I Re-Watched The Blair Witch Project So You Don’t Have To

Well. That was interesting. I just re-watched “The Blair Witch Project” on IFC out of sheer curiosity if it would hold up to the experience I had in the theater back in 1999. As my friend I saw the film with would attest, I spent most of the movie curled up in my seat with my eyes squeezed shut, mumbling “Nope nope nope nope” as the revolutionary (at the time) “found footage” movie unfurled. I was TERRIFIED. At any given moment, something horrific could have popped out in front of the camera. It never did, of course, but it COULD HAVE. And I have to say that after watching it in 2014?

It doesn’t hold up. But we shouldn’t judge it on that.


In 1999, viral campaigns didn’t exist. Hell, the internet was still dial-up. The marketing campaign for Blair Witch was ingenious. There was nothing at all in the marketing of the movie that said “wink wink, this is totes fake, we’re just shilling a movie.” There was a website back when our eyes were still bleeding from GeoCities and AOL sites that today would be laughable at best now. There was lore. There was a freaking BOOK. The filmmakers were clearly ahead of their time. People firmly believed this was a true story, and those behind the film ran with that. We had never before seen a “found footage” horror movie, and we were TERRIFIED about what was coming around the corner. And at the end of the film wherein Mike is against the wall and Heather is shrieking and the sound is distorted and everything goes black? I nearly shat my pants. It was perfectly terrifying.

Sadly, once you’ve seen it once, there’s no going back. The magic is gone. Of course it was all a fake. Hell, I was in a friend’s wedding with Josh. He was very much alive, and had all his teeth. It’s sad, really, that something that was so visceral and scary when you’re 21 and the internet was in it’s infancy is so….irritating now. I’m lucky that I live alone, because I was yelling quite loudly at the television, shrieking “just follow the stream! Just walk along the stream, it’ll empty out somewhere, and there will be people there!” Of course, logic like that doesn’t help a horror movie, and I guess that’s what happens when you’re 36 years old and your main problem is that the shaky cam is making you seasick.

But seriously, this movie will ALWAYS be in the history books. It birthed the shaky-cam. It birthed the viral campaign. And therefore it will always, ALWAYS be a historic horror movie. Even though we roll our eyes at it now, the scene of Heather apologizing to all their moms, and the last scene with Mike against the wall? Well done, movie. Well done.

Let “Blair Witch” live down in history. Don’t re-watch it. Just remember that there was a time in 1999 wherein you were so fucking scared of the woods that you never looked at a bundle of sticks the same way again. Don’t be that asshole who says “oh that movie sucked” because there was a time that it scared the ever loving shit out of you. Let it be that. Don’t be cynical.

But don’t re-watch it.


I Re-Watched The Blair Witch Project So You Don’t Have To — 6 Comments

  1. To this day my brother is fully creeped by the sight of anyone (Baby) in a corner. And we were in our mid-ish 20s when we watched it.

  2. If you ever get a chance, re-watch it with an audience in a theatre, especially one with good sound separation. There’s a moment when there’s the sound of a twig being stepped on off to the left hand side. If you’re sitting in the back, you can see every head in the theatre turn to the left, off beyond the screen. THAT’S effective filmmaking!

    I saw it at Sundance in 1999. It was amazing.

  3. This movie really scared me…I saw it with 6 friends and at the end the 7 of us ran out into the sunshine…I was simply so terrified I had to get into the light of day…I will never ,ever watch it again..

  4. By the time I saw Blair Witch in a theaters it had already been hyped so much it disappointed. I could only judge as those who first viewed not knowing anything might appreciate it. No need to see it a second time, my first viewing pretty much equaled your second.

    Thanks for the reminder though. I recently saw it offered on Netflix and was almost tempted.

  5. Blair Witch Project always enrages me. When we went, we underestimated the appeal and ended up in the second row in the middle. The shaky cam gave me a migraine and I tried really hard to fight it. Finally I gave in and got up and left. Miserable that I was missing the end. As I was sitting in the parking lot, catching my breath, everyone else walked out of the theater. Turns out, I’d only missed about two minutes. It took me about two years to see the last two minutes, but it took away all the steam.
    Jessi last post: Things You Shouldn’t Be Worried About

  6. Haha I rented this movie out and watched it when I was like 12 with a friend. We were so frickin unimpressed with it and mad that we had wasted our lives watching it. Those days I could watch anything without flinching, these days I am the scarediest scaredy cat there is, but I still would never ever recommend this film. Nothing at all happened. Haha

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