Blair Witch

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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This film has used many different techniques to express itself, from the random shootings of footage, to the huge drama of it being a real documentary. That is what made this film so realistic. It was concocted during a time of graphical revolution when the director could have made a truly gruesome and lifelike witch by using special effects. Our already established fear of darkness and witches, the public drama, and raw realistic footage are what give this film its unique horror that instills the sense of realness in the film.

Now maybe I'm wrong on predicting that everyone has been afraid of witches at some time during their childhood, but I think I'm talking about the majority here. Movies like the Wizard of OZ, with the Wicked Witch of the West, developed our fear of witches. I know I didn't like the dirty old hag. Halloween also teaches us to believe in and fear witches.

When I was very young, I was a big pansy and had nightmares after seeing any deformed looking creature. So one year when I was out "Trick-or-Treating," some guy dressed as a witch scared me to death when I was taking candy out of his basket. It was bad enough that it was pitch dark outside. That memory was recalled when I started to watch the film. I am all right now and know that there aren't any such witches, but during the time when the movie was hyped, I wasn't so sure.

From both friends to media, all I heard was that the Blair Witch Project was real! It is hard to tell yourself that it isn't when everyone around you is telling you that it is an honest documentary. Commercials only showed very brief clips of the movie. There was also the website with "missing person" pictures of the cast. This allowed my imagination to believe, which put the real horror into the film. I didn't get a chance to go through the real drama of going to the movie thinking this whole thing was real. A couple of my friends went before I got a chance to go. They were all psyched and ready to check this movie out. The next day they told me that they had just sat through the dumbest movie they have ever seen. I was totally shocked to hear that. Then they told me the movie was just some crappy fake footage taken by a no-name person with a camera. There went my hopes of the movie, and so I didn't go see it until I just saw it in class. It is hard to get the full effect of the movie now that we all know it is just some director's "brain child." The only thing this movie had going for it was the way it was filmed.

The thing that made the actual film realistic was the very bad camera work and the dialog. The camera work looked like it was done by a bunch of amateurs shooting "home video". The footage was so shaky and out-of-focus at times that it would drive me nuts and at times even make me nauseous. This style of camera work made it look like real footage shot by a group of young adults without much experience. That is what made the film actually "look" real. Along with what we saw that made the movie real was the explicit dialog. The use of cursing and slang words was exactly how I, or most young adults, would talk to one another or react to situations. I know that there wasn't a script, and I think it helped bring out the characters' natural slang and dialog. This was a brilliant idea. This dialog made the movie seem more realistic than if the director had scripted the dialog previous to the film.

Even without all of the special effects of today, we still get reeled into the drama of this movie. We found ourselves inside in the movie, not rationalizing that it isn't real. There was always action going on in the movie and this took away the time you would normally have to reflect on the scene when there wasn't much going on. This kept your mind on the movie and wrapped up in the suspense. These relatively new techniques of filmmaking made the movie seem real.