Film Review || The Blair Witch Project (1999)

fig 1.
For many forms of media and also many directors, there's always a niche to be filled, as the world shifts and changes through a multitude of ways so must appeal, content, and delivery. In the case of The Blair Witch Project the objective was to deliver for the growing demand of the horror genre among emerging culture. It follows the story of three film students who venture into the forest to make a documentary about something called the 'Blair Witch', a local legend about a sort of animal like entity that claims humans to their forested and gory demises. It is best known for its gritty, organic amateur 'found footage' style, that helps viewers feel more contained by the setup of techniques.

fig 2.
To many of the more intense scenes of the scenarios, especially during the nighttime, there is never a clear face to the antagonist apart from that the locals describe. Not revealing the face of a monster until the end of the film is a must for the horror genre at because it helps to build a morbid curiosity in a viewers mind. That is not the case for The Blair Witch Project. Direction focuses more on the actions of the monster instead of its appearance.'The practise of watching a murder thriller involves the scanning of the frame to pick up the clues in the mise-en-scene' (Turner, 2006) Words and events build the monster, not design, hence the ending that seems to imply a twist of events more befitting of a mystery/thriller.
fig 3.
In practise the camera never diverges from its intended effects of suspicion and mutiny in and around the groups activity, from beginning to end, the characters are always there, talking even through hardship of the surrounding area. It might be assumed that their words are indicators to the progression of the scenario be it foreshadowing events or simply highlighting the degradation of relationships within the group. Sometimes the camera is flipped inversely, containing Heather (Heather Donahue), casting her in an uncertain position. In so doing for a found footage style  we are immediately suspect to any imperfection that is not expected in the cinema landscape. The point being, the logical proceed is of speculation, not explanation, which goes to show the deliberate placement of story elements to encourage interest.
fig 4.
So in practise the plot is based in the mind of the consumer, meaning they themselves are now submerged in a world of horror/mystery/thriller that takes them from the real to unreal, all reinforced by improvising actors and the wobbly camera, not to mention the extremely vague screenwriting that took a form similar to a blueprint. This was the incentive for interested audiences, who want a thrill out of a scary flick that not only delivered, but reinforced its proof through numerous tricks that, like spores, grew on viewers over time to bring them to startling theories about the events both on screen and 'backstage'. 

The placement of interest brought about a new topic to discuss, just like Picnic on Hanging Rock, a bulb that can grow time and time again.  'At the core of the found footage aesthetic lies a malcontented urge to uncover the dark submovie - a true "secret cinema" -' (Atkinson 1999) The Blair Witch Project, although scruffy and sometimes intolerable to watch has a feeling behind its creation that implores the viewer to fill in the gaps themselves, that is shared about the best films.

Atkinson, Micheal. Ghosts In The Machine. 1st ed. New york: Proscenium Publishers Inc., 1999. Print.
French, Philip. "Who's Afraid Of Blair Witch?". the GuardianGuardian News & Media Limited, 1999. Web. 10 May 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/film/1999/oct/24/philipfrench
Turner, Graeme. Film As Social Practise. 4th ed. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.

fig 1. Myrick, D. Sanchez, E. (1999) The Blair Witch Project. [poster] [10/05/17]
fig 2. Myrick, D. Sanchez, E. (1999) The Blair Witch Project. [promotional photo] [10/05/17]
fig 3. Myrick, D. Sanchez, E. (1999) The Blair Witch Project. [still] [10/05/17]
fig 4. Myrick, D. Sanchez, E. (1999) The Blair Witch Project. [still] [10/05/17]
fig 5. Myrick, D. Sanchez, E. (1999) The Blair Witch Project. [still] [10/05/17]

1 comment:

  1. '...reinforced its proof through numerous tricks that, like spores, grew on viewers over time to bring them to startling theories about the events both on screen and 'backstage'.'... I like the 'spores' reference - very fitting, given the forest setting.