The Blair Witch Project (Blu-ray)
“In October of 1994, three student film makers disappeared in the woods near Burkittesville, Maryland. One year later, their footage was found.” THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is a pioneer in horror movie making. It has spawned many followers and been an inspiration toward countless others. Plus, it’s another example of one of the many original and superior films from 1999.
The film is a compilation of found footage put together from the three students. It consists of the raw footage from hand held recordings during their attempt at a documentary of the Blair Witch legend. During their research they keep turning on the camera to capture their weird discoveries, from being lost in the woods, to an increasing torment from what appears to be a supernatural presence. Heather is the director of the documentary and Josh and Mike are her crewmembers. The film begins pleasant enough with them driving to the small town in Maryland. They interview locals whom all have different takes and stories of the events that have happened in the past. One of which is about local children that continually went missing. All were murdered by a crazy man who confessed that a witch told him to. All the actors telling the stories do an excellent job of keeping real and natural. Pay close attention to what they say, because you might notice subtle similarities from later disturbances.
Our three leads have great chemistry as students who don’t know each other too well and are quickly getting on each other’s nerves. Heather is bossy and proud but in a believable appropriate manner trying to take some leadership. Josh is a little tough to stomach at times but is appropriately freaked out. Mike is brilliant as the more easy-going one who shows his distaste and unhappiness through facial expressions and humorous rants. He really saves the film in some ways keeping it more grounded, breaking up some of the tension with comic relief. Otherwise, repetitious nagging and whining would have doomed the film. They do fight a lot.
I would be doing a great disservice to write a review of this film without acknowledging the marketing and advertising. In one word- brilliant. It was packaged and presented as something completely real, creating promotions about the actual legend. It was one of the first Internet promotional phenomenons. No one knew these characters were actors. Audiences completely believed this film was real and these students were still missing.
Like any horror film, the initial shock is far better and scarier. Once everyone knew it was just a gimmick the whole thing seemed to be far less scary for audiences and it took kind of backlash. But on repeated viewing it still gives those moments of creepy chills and can be appreciated by the entire concept and creativity. Specifically one self-shot scene of Heather all alone framing only her nostrils and eyes as she asks for forgiveness in pure terror is an instant classic. The dirtiness and makeupless actors along with the awkward framing and zero music come together to create realism uncaptured in the high production and clean look of a costly studio film. Shooting hand held home videos makes everything frighteningly real reminding us that the imagination is always much more scarier.
Video: (1080p High Definition Full Screen 1.33:1) The quality and transfer doesn’t change much with Blu-ray but the real key to this film is that it’s meant to be poor quality student hand held camera work.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio) The same with the audio. It’s great for what it is meant to be which is sloppy home video quality to add to the realism.
Director and Producer Commentary: Producers Robin Cowie, Gregg Hale, Michael Monello and Directors Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez
They give an incredibly real and candid commentary about how they created everything working with the actors. This is one of the best commentaries I have ever seen. It’s fun, light and actually interesting. They discuss the good and bad and give an honest look at their work.
Alternate Endings: Four alternate takes on the last 2 minutes of the ending. These are all the same idea with just one major detail changed. They definitely settled on the correct one but the other ideas are very interesting and creepy and not on the original DVD. Was in badly need of a play all button
Curse of the Blair Witch (41:32): A Documentary about the missing students and the discovery of their footage interviewing detectives and family members of the victims. This is just one of the brilliant marketing ploys. This was actually played on television before the film came out leading many people to believe it all to be real.
Discovered Footage (Theories of the Blair Witch) (4:57): A long deleted scene of the three talking in the tent scared, irritated and discussing their horrible situation.
The Blair Witch Legacy: Bullets of written history tracking any event relating to the Blair Witch Legacy.