Blair Witch revolutionizes the horror genre

By Ian Foster
SNN Editorial Assistant
St. John's, Newfoundland

If you haven’t seen "The Blair Witch Project" yet, I would only recommend it if you are prepared to watch one of the most terrifying movies ever made.

That may seem like a grandiose statement to make, and after hearing several comments like it before seeing the movie myself, I was ready to be disappointed.

I wasn’t. 

The two directors of the film, Daniel Myrick and Edward Sanchez, could not have picked a better time to release their film, since people have recently been overwhelmed with the sometimes outrageous special effects presented in movies like "The Haunting". The Blair Witch has redefined what horror movies are supposed to be about. There are no special effects, no scenes where people jump into frames unexpectedly, and none of the setup-slash, setup-slash patterns which made films like "Scream" and "I know what you did last summer" famous. Instead, this new innovative movie respects it’s audience’s intelligence, and uses psychological horror and haunting screen shots to continue frightening viewers long after the last frame.

The essence of the story has been publicized through the same statement on every piece of the film’s advertising: " In October of 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary…a year later, their footage was found." The entire movie was shot on High-8 video—the trio’s perspective. This simple form of filming has been one of the driving forces behind the horror of the story. Instead of the third-person view most movies are shot from, "The Blair Witch Project" is only seen from the first person view of each of the three students. This not only draws the audience into the woods with the students, but also brings out the raw intensity of the tale. For instance, when it’s cold, you can here the girl’s chattering teeth and see the screen shaking. Basically, whatever she sees is exactly what you see, and when the sounds begin in the woods at night and the characters strain to see through the darkness, you may find yourself straining as well, and with equal anxiety.

If, by chance, you were frightened enough by the film to begin telling yourself "It’s only a movie," do not go to the Blair Witch Web site. If you do, prepare for an outstanding amount of evidence which seems to prove the Blair Witch, and the incidents depicted in the films, to be real. www.blairwitch.com contains such things as baby pictures of the three students who disappeared, interviews with police officers regarding the search for the missing persons, and a timeline of all the events regarding the Blair Witch right back to 1785.

Click here to view the
trailer to the movie

"The Blair Witch Project" debuted at the Sundance film festival and has been the talk of the industry ever since. Even though it is an amateur film, it seems that the horror professionals could learn a lot from this particular group of amateurs.


To get the latest info on the Blair Witch phenomenon, check out these sites: