at a party or a wedding knows that this is not real.

Shaky-cam-style

I do not want know what to say about photography and that stuff, as this movie is in shaky-cam-style. The footage that is meant to use in the documentary is shot in black and white and less shaky than the stuff the girl films. In my opinion, the black and white parts are inserted into the movie because in doing so, the other parts look more “realistic”. The documentary parts are pretty elaborated with a movie camera (16mm), the occurrences in the woods are filmed with an ordinary video camera. This increases the reality effect. The shaky-cam-style towards the end of the movie grows more “shaky ” because nervousness grows and there is a need to make the scenes realistic. Whispering, shots in the dark, non-focusing of the events (camera “looks” into a different direction) contribute to this attempt.

Blair Witch reminded me so much of the times when I was 13 or 15 years old

Blair Witch reminded me so much of the times when I was 13 or 15 years old and my friends and I went to the nearest wood with Dad’s video camera to shoot a little horror flick. Some sandwich bags filled with ketchup and stuff were used to create the “gore effects” (J). Emphasized and overacted statements (“Oh my God, what can we do!”) were the main ingredients in our movies.

I was reminded by Blair Witch of those times! I mean, this is basically what those guys (directors, actors etc.) were doing! Only that they are older. I do not say that it must be bad or less artful therefore, but I have the feeling that a lot of products are said to be “artful” nowadays only because they look “different ” from the ordinary stuff. In the case of the movie industry, it might be the reluctant attitude of some people towards mainstream movies. Those people would celebrate every movie that is different from that. If it looks a little bit artful and “independent”, they like it. Even it is a movie by some teenagers going to the woods to look for a witch.

 


I have written this film response in 2000 in my “The Horror Movie” undergraduate class (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)

Image: Artisan Entertainment.

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