Starring: Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard, Mike Williams
“I just want to apologize to Mike’s mom, Josh’s mom, and my mom. And I’m sorry to everyone. I was very naive. I am so so sorry for everything that has happened. Because in spite of what Mike says now, it is my fault. Because it was my project.” (Heather, The Blair Witch Project)
There have been so many shaky-cam movies since the release of The Blair Witch Project that it can be hard to go back to the film that kicked off the frenzy and appreciate it in a more recent context. It no longer feels fresh, it no longer feels original, but what it does still offer is a well-structured, creepy film… as long as you’ve never seen it before.
The story goes that three student filmmakers – Heather, Josh and Mike – decide to make a documentary on Ellie Kedward, a woman who lived near Blair, Maryland in the 1700s and was dubbed the Blair Witch by those who shunned and exiled her from her village. Kedward was said to have led children away from the village and killed them as punishment for her banishment. Fast-forward to the 1940s and a madman called Rustin Parr takes seven children into the woods and kills them, claiming the Blair Witch told him to.
And so, in 1994, our trio of filmmakers set out to investigate and try to find out more about the legend. Or at least, they did. You see, The Blair Witch Project opens with a message that Heather, Josh and Mike went missing while filming this documentary, and the footage that makes up the movie is what was found in the woods by a search party looking for them. Of course, in reality it’s all bollocks and Heather, Mike and Josh were just actors who are alive and well and still struggling to find film roles, but at the time of its release The Blair Witch Project’s rather convincing website and a “real” documentary about the Blair Witch legend on the Sci-Fi Channel had plenty of filmgoers certain that what they were watching was real footage of three missing children. Continue reading