The Blair Witch Project came onto the scene back in 1999, reinventing the horror genre forever with its fake found footage, but specifically, the mockumentary type. In any light, The Blair Witch Project made a spot for itself in cinematic history. With its unique style, and ability to convince audiences to believe what they are watching is real, was a real milestone.
There’s a tendency where people forget, along with myself, what The Blair Witch Project was during its original release. Back in 1999, I was a pretty young kid, and in a sense so was the Internet.
It might seem unimportant, but if the viewer thinks about it the time period this film was shot in, it can easily be seen as to why so many people believed this film to be a true documentary. Anyone of us can research any story in today’s world and check for evidence to figure out the story’s validity.
Word of mouth was the best way to spread news around back then, and The Blair Witch Project sure did create conversation amongst its audience.
The first time I watched The Blair Witch Project, I was infuriated. I think I was fourteen, an age where I knew better than to think this film was real, but I also was hoping for a deeper explanation into the legend at play.
Here we are now, in 2016, with a new take on the legend simply called Blair Witch. Although this film is based off of its predecessor, director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barret take a few new roads to try and make Blair Witch original on its own.
While making my way through the new Blair Witch without having a seizure due to the unwavering jerky directing style, I didn’t know what to think by the time I was halfway through. Initially I was really excited for this movie. I thought it looked a lot better planned out, and professional if you will.
Instead, I was bored. I understood why the original Blair Witch Project was filmed and acted the way it was; I was bored halfway through that movie as well.
In the new Blair Witch, the cast seemed to be, as crazy as it sounds, acting more, but not with the convincing manner you would expect. I bought into the original cast’s acting back in 1999. They seemed genuinely terrified of what was happening, borderline insane even. The 1999 cast started hysterically laughing, and rocking back in forth while in place during the film.
In Blair Witch (2016) director Adam Wingard uses massive sounds in an effective way, making the scary scenes originally frightful with how loud and inhuman they are.
But again, the jumpiness of the camera, which seemingly appeared to be having muscle spasm of its own, was distracting. To me, it felt somewhat like a cop-out by making the scenes so jumpy.
A viewer typically won’t get as scared when viewing the movie through a character’s eyes if the viewer cannot see what it is that is so scary. I wanted a glimpse at what the characters were running from, which I never got until the very end. At this point of the film I had lost any investment I had into it.
17 years after the release of the original, the revival of this cinematic icon was indeed a letdown. The Blair Witch has a new cast, a new motive, but unsurprisingly, another unsatisfying feeling stuck in the burrow of your stomach.