Movie Reviews 160 – The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch ProjectI didn’t get it. I still don’t get it. The Blair Witch Project was a massive hit when it seemed to come out of nowhere in 1999, a no budget movie that not only made huge sums of cash at the box office, but ushered in the dreadful era of jerky ‘found video footage’ movies that still lingers on today.

When I first watched this years ago I hated it and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why so many people seemed to like it. But I thought that I may have been overly harsh seeing that my viewing conditions that night were not ideal and full of interruptions. I was determined to try again some day especially after hearing others say that they ‘got it’ on a second viewing. So I gave it a try again and … same reaction.

The premise of three kids hiking out in deep woods to film a documentary about unexplainable events and legends about goings on the woods near a small town sounds good enough.The movie is supposed to be the found footage of the contents of the kids camera with the claim that the kids were never heard from again. We see odd clips of their journey, fun and silly moments until the inevitable get lost and the things get strange and weird.

My biggest problem is that none of it is scary in the least. Sure waking up to find their campsite has been visited during the night and hearing screams and noises during the middle of the night would certainly raise a few goose bumps if such events took place in real life, but it just doesn’t translate into scares when put on screen, especially if the best of the ‘scares’ are a few piles of rock and a few sticks roped into vaguely human form. When one of the kids disappears during the night it feels more like a mystery than a horror because the kids have been infighting and going slowly delusional due to their predicament, so the kid setting off by himself seems more probable than anything sinister. The finale comes abruptly when the last two kids find a dilapidated house and enter it only to drop their cameras.

And just to be clear, I don’t find fault with the acting or any other characteristic of the movie other than the actual script and events. I wanted to be spooked and the best ‘scare’ of the movie was when the kids find a small piece of bloody remains wrapped in stick bundle. Not even sure if it was supposed to be from the missing kid. Whatever.

My loathing for ‘found footage’ movies starts and ends with Blair Witch. I’d be hard pressed to watch it a third time to see if I missed anything. I don’t care what anybody else says. And for the record, I’m still waiting for a good ‘found footage’ movie. I haven’t seen it, but feel confident that the sequel, Blair Witch 2, ain’t it. Ugh!

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