‘The Blair Witch Project’ is 15 Years Old Today!

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On this day, 15 years ago, my mother and I went to a movie theater in Houston, TX (one that has been torn down since) to see the new phenomenon that had been relentlessly hyped for weeks… The Blair Witch Project. Of course I had been primed by the “online” rumors that this film was real, and of course I didn’t believe them – but since each internet page took approximately 60 minutes to load back then I never “verified” my doubt.

Nevertheless, I was genuinely nervous upon entering the theater. The trailers had terrified me (I didn’t know not to trust Peter Travers at that point). And even the film’s first act wheel-spinning (now a staple of the sub-genre) felt sort of revolutionary to me at the time. I was a bit younger than the characters in the film, but they serviceably resembled my older sister’s group of friends to the point where they felt at least somewhat authentic to me (in particular Heather Donahue’s bullsh*t assertion that it’s “impossible to get lost in modern civilization”).

And man, that ending. It haunted me, it really did. After exiting the theater my mother complained of feeling sick from the shaky-cam (a new era of complaining was also born on that day) and I was struggling to reconcile the minimalism of the finale with the horror I felt.

I have never revisited the film, a conscious choice to leave that experience trapped in amber. Maybe I will someday, but I fear enjoying The Blair Witch Project on its own terms will be difficult given the deluge of films that have been aping it for 15 years now.

Happy birthday, Blair Witch Project.  I don’t hold the atom-bomb against Einstein so I guess I won’t hold The Devil Inside against you.

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  • Ress EZ

    I was new to the subgenre at the time. I don’t believe I was led to believe it was a real footage. I think I just believed that it was indeed real. How naïve I was. Or maybe I wasn’t familiar with found footage. Anyway, I was sooo excited to see it I shamefully bought a pirated copy (because there was no news it was going to be shown at the theaters) which was unfortunately had no ending. As it was almost to the end, the movie just faded to black but I was able to hear the screaming and heavy breathing and so forth. That peaked my interest to watch it even more just for that particular ending! Eventually it got a theatrical release and I had to drive 130 miles to Kuala Lumpur to watch it. Haha! To my surprise people hated the experience so much they left before it ended! So surprise that I really wanted to yell at them didn’t they fall for it to be real like I did in the slightest?? Though I had a blast and until now it is still one of the horror movies that I don’t mind revisiting…for another look of the stickman.

  • http://Voorhees83 Voorhees83

    I never believed this movie was real for one second. Even before seeing it. To this day, I still love it for what it is.

  • 321sponge1

    This movie absolutely terrified me when I first watched it. Still does. Absolute classic and favorite of mine

  • Khy

    When me and my family first watched it when it came on video- we thought it was crap. It was a huge let down for us and we just didn’t get it. Flashforward about 6 years and one night I’m alone in the basement and decides to give it a second chance- ended up scaring the hell out of me. That’s how it meant to be watched, not with a group of people making jokes(lol like my family was).

    • LoveAnimation

      Horror Movies are supposed to be scary and its hard for something to be scary if your making jokes with friends or family.
      Horror stuff dont work if your not tryin to get immersed into the experiece.

      • Ress EZ

        Totally agree LoveAnimation! One thing I hate most watching horror in cinemas is when some stupid couples tease their partners (to make them jump) during scary scenes. For all I care, they should get a heart attack from the jump scares!

  • Chandler Of-Adelaide

    I’ve only seen this once, and it was about 9-10 years after it came out. I was fully aware that it was fake and all but somehow watching it, it got a hold of me. I really enjoyed it. Would I enjoy it as much a second time round? I don’t think so but (and if this is false, please inform me) hearing that the cast had no idea it was fake and that it was the crew doing a lot of the scary shit made it so much more interesting and spooky because it was genuine fear and terror you were seeing.

  • Anthony Moore

    If it wasn’t for the blair witch project we would have never gotten the VHS movies lol

  • ThunderDragoon

    The ending also got to me when I first saw the movie. There’s just something about not seeing things that just makes it more creepy. Your mind creates something even more terrifying. Love this movie.

  • Krug09

    I remember staying up all night when i watched this in 99 it scared the shit out of me but i was a kid. Now as an adult its still scary/creepy!

  • Thomas Rokos

    Only scarey movie to illicit a physical reaction, had severe chest pains when I first saw the ending.

  • volleyjacket

    I thought the marketing was brilliant, and went into the film with high expectations. But I was not engaged by the film at all, and I found the actions of the characters to be idiotic and frustrating instead of tragically unfortunate. And then the end? That’s it?! Yeah, color me disappointed.

  • boaaa82 .

    Classic i still remember being a teen all baked watching it for the first time in the movies

  • xzero425x

    I loved this movie when i was younger…even though it terrified me, i was 11 when I saw it. Now i have the biggest love for handycam movies

  • Nicholas

    Excellent marketing for an awful film. I was bored. It just wasn’t scary.