Fortune.com recently published an article titled, “The Original Blair Witch Project Is Still Influencing Hollywood.” The article cites some of the figures from said film and the latest Star Wars for comparison to show how great the return was back in 1999.
As the article says, the original film spawned a couple of sequels and a slew of inspired films, enough to create a subgenre unto itself. It was a magical formula in that era for a few reasons:
The Internet was pretty new and the filmmakers used that to create hype via websites dedicated to the film’s story and/or the project belonging to the students in the film (and this was all before either “viral” or creepypasta were things). Certainly low-budget film wasn’t anything new, but The Blair Witch Project looked and felt like it was shot with a Sony camcorder, and thus the budget was kept to a bare minimum, which, as Fortune points out, the return was huge for the studio. It was also truly original, and theindustry needed the thrust since the slasher genre had become tired at the time. And in addition to terrifying audiences, it also inspired anyone with a camera and an idea to get out there and start shooting.
The terror, however, was palatable. Maybe not to the extent that The Exorcist generated in the ‘70s, but it was certainly felt like the scariest thing since. For me, I can recall being in a rural wooded area within the week after seeing The Blair Witch Project and I could still feel the fear. This is something that no other horror movie, before or after, has been able to do to me. I remember being nervous and jittery as hell for that short amount of time on that piece of property. (What I was doing there will remain between me and the victim.)
Now, I’ve enjoyed a number of shaky-cam or found-footage films since The Blair Witch Project, but none have been able to elicit the same caliber of fear. For the most part, genre films following Blair Witch have been fun.
So, will The Blair Witch Project remake generate the same fear? Judging from the trailer, it certainly looks like an honest effort has been made. But given the obvious boost to quality (ahem, budget) and given the fact that we know the ending, it’s highly unlikely that any of us will be afraid to visit the woods.
Let’s ask the bigger question; Can any movie in this genre be as frightening as The Blair Witch Project?
The new Blair Witch movie will be released on September 16th.
Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.
Rock Hard \m/