The Blair Witch Project
Film review from Cosmopolis N° zero, October 25/November 30, 1999
"In October 1994, three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found." Five students of the University of Central Florida's film program shot The Blair Witch Project in only eight days and with a budget of 35000 dollars (so they say). It is a fictitious documentary based on raw material on 35 mm left behind by three students looking in the woods for the legendary Blair witch. The film got attention even before its release through clever marketing on the internet, where it was presented as a real story. First screened at the Sundance film festival in January and first shown in only about two dozen cinemas across the USA, The Blair Witch Project catched on. By now, it has become the cult movie of 1999 making up to around one-hundred-million dollars, the best input ouput ratio in film history. Written, directed and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, the film turns its weaknesses, no money, no sophisticated equipment, into its strength. The actors Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard, were left cold and hungry in the woods for eight days, creating an increasingly tense athmosphere that reflected the mood of the fictitious on-camera filmmakers they are supposed to be (Heather, the project leader; Mike, recording the audio; Josh, on the camera). The spectator can see everything - in shaky pictures - through the camera lenses of Heather and Josh. The horror derives only from the actor's crediblity. There are no fancy special effects. There is even no music. The worst horror comes from imagination, and that's what the whole movie is all about. The three filmmakers can't find their way out of the woods, the sun goes down ... This is innovative filmmaking at its best. Don't miss it on DVD! Watch it at night and be sure to watch it alone.