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Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard
Writing Credits:
Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 10/5/2010

• Audio Commentary with Writers/Directors/Editors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez and Producers Robin Cowie, Michael Monello, and Gregg Hale
• Alternate Endings
• “Curse of the Blair Witch”
• “Discovered Footage”
• “The Blair Witch Legacy”
• Trailers


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Blair Witch Project [Blu-Ray] (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 29, 2020)

Back in 1999, The Blair Witch Project emerged out of nowhere to become a massive hit. Shot for a measly $60,000, the movie turned into a cult sensation and earned more than $248 million worldwide – or roughly 4133 times its budget.

For better or (usually) for worse, Project launched the “found footage” format of movies. These films pretended to provide “raw material” shot by the participants, and Hollywood beat that trend into the ground quickly.

None of this should take away from Project’s groundbreaking success though. Love it or hate it, the movie remains a seminal work.

Young film students Heather (Heather Donahue), Mike (Michael E. Williams) and Josh (Joshua Leonard) set out to make a documentary about a local Maryland legend. They seek to explore the myth of the “Blair Witch”.

However, this production soon goes awry. The filmmakers find themselves lost in the woods, where a mix of creepy incidents lead them to fear for their lives.

I saw Project during its theatrical run, but I honestly derived almost no opinion of the film after that screening. Why? Because I could barely watch it.

The movie uses so much jerky camerawork that I quickly developed motion sickness. I stuck it out through the end of the film, but I only actually watched maybe 60% of the entire show. Sure, I listened to the whole thing, but since I didn't actually see much of it, I don't really feel that I truly experienced the movie during that screening.

Viewed on a smaller screen, the motion sickness became a non-issue. This allowed me to absorb the whole story and not worry that my lunch would leave my innards.

I think this put me in a different position than if I was able to fully watch the movie the first time. After massive praise out of the gates, Project quickly underwent a backlash in 1999, and all the hype became one of the main reasons for that.

Project rapidly gained a reputation as the “scariest movie ever”, so viewers went in with exceedingly high expectations. Given what a simple story Project offers, those hopes felt unrealistic. The movie’s probably best experienced with as little advance information as possible, and certainly without the expectation that it'll be some bone-chilling nightmare.

Obviously, I went into my additional viewings of Project with a fair amount of foreknowledge, but this was good in that I no longer had all the hype on my mind. I think I was in a better state of mind to really watch the movie.

So what do I now think? I find Project to feel much more spooky and creepy than scary, per se.

The whole thing seems more like a paranoid nightmare than a terrifying one. We're never really quite clear what's happening, so more of a sense of discomfort arises rather than true fear.

Probably the main reason Project works stems the very believable acting of our three leads. Of course, once you know something behind the making of the film, you know that a lot of their best work wasn't really acting.

The filmmakers played some serious mind games on these folks, so it wasn't too hard for them to muster up the requisite feelings of fear and desperation. Also, since each actor was essentially playing him/herself, that made it easier.

Nonetheless, no matter how much director-led manipulation went on behind the scenes, these three still knew they were making a movie, so the realism in their performances remains fairly amazing. Had any one of them seemed less than one hundred percent true to the situation, the movie would have failed.

Much of the credit for the success of Project obviously rests with the directors for creating such a clever piece of "performance art" filmmaking. It'd be one thing if Project scared you if you didn't know if it was real or fake, but the fact that the movie works even when you know it's fiction and understand the secrets of how much of it was done stands as testimony to the high quality of their efforts.

Actually, no matter how much I liked the acting and the creativity of the project, I was surprised that I found the film to be as effective as I thought it was on additional viewings. As I mentioned, Project is best seen by someone who knows nothing about it.

It truly would be much more effective if you had no prior information about the tale. As such, it should probably become dull upon subsequent viewings just because you know all its secrets.

However, that isn't the case for me, and I think - again - that the fact I had an idea what to expect made a difference. I knew better what the pacing would be like, so I didn't feel impatient like I did the first time.

I also recognized that it would focus more on the three main characters than anything else, so I knew not to wait for plot revelations that would never come.

That last point may be most significant for many viewers, because I'm sure that some folks have been frustrated by the lack of concrete resolution of Project. We never really know what's going on or what happens to our protagonists.

It's virtually all left to the imagination, and that can really bother some folks. While a second viewing doesn't make any of these areas more clear, it does afford you the opportunity to examine aspects of the film more closely and try to find clues.

Maybe those hints exist, maybe they don't. All I do know is that Project made for a surprisingly rich experience when I watched it again. It may not be a true horror classic, but it remains a solid little nightmare.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus B

The Blair Witch Project appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. When you invested in a fancy, big-screen TV, you didn’t do so for Witch.

Shot with a mix of 16mm and circa 90s video, this offered an objectively awful image. Sharpness consistently looked fuzzy, with mostly soft, bland elements on display, and plenty of jagged edges and moiré effects appeared.

With the 16mm elements, grain became oppressive, and the other shots offered plenty of video artifacts. Occasional specks and marks cropped up in the film footage as well.

Only the video material came in color, and the hues appeared bland and muddy. The image took on a dull brownish tint with no vivacity at all.

Blacks were flat and lifeless, while shadows tended to be too dark and stiff. In an objective sense, nothing here worked.

So why did I give the transfer a “C”? Because all the problems on display stemmed from the source. No matter what kind of mastering the film received, the result would represent the original product.

I went with a “C” as a way of waving a white flag. A higher grade didn’t seem right given how unappealing the end product looked, but a lower grade didn’t feel fair since the Blu-ray accurately represented the source.

Similar thoughts greeted the wholly mediocre DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack of Project. Again, the limitations of the source meant not much stood out as memorable here.

And by “not much”, I mean “nothing”. The soundscape focused heavily on the forward channels, with speech that usually focused on the center, though the lines occasionally bled to the sides and rear.

Effects also broadened around the room in a minor manner. These added a little involvement to the proceedings but most of the mix felt forgettable.

Inevitably, audio quality suffered from those source limitations. Speech occasionally became a bit edgy, but the lines were usually fairly concise, and they remained intelligible.

Effects didn’t usually provide much range, and they could seem a bit distorted at times. However, they usually felt accurate enough given their low-key aims.

Virtually no score appeared here. Ultimately, this became a competent track for the movie’s goals.

As we shift to extras, we open with an audio commentary from writers/directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez and producers Robin Cowie, Michael Monello, and Gregg Hale. All five sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, editing and deleted scenes, music and areas related to the low-budget production.

For the most part, this becomes a good commentary, as we find a useful guide to the challenges the shoot brought with it. The participants fade somewhat as they go and start to simply narrate the film, but we still get enough worthwhile content to make the track worth a listen.

Four Alternate Endings appear. We find “Standing in the Corner (Backwards)” (2:05), “Standing in the Corner (Forwards)” (1:41), “Hanging” (2:01) and “Levitating” (2:00).

All four offer exceedingly similar clips, and none of them do much to differ from the conclusion of the theatrical version. I guess they’re good to have as curiosities, but don’t expect much from them.

With Curse of the Blair Witch, we get a 44-minute, one-second program. This highly entertaining Sci-Fi Channel program purports to document the history of the Blair Witch and it also examines the mystery behind the disappearances of Heather, Mike and Josh.

It delivers a clever and fascinating "mockumentary" and it really adds to the atmosphere of the movie. Actually, in some ways it works better than the film, as the thoroughness with which those involved create and replicate a mythology seems terrific.

Under Discovered Footage, we get five minutes, 12 seconds and shows outtakes with Heather, Mike and Josh. They muse about the Blair Witch and the spookiness around them in this moderately intriguing clip.

The Blair Witch Legacy goes for three minutes, 39 seconds, but it really offers a text extra – a filmed text extra, not a still frame one. It gives us the “history” of the Blair Witch through the events depicted in the movie and their aftermath, and it brings some fun details.

Finally, the disc includes three trailers. This area includes one trailer and two teasers, though all are so short that we don’t find much difference.

A true cinematic sensation in 1999, The Blair Witch Project seems less revolutionary years later. Still, it provides a well-crafted “found footage” piece that remains fairly effective. The Blu-ray brings picture and audio that represent the limitations of the source as well as a good roster of bonus materials. Blair Witch still seems like an entertaining and creative horror tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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