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Voices of Roosevelt

Voices of Roosevelt

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The Blair Witch Project – Movie Review

The+Blair+Witch+Project+-+Movie+Review

It’s the summer of 1999 and you start to hear about the strange tape circulating your city, and one day it falls into your hands. Not knowing what to do, you gather all your friends into your home, group around your tv and start to watch this strange terrifying film. It comes to an end and you’re left sitting there not knowing if it’s real or some hoax. Well that’s until The Blair Witch Project was released of course.

Isn’t that such an amazing marketing strategy? Before The Blair Witch Project project found footage films were not really a thing, any found footage movie made before 1999 never really made it big. One of the big reasons The Blair Witch Project hasn’t really been able to be replicated and it was able to make such a spotlight for itself compared to previous found footage movies is because of the marketing. Like I said before there were tapes circulating of the actual movie that came out, but it also had a presence online. On The Blair Witch Project website- which unfortunately no longer exists, before the movie came out, it was presented as a real investigative project trying to find three film students- Heather, Mike, and John- who went into a Maryland forest to film a documentary and never came back. And it worked! By the time The Blair Witch Project came out in July of 1999 there was so much buzz that it became an immediate hit and made its place in movie fame and history. But… I hated it. (spoilers ahead)

I had never seen this movie before I decided to do this review,I thought watching a movie I’ve never seen before wouldn’t blur my judgment for this review. I’ve been told how amazing and iconic this movie is. it changed a lot about horror and really paved a way for a previously relatively unknown genre, but wowI was bored. Maybe I’m just very impatient, or maybe I’m not understanding the ´genius’ of this film but I was so bored for so much of the movie, somehow an hour and a half long movie felt like three. I understand that part of the eeriness and horror is that we never actually see what’s terrorizing our main characters, and to instead just watch their sanity deplete as they are not only lost, but trapped in these woods, but it was so stretched out, there were so many times were they just stood around for the day, and when it came night all you heard were how scared the characters were but never fully understood what was actually happening so it didn’t feel all that scary.

Another gripe I have with this movie is I really did not care about any of the main characters, I didn’t even know the two guys’ names until after I watched the movie and started my research about it. All we see the trio do is argue and be counter productive. They always insulted and blamed Heather, the one who suggested the documentary), and fought about every little thing. We very rarely see the characters be kind to each until towards the end of this painfully drawn out movie. When I did see bad or scary things happen to these three I just did not care because we were shown so little redeeming qualities. Really the only truly raw moment we get is Heather’s scene, where she’s alone and talking to just the camera. As groundbreaking as this movie was in so many ways they still fell into old and clique storytelling techniques, specifically with the woman taking on more of the emotion work scenes- yes we see the men in the movie e upset and even cry but no one but Heather actually expresses their fear and guilt to the camera and by proxi the audience.

I also ended up feeling very dissatisfied with this movie. I understand the mental decline is what makes this movie scary, and the actors did a beautiful job showing said mental decline and switching from rationally stressed to borderline insanity. I do think it’s possible to make a horror movie where you never actually see the horror, and there have been many good movies where that’s the case! For example The Boogeyman (1980), or Bird Box (2018), or even Final Destination (2000). The difference between the unseen horror in those movies and the unseen horror in The Blair Witch Project is that we generally know what the scary thing is or means. It does become difficult to explain an unseen horror when the directors are going for as realistic and found footage-esq as possible, and that’s where I feel like it falls short. With two challenging aspects of this movie, on one hand you want to make it understandable and make sure your audience understands the “did this happen or are they just crazy” of it all, on the other hand you want to make this realistic and uphold the found footage aspect. You have to make one more obvious by either showing more or explaining more, and the creators could have done this during the interview portion of the movie, or showed more mysterious stick and rock formations, used the house at the end of the movie as more of an explanation, anything really! But they didn’t do any of that, so for me the movie ended with less of a scared feeling and more of an unfulfilled feeling.

An aspect I like and appreciate about the movie is what went into making it. The directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez wanted to make the movie as real looking as possible. They had to make sure the lighting wasn’t amazing, the audio was clunky, and the camera was shaky. They didn’t do trailers or posters or commercials to advertise, and they used very real looking websites and missing posters of the three main characters. I fully believe that this movie has the best marketing I’ve Seen from a movie. I just wish the actual watching experience lived up to it.

Overall I feel as though this movie had so much potential, the marketing, the realness, and the actors gave this movie so much but my lack of patience got the better of me and the unfulfilled feeling by the end of the movie left a weird and bland taste in my mouth. I personally would only give this movie 2 stars.

But hey, maybe I just don’t get it.

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Besbris, Podcast Team/Staff
Besbris is one of our new members to the Voices Club and they are a Junior. They grew up in different parts of Oregon but have now settled in St. Johns.
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