Thursday, 24 February 2011

Blair Witch Project 1999| Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

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Fig 1 | 'The Blair Witch Project' Film Poster

The Blair in turn was the first of its kind. This 1999 depiction by directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez focuses on audience deception and the usage of such a tool in a movie to frighten and instil terror like never before from a horror genre. As for the film industry the theory has become a well used assets in some of the best shot feature in the 21st century. 

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Fig 2 | Burkittsville - Where The Legend Begins


The synopses is that of a young teenage group whom for their film studies set about discovering the legend of the Blair Witch in the small town Burkittesville. But as they find them seem delved in to the woods of this so called myth things begin to happen and the insanity kicks in as they inevitable go to their doom. 

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Fig 3 | Heather  - The Annoying Character Throughout

The film throughout is shot via two cameras for this reason the motion of the camera apply and nauseating undertone that affects the bystanders watching. Nevertheless this feature is a key element in the movie; bring the feeling of the characters literally in to the pit of our stomach. In this case the directs use their knowledge of camera movement to gain a physical effect from the body of it viewers and for this reason makes our emotion towards the feature more relatable. In these terms the acknowledgement of the handheld cameras; is metaphorically suggesting the sick feeling of being lost and frighten which we feel – especially as children – when we have been separated.  But this application is a secondary notion of engagement to the actually use of inferior camera technology as it supplies the viewer with the sense of verisimilitude. For the viewer ‘the handheld camerawork - on both videotape and film - creates a real in-your-face feel that extends the mounting anxieties experienced by the characters to the audience.’ – Ali Barclay.  It usage without doubt instils fear as the film becomes less of a film and more or an actual account of the demise of three students. For the industry at the time this was a revolution in horror and without doubt a new way to take the horror movie into the future. This is due that realistic edge and the message that in impale to the back of your mind. As for the viewer of its 1999 showing the film was advertised as much as a real footage and of the evidence surrounding the disappearance moreover supplying the audience with the fake knowledge of a mythical being i.e. the Blair Witch being as real as the person they’re are sat next to. In conclusion the reason it became successful. The film itself is quite generic in a sense to most horror movies of a stalk that plays with the sanity of its victims before getting the best of them later on.  For Myrick and Sánchez the film is quite easily the scare tactic as a whole making the audience scarred enough to leave the cinema or go on their weekend camping trip. Like previously stated the usage of the everyday camcorder is a relatable and therefore like ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and interaction tool to it audience. This notion is quite evident in the film as the one of the young lads state ‘I see why you always recording...because through that lens it like another reality’. To the victims that are so but to the viewer it is very much the opposite as we engage ourselves as that persona due to the jitters and bumps. In extension it is why we find ourselves instinctively hating the girl throughout as if we’re her conscience saying ‘Hey bimbo, your lost their some weird figures dangling from trees back there and a 3 bloody pile of stones surrounding each flank of the tent, so stop filming and being a little brat and let’s find a way out . 


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Fig 4 | The Mysterious Symbol
Therefore the characters are as vital to our viewing of the film as well as our interaction with it. Interestingly enough the directors used method acting and throwing them into the wild not suggesting what will happen furthermore the on-camera filmmakers, Heather, Mike and Josh, are played by Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Joshua Leonard with a warts-and-all improvised verisimilitude, no doubt heightened by the conditions under which they worked.’ - JANET MASLIN. Supplying very natural looking horror to their emotion of being in danger, moreover making it a more believable story and again more frightening to its viewers .
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Fig 5 | Heather - The Final Goodbye

In turn I believe this because we as viewers are anticipating and for this reason having a real big emotion overload of dramatic irony. As we engage with the fact that something is going to happen if you don’t move. For this reason the usage of a handheld over the classic technology used in a filming become strongest as the interaction become more noticeable and the viewer has a sense of I am in danger. For Myrick and Sánchez their strongest element is the Witch itself. 

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Fig 6 | Matt - Frustrated And Letting The Fear Get To Him


As for the viewer that the anticipatory object, which brings fear to us and the fact that with each freak occurrences  we are waiting in fear for this enigma to jump out and attack. In turn the movie gets its chills without resorting to special effects (which it couldn't have afforded anyway) or anything in the way of an explanation. It's strong on disturbing throwaways (stick-figure dolls, child-sized handprints, something unidentifiably bloody) and there's a gathering sense of panic - realising the woods don't conform to her precious map – Empire Magazine  because even till the end we are yearning for an answer to what is this being.  All in all the directors used the generic fear of the unknown yet compared to film after this their usage is stricter than it off-spring in the world of Hollywood. In turn the audience are captivated by wanting to know like that with topics of ghost or aliens. Therefore as a film we wanted know about such creature. In turn, is it a mythical being and in turn are their more of these around the world or in our neighbourhood? Is it not just a murdering psychopath or moreover is it a serial killer. The idea that we don’t know is a haunting of the psyche and therefore keeps it viewer up at night think about their own safety. The argument is quite strongly enhanced by the feature’ Paranormal Activity’ directed by Oren Peli which focuses on the supernatural which again depicts it’s victims in torment with a being we don’t see or know what it appearance is. 

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Fig 7 | The Finale - The Hand Prints Of Children Painted Across The Walls

For this reason the ‘The Blair Witch’ was the eye opener for many directors in the horror film as the usage of their technique is best suit for such genre. Also the directors have quite noticeable used the tool of interaction and applied the generic fear the human population have of the unknown and yet supplied it in the way of method acting and that of a theory in which film is based. In metaphorical term the film is like well maintained machine having all the parts necessary to produce the strongest outcome. Also boldly stating the fact that it’s isn’t a necessity to have a big budget when the simple fact is the correct instruments for the focused ideology can be more effective than the best technology out on the market. 
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Fig 8 | The Legend Is True - Matt Is In the Corner As Heather Meets Her Fate
List Of Illustrations

Fig 1  Myrick, Daniel (1999) 'The Blair Witch Project' Film Poster
[Film Poster] From: The Blair Witch Project

Fig 2 Myrick, Daniel (1999) Burkittsville - Where The Legend Begins
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project
Fig 3 Myrick, Daniel (1999) Heather  - The Annoying Character Throughout
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project

Fig 4 Myrick, Daniel (1999) The Mysterious Symbol
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project

Fig 5 Myrick, Daniel (1999) Heather - The Final Goodbye
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project

Fig 6Myrick, Daniel (1999) Matt - Frustrated And Letting The Fear Get To Him
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project
Fig 7Myrick, Daniel (1999) Awaiting Instruction - The Finale - The Hand Prints Of Children Painted Across The Walls
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project

Fig 8 Myrick, Daniel (1999)  The Legend Is True - Matt Is In the Corner As Heather Meets Her Fate
[Film Still] From: The Blair Witch Project
Bibliography

Barclay, Ali .(2000) The Blair Witch Project

Empire Magazine (1999) The Blair Witch Project

http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/review.asp?FID=5094
 (Accessed on 21.02.11)

Maslin, Janet . (1994)  The Blair Witch Project


http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C02E6D91E3CF937A25754C0A96F958260&partner=Rotten%20Tomatoes
(Accessed on 21.02.11)

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