My Favourite Horror Film: The Blair Witch Project
The chilling story that started it all…
You know that trend of found footage films that everyone is sick of now *cough* Paranormal Activity *cough*? Well this is the diamond in the rough that started it all, and it is as fascinating as it is scary.
The film follows the exploits of three amateur filmmakers as they set out to discover the secrets of the Blair Witch. While investigating this local legend, the trio find themselves lost in the woods and stalked by a mysterious and cruel entity.
In horror movies, one of the biggest mistakes that a director can make, in my opinion, is to allow the audience to see the entity that is haunting them. This is because seeing something is the first step to becoming comfortable with it as you begin to know what to expect. With this is mind I applaud the Blair Witch for choosing not to show the thing that is plaguing the characters, instead allowing our imaginations to do all of the work and play on our own personal fears and paranoia.
Furthermore, the film fosters this technique by weaving fear and tension into our psyche during the opening sections of the story as the students learn more and more about the horrific, but ambiguous, tales surrounding the Blair Witch.
The production of the film in itself is also worthy of discussion. By utilising the found footage method of filming The Blair Witch Project is given a hauntingly realistic feel, which makes the events even more chilling to witness.
In a brilliant use of guerrilla advertising, this convincing and gritty tone was also used by the film’s marketers, who created fake police reports and missing person flyers which were so believable that it sparked a debate as to whether the footage and characters in the film were actually real.
Interesting trivia aside though, despite being more than fifteen years old, The Blair Witch Project is still a fresh take on the horror genre. With effective use of tension and fear without resorting to clichés such as ‘jump scares’, this film’s legacy will continue to inspire amateur filmmakers with its easily imitated style while also scaring horror fans who also have a appreciation for the inner workings of movie making.