Sunday, October 17, 2010

We're all gonna die out here

Bashing on Blair Witch has become a hip thing to do amongst people. The one thing they seem to forget is just how successful it was both in terms of concept and marketing back in 1999. But beyond even that, how it still is able to create what it set out to do in the first place: a sense of dread.

Two scenes left a memorable impression upon first viewing: 1. when they find Josh's tongue in the bag and 2. The ending. One could see this film only once and still have images from the ending imprinted upon their mind for months. There are only a handful of movies where I was legitimately creeped out. This was one of them. & this is not taking into account the "shaky cam" aspect of the film at all. It was how it played on sounds & what we don't see.

What struck me about it was its innovation with the found footage concept. Trying to blur the line between documentary and horror film. Keep in mind, this was before I discovered (& had my mind warped by) Cannibal Holocaust. Blair Witch is now known as one of the most profitable horror films as well as one that embraced its marketing strategy. Going to a theater thinking that you are about to witness the deaths of people on screen? I mean how could it not be profitable?

Having avidly watched the Sci-Fi Channel at the time, one of the docs that appeared on the channel to market the film was The Curse of the Blair Witch. A documentary that stressed the legitimacy of the found footage. The whole legend of Rustin Parr, a hermit who lived in the woods that kidnapped and murdered 7 children would have an impact on impressionable minds.

Immediately following the release of Blair Witch, came an onslaught of parodies and pale imitations. While it proved to be successful with Blair Witch, the found footage concept is one that has caused too many "cash-ins". The Fourth Kind being the worst offender of the bunch. I will still contend that Blair Witch is a succesful and unnerving movie.

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