Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Not the first, but certainly the definitive movie of the "found-footage horror" piece that's picked up pace over the past few years with the likes of Paranormal Activity, Rec and Cloverfield.

The Blair Witch projects opens with a simple title card stating how in 1994 three amateur documentary makers went into the woods looking to make a film about the local witch legend, and how their tapes were all that was found a year later.

It's hard to go into too much depth without spoiling the film, but suffice to say that it's the film embodiment of the saying "less is more". It clocks in at only 78 minutes, there's little-to-no-gore and there are only three actual characters and no fancy sets. All these facets combine in a way that makes a film scarier than any amount of body horror or disgusting monster can, because they make it actually feel real. These guys are just in the woods. It's not some ridiculously dense forest where the leaves blot out the sun even at noon but it could be the woods anywhere. There are periods of time in the film where the screen is just black with a little picture-noise going on, forcing you to listen to the audio carefully, because they're filming in the dark and they're kids without lights or fancy night vision.

The subtlety and grounded nature that these thing instill in the film do make it honestly scary. It genuinely left me a little jumpy and I'm not bothered about admitting it because it means this is a good film.

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