Made on a shoe string budget and using super viral marketing, this film was ground breaking and news of this spread like wild fire over the internet prior to it’s official release back in 1999. It’s anything but amateur, although attempting to look so, this is a very well put together film and works perfect, plenty of threads which tie up neatly at the finale, although you might have to watch carefully and listen to every line. Saying that, there is still plenty to think and talk about afterwards. Clever.
So, the plot follows Heather Donahue on her collage project to research the history, the legend of the Blair Witch. Bringing a few friends on board, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams to help shoot her detective work. She interviews random people in the local village of stories which they grew up with, some are mainly about the Witch, some are creepy. This also unveils the tale of Rustin Parr, a serial killer of young children who apparently worked under the influence of the witch. Soon, the crew are lost in the woods, the map goes astray and strange things begin to happen.
The thing that worked for this one initially is the close contact the viewer has with the cast. The idea of everything being shot on video camera to capture the whole research side of things, for better or worse, is genius. Character generation is created through situations of positive and negative scenario with our protagonists acting in their own direction depending on their emotions. Brilliant and real, super real in fact. If you’ve ever been camping, you can reflect on their dilemma. Next, we have some strange stuff happening in the woods. Noises, strange piles of stones and those wooden figures. All this before they eventually find the house and the real fun begins.
The last five minutes top the film perfectly, fast moving and intense but capturing a lot of the early research which is usually lost via the visuals and building horror. The standing in the corner thing is brilliant and creepy beyond belief.
I’ve seen this one several times now but not for many years and was surprised how well it still stands up and how easy it is to watch.