yes, 1999 was a great year in movies (as i’ve mentioned in my other blog). there were many great studio and indie films. studios were making indie films(american beatuy, thrree kings) while indies were going mainstream(she’s all that, talented mr. ripley). the no. 10 top grossing film that year belongs to artisan’s skid mark known as the blair witch project. it’s the only movie on this site that has conjured anger in me and also, one of the worst movies of an otherwise golden year in movies.
it was a good premise, i’ll give you that. three obnoxious douchy film students went into the woods to investigate a local urban legend. said douches disappeared and what we see in the film are actually footages found a year later, left by the tri-douches. i’m not a professional writer and/or filmmaker by any means, but to me, a premise is something like a starting point, where you DEVELOP details from. add a few things here and there, red herrings if said premise is in the realm of mystery and horror, a little characterization maybe, a few shock and awe moments…
but no, not daniel myrick and eduardo sanchez. their whole movie seems to be done once they came up with the premise. they hired amateur actors and have them improv the whole thing. during filmming, they would keep the actors in the dark, so that they would react supposedly realistically. if that isn’t trust, i don’t know what is.
what we have here is essentially pretentious neo-hippie/douches(probably shop at whole food, consume organic things, sandal-wearing motherfuckers who must have moleskin journals) who spend a few days in the woods acting like they are scared of something. there are a lot of expletives throughout the movie. usually when they try to act scared and intense. it’s like bad improv where they can’t think of anything entertaining and decide to shock you just to get a reaction. one of them actually acted scared by saying “i’m so scared right now” directly into the camera. with such boring and unlikable characters, the 89 minutes with them feels like 3 hours. with people yelling and screaming, usually each other’s names. oooooh. off camera things shake and make noises. oooooh. found something wrapped in tree branches. oooooh. i totally thought they were supposed to be funny.
i still don’t know what hypnotized the masses. that this little indie no budget movie became a must see/conversation piece that went on to gross $140 millions seems to be the biggest mystery of all. i can see how if someone has no information regarding the movie and went in thinking it was real, it would be kinda creepy. most critics who like it mentioned the brilliant premise and marketing(word of mouth and online mostly). some even went so far to claim it as the new film of the millennium. maybe i’m just old fashioned but when i go in to a theatre, all that matters is what’s on screen. no one, critics or masses, should take marketing and technology into consideration when evaluating a movie. a clever premise alone does not make a (mediocre) movie. people who hated it seem to dislike the shaky cam, which woody allen and oliver stone used to great effects a few years before this blah project was made. i am more oppose to the lack of character, plot developements and entertainment value.
having heard of all the hype surrounding the movie, i naturally avoided it when it opened. the premiere at the local theatre at the time happened to be a thursday, where i went to see the last showing of run lola run, for the second time in a week. there’s a movie that works with a clever premise and technology. and for an industry that is proud of ripoffs and remakes, i don’t know why it took so long for them to replicate it in open water, cloverfield, and paranormal activity. what i don’t get about these movies is why the protagonists, whom you’re supposed to care about, are generally so unlikable. i always thought that you DON’T want them to die, as opposed to cheering when something bad happen to them and the movie can finally be over.
so thanks to this movie and those of you who made it a hit, now we have asshats or any douches with $100, posting videos constantly online about what they are doing and what they think. viral, youtube, meme, indeed support the blair witch legend that anyone can make a movie/video, but the point becomes, should they?
p.s. with such an overwhelming over praise of this, it’s no wonder that the sequel is universally hated. i on the other hand, since hated the original, thought the second one was actually an improvement, while still not quite make it sequel, especially taken into the fact that joe berlinger put in a lot of the themes from his two paradise lost documentaries. plus it contains nudity.