It's taken several years and repeated viewings, but The Blair Witch Project has finally ensnared me. My most recent viewing took place alone in my apartment at night. Believe me when I say your viewing experience can make or break a horror movie, and this is certainly one that must be watched in darkness and isolation. This movie started an entire subgenre of found footage horror films that has never gone away, and it remains the most profitable film of all time, grossing nearly $250 million on a budget of only $10,000. And on top of that, it's creepy as hell. It's fueled entirely by your own imagination, as (regrettably) you never actually see the Blair Witch, if it even existed at all. There are so many ways you can interpret the events of this film.
Three amateur filmmakers, Heather, Josh, and Mike, hike deep into the woods of Burkittsville, MD to film a documentary on a local legend, the Blair Witch. What exactly the Blair Witch is is pretty vague, but some say it's the ghost of a condemned witch, others say it's an active serial killer who was never caught. Personally, I don't think there ever was a witch, and the whole thing is perpetrated by Mike and Josh. For more on that fan theory, be sure to listen to next week's podcast. For three low budget amateurs, the three leads all deliver fantastic, believable performances that really went a long way towards selling the movie. At the time of its release, a large percentage of moviegoers believed this was real footage that was found in the woods. That kind of shit can make a film stick with you, and while we now know it's all an act, it still feels very off the cuff and organic.
The Blair Witch Project is a horror movie that will last forever thanks to its contribution to the genre and its fantastic atmosphere. It has all the elements of a great scary movie, and it only took eight days to film. It took a consistent horror movie podcast and a certain time and place to get me to finally wrap my head around this insane cult gem, but here we are. Sometimes it takes a few viewings for a movie to finally stick the landing.