Reviews: The Blair Witch Project

Before there were vlogs, there was this

I was curious about this movie after having heard about it, and decided to go see it with my family, not all of whom knew it was a mockumentary. But none of us really found it scary, except for the tense last few minutes.

I like the style. It feels not so much like a documentary or even a horror story, but rather, like a pre-You Tube era vlogging of a group of college students hanging out, joking together, and trying to find information on the Blair Witch. It's fun simply feeling like you're there with the characters as you get to know them and see their fun interactions.

What it isn't, to me and many others, was scary. Other than the surprisingly tense ending, I just didn't feel anything for these characters as strange things started to occur and they'd get freaked out by twigs arranged in shapes and other omens, and get lost in the woods. It was fun, like watching a story or better yet, a vlog, but not scary. When I later talked about the movie with my family, my grandmother was surprised to find out that it was just a fake documentary, and yet, said she found it interesting rather than scary. I teased her about being passively interested in watching what is essentially the last few days of the lives of a group of people, but I do find it funny that even someone who believed that all this stuff really did happen and was caught on film still didn't get scared by what was being touted at the time as "the scariest movie ever made".

The plot has been summed up derisively by critics as "three potty-mouthed college students get lost in the woods and die. The end." And that's pretty accurate. There really isn't much of a plot here, just the telling.

Ultimately, I think The Blair Witch Project was an interesting experiment, but not really a great movie. It has its own style, and the vlog-like nature was a unique, ahead-of-its-time method for telling a story. Nowadays we have Lonelygirl15 and other "fake vlog" stories, in episodic rather than film format, which probably works better. But The Blair Witch Project, while not necessarily influencing the path, is an interesting study in how it was originally done.