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Old 08-10-2013, 11:37
finbaar
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I am off on the Tom Tick at the moment so I took the opportunity to watch this on Netflix as Mrs finbaar has an aversion to scary stuff. She needn't have worried as there were no scary bits at all. I am disappointed. I can't imagine how it got so much hype.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:39
little-monster
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I think watching it at the time of it's release, it may of been a bit scary because people really thought it was actually video footage from a real life event,
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:46
mred2000
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I think watching it at the time of it's release, it may of been a bit scary because people really thought it was actually video footage from a real life event,
I don't know of anyone who believed it was genuine found footage, there was so much hype about it!

I saw it at the flicks on release day, this was after seeing the also 'supposedly real' documentary about the backstory of the students and Blair Witch myth which is worth watching in terms of fleshing out the story.

At the time it was a different (though certainly not new) way of doing things. The most weird/messed up bit that myself and friends found was the ending which left us thinking WTF?! Other folk in the cinema were screaming.

The film is pretty basic but it was hype and viewers who made it out to be much more than it ever was.

The Last Broadcast is a very similar film which came out around the same time, had more structure to it and some would argue is a better film but it lacked the hype and so is often overlooked.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:52
chris_miles1
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I think watching it at the time of it's release, it may of been a bit scary because people really thought it was actually video footage from a real life event,
I agree. Like MANY movies that were utterly terrifying when they were released...

Standards/quality/expectation of movies goes up each time the bar is raised.
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:53
chris_miles1
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But I also think that Blair Witch Project did something great for the film industry- not just horro/thriller. We're seeing more and more of these movies that are 'filmed from a video camera'.

It certainly was a game-changer!
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:59
mred2000
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But I also think that Blair Witch Project did something great for the film industry- not just horro/thriller. We're seeing more and more of these movies that are 'filmed from a video camera'.

It certainly was a game-changer!
There were 'found footage', hand held camera-type films in the 70s and 80s, possibly even earlier, some even got banned. It's nothing new.

The fact that HD cameras are now practically hand-held has done more for the industry than Blair Witch did.

All that happened, because of how much money BW made, was that we got a spike of clones and a couple of sequels.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:31
Johnny Clay
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I can't imagine how it got so much hype.
It was the first film to truly utilise (in PR terms mostly) this new-fangled internet thingy, which the rest of the media were latching onto with awe, horror, envy etc.

At the time I must've read dozens of articles about how cleverly the whole thing had been conceived. It was noticeable how very little focus was put on the most important issue - was it any cop? Make of this what you will.

But it certainly did the trick. 'P. T. Barnum would be proud', noted a sage Sight and Sound.

I think watching it at the time of it's release, it may of been a bit scary because people really thought it was actually video footage from a real life event,
I don't think anyone except the truly gullible thought that. It was more that they had 'blurred the lines' between reality and film-making. Cue a million, plodding media studies essays on how revolutionary this all was (i.e. it wasn't).

It certainly was a game-changer!
Not as much all the hyperventilating trendies would have you believe. We got a sub-genre, and set in motion a mode of film-making that swiftly showed its limitations, that's all.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:40
Alien_Saxon
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..For it's time The Blair Witch Project was a fantastic movie and ignore the arty-farty above comment it WAS revolutionary and it made people understand that you don't need monsters, ghouls and knife-wielding killers to make an atmospheric horror film.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:45
mred2000
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...and it made people understand that you don't need monsters, ghouls and knife-wielding killers to make an atmospheric horror film.
No it didn't. All that had been done before.

Admittedly, as Johnny Clay commented, it did make very good use of internet marketing but everything else was treading old ground. It was new for folk who had never experienced that kind of thing before, though, sure.
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:46
whedon247
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best cinema experiece ever for me.
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Old 08-10-2013, 13:01
00tommo
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best cinema experiece ever for me.
Not for me, I nearly shat myself!!
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Old 08-10-2013, 13:01
Ginger Nut
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I am off on the Tom Tick at the moment so I took the opportunity to watch this on Netflix as Mrs finbaar has an aversion to scary stuff. She needn't have worried as there were no scary bits at all. I am disappointed. I can't imagine how it got so much hype.
3 snotty teenagers arguing in a wood.
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Old 08-10-2013, 13:05
whedon247
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Not for me, I nearly shat myself!!
yeh me too lol, i remember i was 14 and started grabbing my mates arm every time it got tense and scary

it was......awkward.
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Old 08-10-2013, 13:11
Johnny Clay
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and it made people understand that you don't need monsters, ghouls and knife-wielding killers to make an atmospheric horror film.
A somewhat limited vision of the horror genre there.

Besides, it was the technique-as-effect aspect that was the whole selling point of Blair Witch, rather than the subject. Given that horror has always traded on how effective it is (and at times regardless of subject), this was a sly move.
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Old 08-10-2013, 16:51
Alien_Saxon
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No it didn't. All that had been done before.

Admittedly, as Johnny Clay commented, it did make very good use of internet marketing but everything else was treading old ground. It was new for folk who had never experienced that kind of thing before, though, sure.
That is the point I was trying to make, joe public is not going to be an obscure horror fan and their knowledge of horror before was limited to Freddy Kruger, Night Of The Living Dead, Halloween, Friday 13th, Amityville, Evil Dead, Exorcist and things of that nature...nothing against those films, they were legendary but it took the Blair Witch project to be the first film they experienced to blur the line between reality and fiction and introduce them to a new kind of atmospheric cerebral horror.
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:01
mred2000
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...atmospheric cerebral horror.
I'll give you that it woke people up to 'found footage' films but cerebral horror? Cat People, 1942, massive for the time. Never heard of Rosemary's Baby? 1968 and also massive. The Wicker Man? 1973 version, that is... also huge...

Cerebral/psychological horror rather than cheap thrills horror has been going for a long, long time...
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:08
Justicar
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I thought it was quite effective at the time. The noises of unseen children and their missing friend crying out in the dark outside their tent, that house at the end... all pretty creepy.
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:09
Cheap Thrills
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I remember watching the trailer on one of the schools computers prior to the film coming out and feeling super excited to see it. Like someone else has already pointed out, it made great use of the then building popularity of the internet to create buzz and word of mouth. While the found footage premise wasn't exactly new new or original in 1999, The Blair Witch still used it effectively as a marketing campaign and tool. I haven't seen it in years, I might give it another re-watch this week. I have to admit that I did pay to see the sequel at the cinema.

There was a similar film released a year before The Blair Witch called The Last Broadcast.
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Old 08-10-2013, 19:45
rfonzo
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I thought it was quite innovative when it was first released but after I saw it on TV, I did not think it was that good.
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Old 08-10-2013, 20:58
Old.Tallen
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The film was actually quite enjoyable until it got dark, after that I just lost interrest.

Good novel idea at the time, but I would never watch it again, ever.
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:15
finkly
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I've got nothing bad to say about The Blair Witch Project. It was one of my favourite cinema experiences as well and though none of us really believed it was real, it was fun to get caught up in the hype. I still think it's pretty scary in parts and the cast are great and believable (due to not knowing what the hell was going to happen to them most of the time). One of the best modern horrors imo.

And The Last Broadcast may have been similar and earlier but it's not a patch on The Blair Witch Project. I think the structure of it does more harm than good because there's always someone yapping all over the footage. Plus the ending is ludicrous.
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:19
Johnny Clay
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I'll give you that it woke people up to 'found footage' films but cerebral horror? Cat People, 1942, massive for the time. Never heard of Rosemary's Baby? 1968 and also massive. The Wicker Man? 1973 version, that is... also huge...

Cerebral/psychological horror rather than cheap thrills horror has been going for a long, long time...
True, but then horror is cerebral by nature as much as any other genre - perhaps more so if you really dig deep. As you mention, The giants of the genre have often had that aspect upfront (The Shining, Don't Look Now, Psycho etc), but it's horror, and thus the film needs to work as horror in a sensory context for its reputation to be cemented. All very well having reams of subtext bubbling away, but what if it's just not that scary?

Blair Witch now looks more curate's egg than jewel in the crown, and perhaps this is why. It's reputation seems to have stemmed from the shaky-cam technique it introduced to the mainstream, rather than the effect that technique achieved. It's all subjective of course. Some watched through their fingers, while some of us sucked a tooth and thought of money up in smoke. Same as with any other horror.
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:32
mgvsmith
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It was the first film to truly utilise (in PR terms mostly) this new-fangled internet thingy, which the rest of the media were latching onto with awe, horror, envy etc.

At the time I must've read dozens of articles about how cleverly the whole thing had been conceived. It was noticeable how very little focus was put on the most important issue - was it any cop? Make of this what you will.

But it certainly did the trick. 'P. T. Barnum would be proud', noted a sage Sight and Sound.

I don't think anyone except the truly gullible thought that. It was more that they had 'blurred the lines' between reality and film-making. Cue a million, plodding media studies essays on how revolutionary this all was (i.e. it wasn't).

Not as much all the hyperventilating trendies would have you believe. We got a sub-genre, and set in motion a mode of film-making that swiftly showed its limitations, that's all.
The historical point is that Blair Witch was the first movie to make a major successful use of the cross media possibilities provided by the web. That's not just a PR thing, the website filled out many aspects of the story in a highly creative way. The Blair Witch sound track is also a great example of atmospheric sound design which is often overlooked.
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:42
sarahj1986
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The Blair Witch Project is a great film. Alot of it is in the mind, it doesn't need to rely on blood and guts for cheap scares. It's very simplistic in its approach, it did spawn the found footage surge. The film in terms if costs was minimal and made millions in box office revenue. I read about the filming and the crew and cast slept in the woods, alot of the dialogue was "real" rather than scripted because the crew would torment the cast, shake the tents, deprive them of sleep etc so alot of their feelings and fear was real. A great film, the sequel was awful
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:50
Johnny Clay
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The historical point is that Blair Witch was the first movie to make a major successful use of the cross media possibilities provided by the web. That's not just a PR thing, the website filled out many aspects of the story in a highly creative way. The Blair Witch sound track is also a great example of atmospheric sound design which is often overlooked.
All a little fanboyish, no? And how many of the film-going public bothered with it?

Easy to forget the internet was still a mystery to many back then, but it could be used as a launchpad to gain more established media interest. As I said, it was a period in which the rest of the media were looking at the internet with great interest with regards to what it was truly capable of as a public/media interface. Blair Witch certainly made its mark there.
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