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Blair Witch [2016]

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:// INTRO

A friend came up to me during my senior year in High School. We had made 1 successful horror short at my parent’s house with a couple of friends, we were on a heavy Horror kick back then.

We had tried to imitate those horror movies we had seen, this day he came and told me about the scariest movie he had just seen. The kicker was that he said our movie actually looked better than this movie.

This was the time around the Scream craze which brought Urban Legend and I know what you did last summer among others with it.

Mexico is a weird place, media comes into the country at a somewhat irregular and unexpected pace. For example, those horror buddies had never seen or heard of the original Halloween [criminal, I know].

They did know Chucky and Freddy Kruger of course, not to mention Jaws and Alien [well, Aliens actually].

I asked him “what movie is this?” I just had to see it. He said “Blair Witch”.

:// IMPACT OF THE FIRST BLAIR WITCH

The movie was genuinely creepy, the creepiest factor for me, however, was that I felt “dirty” after having finished watching it. I love horror movies, they are fun roller coaster rides which I enjoy. That day I had stumbled upon a filmmaking style which I had never seen before: Found Footage.

I had felt like a Peeping Tom, I felt I had invaded these people’s privacy. Not to mention their grisly demise. Although I knew this was a movie, for a short second I felt that ongoing dread thinking “what if, this is actually real?”

:// RESURGENCE OF FOUND FOOTAGE

CLOVERFIELD. Hands down.

Cloverfield brought found footage back [for better or worse] into the spotlight, it was like a freight train coming at you at 182,000 miles per hour.

Now some young Thundercats might not remember a time before Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. During this unconceivable era, the Internet was just gaining a presence. Sure, some brands might have their website, but there was not much in terms of entertainment.

People would log into MySpace, maybe send a private message and that was it. Cloverfield and Blair Witch took advantage of that period and had the foresight to promote their movie with Viral Marketing.

The most powerful method to gain interest in any medium is word of mouth.

And God Damn it did they pull it off.

After ‘Clover found footage has been strongly associated with Horror. Now don’t get me wrong, I greatly appreciate a good found footage experience. But not all Horror movies fit within that specific style of filmmaking. Hell, they even tried making a found footage Friday the 13th [after the 2009 remake].

:// PRODUCTION QUALITY

Although set in the woods, there are many interesting shots throughout the picture. Depending on which camera the characters are using the aesthetic of each shot feels just different enough from the previous camera, yet unique enough to keep you intrigued.

There are a lot of scares which are framed beautifully within these shots. Probably the biggest victory was that Blair Witch allowed the viewer to imagine what is out there in the woods.

Theatre of the mind.

It worked in Jaws.

It worked in Halloween.

It still works.

I have become a fan of Adam Wingard’s work for some time now, especially his work on You’re Next and his segments in V/H/S and V/H/S 2.

:// BLAIR WITCH LEGACY

It was a wonderful surprise to see ‘Blair come out, it’s nice to be genuinely surprised by a release that is not teased or reported on every 30 seconds online.

I look forward to seeing where this series goes next, hopefully, it is somewhere exciting and fun as this one.