The Blair Witch Project, released in 1999, is an American horror film directed, written and edited by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick. The film is produced by Haxan Films. Its plot centers around three film footage of students, Michael. C. Williams, Heather Donahue and Joshua Leonard who set out on an interviewing spree to the local natives of Burkittsville also referred to as Blair in the movie. Their main motive is to interview the locals and knows more about the legend of the Blair Witch, a well- known local murderer. Over a period of days, the students interview the locals to gather the facts about the mystery of the Blair witch. Furthermore, the three students in the movie gather additional and supportive clues and puzzles to strengthen the tales veracity. Unfortunately, in their quest to finding evidence and solving their mystery, the film takes a rather frightening turn when the students mentioned above lose their way and sight in the woods and start hearing horrific sounds and noises. Viewers in the movie are told that the three students get lost forever and are never heard from even though their sound and video equipment is later discovered and forms the basis of this film.
The Blair Witch project is categorized as a horror film. The film was developed in the year 1993 by the two directors and producers of the film, Sanchez, and Myrick. After their discovery of the paranormal phenomena films to be scarier than the traditional horror films, they decided that Blair Witch project was going to be a hit. Apart from that, the filmmakers used many inspirations in the development of the mythology behind the film. Filming of the film commenced in the month of October 1997 and lasted for around a week. The majority of the movie scenes were filmed in Montgomery County in the state of Maryland. The Seneca Creek State Park was the precise location for the filming of the movie. The last scenes of the movie were shot at the famous historic Griggs House in Granite, the state of Maryland.
The directors of the film revealed that during the shooting of scenes where the town residents were interviewed, the majority of those above were not actors. The Global Positioning Satellite systems formed the base of where milk crates were used in flagging actors of their next location and scenes during the filming. The editing of the 19-hour usable footage was done in around ninety minutes. Post production editing of the movie went for more than half a year according to the editors, producers and screen writers of the movie. The film was shot using hand-held cameras which, after the completion, were taken back to their manufacturers to reduce the costs in the production of the movie.
With regards to the marketing and the promotion, the film above is believed to be the first widely produced and released film marketed primarily by the internet. This was popularly referred to as Viral marketing. The production company, Haxan Films launched a website to give the story of the film before its release in the year 1998. Later on, Artisan Entertainment bought the rights to the film at a whopping $1,000,000. The duo production companies decided to use the website launched for marketing and campaigning of the film. Before the release of the film, the production companies had spent an estimated $ 1,000,000 in marketing and promotion of the film. After its release, in its first week, the film grossed $ 1.5 million on showing in 27 screens. The Blair Witch Project boosts of making the second-highest return in the history of film reeling over $248 million at the Box Office. The film is also believed to be one of the success stories in the film industry since it cost less in its production but earned more returns in at the Box Office.
With regards to the genre of the film, most horror films nowadays are produced for the makers and not for the audience. Blair Witch Project goes contrary to this and gives the audience all they need to know about the film. By introducing the idea of found camera footage, it brings about the issue of real horror film. This was in addition to the huge impoverished documentary style of film setting that makes up most of the film. The idea of hand held cameras provides the general uneasiness of the film and in turn the horror aspect of the movie to the viewers. Blair Witch Project is credited to being one of the scariest movies ever produced. This is attributed to it showcasing what normal reality techniques of horror releasing are incapable of showing. The first-person camera and the found footage plus the low budgets contributed to our lack of information from the movie hence our imagination to solve the mystery behind those above.
The social issues portrayed in the film reflect much a lot about the perception of the community with regards to these issues. The Blair Witch portrays the issue of witchcraft as undesirable, scary and evil phenomena. This is unlike films like charmed that showcase witchcrafts as positive phenomena always there to save the day. The film also portrays the issue of drug and substance abuse. Prior to their mission in the woods, the three students are portrayed as smoking cigarettes and at the same time take scotch. Heather goes further in the film and asks for marijuana (weed) from his other two colleagues. The film tries to portray abusing hard drugs, cigarettes, alcohol as a morale booster for the three students. Similarly, it shows the extent of moral rot in the movie when the three students can smoke and take alcohol despite the fact that they are still students. Another social issue addressed by this film is the issue of spirituality in the town of Blair. The movie revolves around three students who believe there are a dark force and witchcraft in the midst of the community. The very premise and title of the film are centered on the occult and witchcraft. Finally with reference to social issues, there is the use of vulgar and profane language in virtually all the scenes in the film. The s-word and the f-word are used quite often in the film. The director tries once more to portray the society as a society where moral rot had taken its toll.
To conclude, the Blair Witch Project film is an embodiment of horror. One of the greatest weakness and strength of the movie is the editing. It does better by not heightening the tension with many of its core moments and scenes lasting just a little longer for comfort. Practically all the times the main characters are caught up in a nasty scenario, the viewer is made to yearn for the editor to cut to the subsequent scene. The fact that this fails to happen adds the sense of being trapped, just like the characters in the movie. The Blair Witch Project is also a success story in that it incurs fewer costs in production and overwhelmingly gains more in revenues at the Box office.
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