Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Blair Witch Project

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

There are some movies that are really good. There are others that do well based solely on hype. I know it sounds harsh, but I think that The Blair Witch Project falls into the second category. For all the buildup and excitement surrounding the initial release of the movie, I found that there wasn’t much to it.

For those that have been living under a rock since 1999, The Blair Witch Project is about three people that set out to make a documentary on The Blair Witch. They get a couple of cameras and set out for the weekend. All three go missing, but their footage was found a year later and presumably edited together by someone. Heather, Mike and Josh are the three would-be documentary makers. (Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard play the three main characters. Apparently, they decided to keep their real names for simplicity.)

The movie starts out with the three getting ready for the documentary, talking about what they plan to do. The next phase of the movie consists of interviews of locals about The Blair Witch. Both parts don’t last very long, but do set up the movie pretty well. The bulk of the movie is Heather, Mike and Josh getting lost in the woods. They have a map and a compass, but apparently Heather can’t use a map very well.

They find some interesting areas, but get lost trying to get back. The map doesn’t even cover the area where they parked. It also seems that they can get turned around despite using a compass. I guess there wouldn’t have been much of a movie if one of them had GPS or an emergency flare.

Still, my main complaint is that the movie basically boils down to three people trying to get out of a forest when it really shouldn’t have been that hard. There really wasn’t that much suspense or that many scary moments. I suppose that it doesn’t help that I’ve seen some of the parodies, but it really isn’t a very scary movie. I can’t even go into the plot that much because there is no real plot beyond what I’ve already told you.

I don’t know how much of the story is fictional. I do know that no one really got lost in the forest, at least not while making a Blair Witch documentary. What really happened was someone sent three actors out into the woods and gave them a GPS unit so as not to really get them lost. There were several sites in the forest, each with some notes as to what they were supposed to do there. Most of the dialogue was up to them, which gave it a more natural feel.

I have no idea if there really is a Blair Witch or if it was just made up for the sake of the movie. I would imagine that many of the people that were ‘interviewed’ were also actors, or at least told what was going on. I tried doing a little research online, but all of the links that I came up with had to do with the movie.

Most of what made the movie popular was the self-publicity that the movie had built up around itself. Since everyone was talking about it, everyone wanted to see it. This allowed the moviemakers to make a movie on a small budget. The small budget seems to be what allows the movie to be remembered.

Yes, it was different. Yes, it was a big thing. However, take away all of the talk and the buildup and you’re left with a movie that isn’t that good. In my opinion, it’s only worth two stars.

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