The Blair Witch Project
I know this is an older movie (1999) but this has always seemed to me to be a very interesting one.
People I talk to either love it or hate it. I have always wondered why that is. Is there some quality that some people have and others lack that made this movie so hit or miss? All I've been able to come up with is "overactive imagination". By that I mean, the ability to imagine things that scare you, to interpret any noise or shape in the dark as being potentially threatening, and having this fear feed on itself. There are some people that I know that are simply not scared of the dark. They have never imagined a monster/scary entity lying in wait outside their window or bedroom door and find the idea ridiculous. Others (like me) will usually have no problem in the dark, but when the idea creeps into their head, the imagination and fear will feed on itself and all sorts of scary scenarios will create themselves in their heads.
This movie seems to me to be a litmus test for this "ability." Some people use their own imagination to carry the movie along, while others will be bored and turned off as the developments never seem to get scary.
This dialogue is a good example of asking the audience to imagine a "what if that was me camping and hearing these sounds" scenario:
Joshua Leonard: I heard two noises coming from two seperate areas of space over there. One of them could have been a deer, but the other one sounded like a cackling.
Heather Donahue: No way!
Joshua Leonard: Yeah, it was like a serious cackling.
Heather Donahue: See, my problem is that I sleep like a ******* rock.
Michael Williams: If I heard a cackling, I would have **** in my pants!
This obviously has more impact if you have heard of the witch and its legend, but merely imagining myself in Josh's situation really scared me.
Anyhow, I was wondering if any of you had noticed this "hit or miss" phenomenon about the movie and if you did, whether or not you attributed the presence or lack of active imagination in some people to that phenomenon. Also, ignoring the hype and looking at it on its own terms, did you like or dislike the movie?
It's hard to ignore the hype, I love horror/suspense movies and the buzz on this movie was incredible. I saw it when it was still in limited release, and had to wait almost a week to see it because all of the shows were sold out. So, going in my hopes were high.
I think I have a really good imagination, but this movie was such a huge letdown. It was good in some parts. I thought the begining was a bit boring and too long, it seemed to take forever for something to happen. The ending was ridiculously stupid, when the credits rolled I actually said "WTF, that's it?" out loud.
In the end, it seemed to me like a "made for TV" movie. IT didn't completely suck, but it was a major disappointment.
I loved this movie. I'm more into the possibilities of what might happen... I don't need the director to spell everything out; I don't like graphic horror movies for that reason. And I think you've brought up an interesting observation in that those with imagination (or empathy) can "get into" what's going on with the characters and put themselves in the characters' shoes, whereas those that see the movie with the intent to be scared by newer and better CGI's miss that opportunity.
Originally Posted by Zaius
The Blair Witch Project is all about expectation. The way the movie is filmed draws us in, as if we are a part of the group, and their vulnerability extends to us if we allow it. The thought of getting lost in the woods for days is terrifying to me. I've always been afraid of things that go bump in the night.
I'm always disappointed when I see the "Monster" in horror flicks.When the imagined is made real it can be rationalized; if it's just a nebulous unformed thought in your imagination it has much more power. I think the director had that in mind when he made this movie.
Yah I certainly didn't mean to imply that only those without an... overdeveloped sense of imagination would dislike the movie, JR. Like Dinahann said, I would rather the movie not show me what the monster looks like and let me imagine it. My imagination will think up the most terrifying one possible, no doubt about that!
:lol Nah, I didn't take it that way, either. I thought you brought out a good point, but there are shades of gray in almost every supposition.
Originally Posted by Zaius
I once took a film course at the University of Texas, and it's been valuable is a tool in interpreting subliminal meaning behind lighting and effects.
I enjoyed the movie. I saw it, going in with very high hopes as well and was let down to a point, but I still enjoyed it. I think it's pretty scary. The second one, however, was horrible. :lol
ahh i'm in the minority, i thought it was one of the worst movies i ever saw
not scary at all, the people in the theatre were laughing in hysterics at the whole thing
From the people I've talked to, snickers, it seems you're in the majority!
When I saw it in the theater, I also heard some laughs, but mostly complains about the camera shaking. I suppose it did shake quite a bit but for some reason it didn't bother me.
I liked it right up until the final shot.
I don't mind having to use my imagination to extract all the scariness from the movie,but it would be nice if it actually had an ending.
There was literally a collective "huh?" in the movie theatre when the credits rolled.
We got given a copy of the video years ago and I watched the extra footage hoping for some kind of closure to the story, but no such luck.
Was the last shot dissapointing in that you didn't totally understand it or did you understand it but still thought it was bad?
The last shot scared the crap out of me because I remembered the stories of the insane man, Rustin Parr, killing his child victims in pairs, with one of the victims staring at a corner, waiting for his turn while the other was being killed. In fact, that story really stayed with me throughout the movie, and to have it come back at the very end with the main characters gave it some extra punch. I could only imagine what was happening to Josh out of the camera's views and that terrified me even more.
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