The Blair Witch Project (1999)

USA, 1999
87m
16mm film, videotape, colour, black and white
Dolby SR, English

An American horror film directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. It helped to popularise the “found footage” horror film and was one of the most successful independent films ever made.

Plot Summary

Three young film-makers venture into the Black Woods of Maryland in search of the legendary Blair Witch. They vanish and are never seen again. But a year later, their footage is found and reassembled…

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
© 1999 Haxan Films Inc.
The author of this motion picture for United States and International copyright is Blair Witch Film Partners, LTD. Haxan Films. Released by Artisan Entertainment
Executive Produced by: Bob Eick and Kevin J. Foxe
Produced by: Gregg Hale and Robin Cowie
Written by: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
Director of Photography: Neal Fredericks
Edited by: Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
Music Composed and Performed by: Tony Cora
Sound Mix: Dana Meeks
Production Designer: Ben Rock

Cast
Heather Donahue [Heather Donahue]
Michael Williams [Michael Williams]
Joshua Leonard [Joshua Leonard]
Bob Griffin [fisherman]
Jim King [interviewee]
Sandra Sanchez [waitress]
Ed Swanson [fisherman]
Patricia DeCou [Mary Brown]
Mark Mason [man in yellow hat]
Jackie Hallex [woman with baby]

Alternative Titles

Blair cadisi – Turkey
The Black Hills Project – working title
Blair Witch Project – Germany
The Blair Witch Project- Il mistero della strega di Blair – Italy
A Bruxa de Blair – Brazil
Ideglelés – Hungary
O Projecto Blair Witch – Portugal
Le Projet Blair Witch
– Canada (French), France
El proyecto Blair Witch
– Argentina
El proyecto de la bruja de Blair
– Spain
The Woods Movie
– early title

Remake of
The Blair Witch Project: The Story of the Black Hills Disappearances (1997)

Sequels
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Blair Witch (2016)

Extracts included in
1,001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die) (2014)

See also
The Bare Wench Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Phenomenon (1999)
The Burkittsville Seven (2000)
Cannibal Holocaust (1979)
The Curse of the Blair Witch (1998)
Ensorceleuses: Le projet Blair Bitch (1998)
Shadow of the Blair Witch (2001)
Sticks and Stones (1998)
The Tony Blair Witch Project (2000)

Press

When it was first released, the film was largely well received. Variety‘s Todd McCarthy called in “an intensely imaginative piece of conceptual filmmaking that also delivers the goods as a dread drenched horror movie” and “a clever modern twist on the universal fear of the dark and things that go bump in the night.” 1Variety 8 February 1999 p.79 and in Village Voice, J. Hoberman called it “clever, creepy, and cumulatively terrifying”, praising the “impeccable” acting and concluded that “the experience haunts the mind. It’s an absolutely restrained and truly frightening movie.” 2Village Voice 20 July 1999 pp.43; 50, 52; 135. In The Guardian, John Patterson called it “irresistible… disorienting and terrifying” 3The Guardian: Section 2 23 July 1999 p.22 while his colleague Danny Leigh hailed it as “a very scary movie” with “no throwaway adrenal rush, and there’s no giggling relief after it turns out that weird noise was actually next door’s cat. That’s all gone. In its place, you’ll find the kind of intense, gnawing dread you probably forgot existed.” 4The Guardian: The Guide 31 July-6 August 1999 pp.4-6

Nigel Andrews of The Financial Times called it a “heraldic film for a new millennium” which “proves that native wit and nickel-and-dime funding can outsmart and out-gross the creaky Croesus products of Hollywood.” 5The Financial Times 4 October 1999 p.20 and Anthony Quinn wrote in The Independent that “it’s possible to be left with the paradoxical feeling that The Blair Witch Project is a cleverly devised conundrum and at the same time acknowledge it as a masterly and unrepeatable distillation of dread. Whether it spooks you or not, it’s far and away the most heartening success story in movies this year.” 6The Independent: Review 22 October 1999 p.12

Steve Biodrowski sounded a more cautionary note in Cinefantastique, cautioning that although “The Blair Witch Project is a very good, sometimes even excellent horror film”, it had “been over-hyped by well-meaning critics who have set the film up to be a tremendous disappointment to the millions of people who saw it after reading the reviews” before concluding that it “remains a remarkable and entertaining film, well-deserving of praise.” 7Cinefantastique vol.31 no.9 (December 1999) p.62

References

Periodicals

  • American Cinematographer vol.80 no.4 (April 1999) pp.96-116 – illustrated article (Sundance ’99: a cooler climate by S. Pizzello)
  • Black Filmmaker vol.2 no.7 (1999) pp.9, 25 – illustrated article (Blair Witch Project weaves its magic by Marc Gilliam)
  • Broadcast 24 September 1999 p.2 – note (Programming: Rapture honours Blair Witch Project with weekend)
  • Cinefantastique vol.31 no.7 (August 1999) pp.10-11 – illustrated article (The Blair Witch Project by Patrick Legare)
  • Cinefantastique vol.31 no.9 (December 1999) p.62 – illustrated review (Cinema: The Blair Witch vs The Haunting: Suggestive scares upstage silly CGI by Steve Biodrowski)
  • Cineforum no.385 (June 1999) p.66 (Italy) – illustrated review
  • Cinema Business no.41 (January 2008) p.32 – note (Deep pockets)
  • Cinema Journal vol.48 no3 (Spring 2009) pp.35-51 – Illustrated article (Japan’s Blair Witch: restraint, maturity, and generic canon in the British critical reception of Ring by Daniel Martin)
  • Creative Screenwriting vol.6 no.4 (July/August 1999) pp.47-49 – illustrated interview (An interview with Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez by Mary Johnson)
  • Dreamwatch November 1999 pp.44-47, 70 – illustrated article, review
  • Empire no.124 (October 1999) p.50 – illustrated article (Reel news: into the woods by Lisa Andrews)
  • Empire no.125 (November 1999) pp.12-13; 92-100 – Illustrated review (New films by Kim Newman); illustrated article (Hapless campers by Clark Collis)
  • Empire no.127 (January 2000) pp.42; 124 – illustrated article (Reel news: cornershock), illustrated article (Reel news: season of the witch by Damon Wise); illustrated article (Review of the year: classic scene of 1999)
  • Empire no.131 (May 2000) pp.44; 132 – Illustrated interview (Reel news: unhappy campers by Mark Dinning); illustrated video review (Home entertainment: videos to rent by Liz Beardsworth)
  • Empire no.132 (June 2000) p.118 – Illustrated DVD review (DVD by Adam Smith)
  • Empire no.180 (June 2004) p.118 – Illustrated article (The 15 most influential films of our lifetime by Ian Freer et al)
  • Empire no.193 (July 2005) p.112 – Illustrated article (Deep pockets by Scott Hughes)
  • Empire no.195 (September 2005) pp.72-73 – Illustrated article (The 10 Most Annoying Movie Characters by Emma Cochrane)
  • Empire no.228 (June 2008) pp.94-101 – Illustrated article (True originals by Simon Crook et al)
  • Entertainment Weekly no.495 (23 July 1999) pp.44-45 – Illustrated review (Terrorvision by Lisa Schwarzbaum)
  • Entertainment Weekly no.496 (30 July 1999) pp.34-36 – illustrated article (Rhymes with rich by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh)
  • Entertainment Weekly no.509 (29 October 1999) pp.116-117 – Illustrated review (Forest dangers by Ty Burr)
  • Fade In vol.5 no.2 (1999) p.14 – illustrated review (Prevue by Andrew Roberts)
  • Fangoria no.184 (July 1999) pp.60-64, 90 – illustrated article (Double, double frightening by Travis Crawford)
  • Fangoria no.185 (August 1999) pp.74-77 – illustrated interview (The scared “witch” cast by Travis Crawford)
  • Fangoria no.188 (November 1999) pp.36-39 – illustrated interview (How The Last Broadcast came first by Sarah Kendzior)
  • Fangoria no.190 (March 2000) p.74 – DVD review (DVD Dungeon by Michael Gingold and Matthew Kiernan)
  • Fangoria no.234 (July 2004) p.75 – Illustrated article (Fango’s top 25: 1999 by John Wooley)
  • Fangoria no.289 (January 2010) pp.50-54, 56 – Illustrated article (What’s Scary: Part One by Stephen King)
  • Film Comment vol.35 no.4 (July/August 1999) p.74 – Illustrated review (The Blair Witch Project by Michael Atkinson)
  • Film Dienst vol.52 no.18 (31 August 1999) p.39 – illustrated article (Blair Witch im Internet)
  • Le Film Francais no.2786 (6 August 1999) p.8 – short illustrated article (Mars Films a du “Blair” by A.B.)
  • Film Ireland no.73 (October/November 1999) pp.36-37 – Illustrated review (filmIrelandReviews by Ted Sheehy)
  • Film Quarterly vol.54 no.3 (Spring 2001) pp.32-39 – Illustrated article (The Blair Witch Project project – Film and the Internet by J.P. Telotte)
  • Film Review November 1999 pp.23; 72-77 – Illustrated review (The Blair Witch Project by Ian Calcutt); illustrated article (If you go down to the woods today… by Terry Richards)
  • Film-Echo/Filmwoche no.32 (14 August 1999) p.24 – illustrated review (The Blair Witch Project by Andreas Fuchs)
  • Film-Echo/Filmwoche no.35 (4 September 1999) p.6 – illustrated article (Marketing für den Hexenkult by Annette Dombrowski)
  • Film-Echo/Filmwoche no.46 (20 November 1999) p.49 – review (Blair Witch Project by Steffen Heinke)
  • Filmmaker vol.7 no.2 (February-April 1999) pp.72-74 – illustrated interview (Into the woods by Stephen Gallagher)
  • Filmmaker vol.10 no.4 (Summer 2002) p.20 – Illustrated article (Reports: crime scene by Scott Macaulay)
  • Filmmaker vol.15 no.1 (Autumn 2006) pp.70-71 – Illustrated article (25 years of the Sundance Institute: The Sundance Touch by Ray Pride)
  • The Independent Film and Video Monthly vol.22 no.6 (July 1999) pp.36-38 – illustrated article (The Blair Witch Project by Adam Pincus)
  • Inside Film no.20 (December 1999) pp.28-30 – illustrated article (Indy film profile by Megan Spencer)
  • International Media Law vol.17 no.8 (August 1999) pp.63 – article (Case Study: The Blair Witch Project by Harris E. Tulchin)
  • Journal of Film and Video vol.53 no.2/3 (Summer/Autumn 2001) pp.140-147 – interview (Method filmmaking: an interview with Daniel Myrick, co-director of The Blair Witch Project by Scott Dixon McDowell)
  • Journal of Film and Video vol.61 no.3 (Autumn 2009) pp.40-51 – article (Video from the void: Video spectatorship, domestic film cultures, and contemporary horror film by Chuck Tryon)
  • International Media Law no.43 (July 2000) pp.3-8 – illustrated article (The Blair Witch Project: mock-documentary goes mainstream by Jane Roscoe)
  • Movieline vol.10 no.10 (July 1999) pp.11 – illustrated review (Hell’s bells by Michael Atkinson)
  • Movieline vol.10 no.11 (August 1999) pp.36-37 – illustrated article (Mock inspiration by Stephen Farber)
  • Positif no.461/462 (July/August 1999) pp.152 – illustrated review (Le projet Blair Witch by L.C.)
  • Positif no.469 (March 2000) pp.65-67 – illustrated article (L’image tremblée by Yannick Lemarié)
  • Post Script vol.21 no.3 (Summer 2002) pp.46-60 – Illustrated article (Mockumentaries and the production of realist horror by Gary D. Rhodes)
  • Post Script vol.22 no.2 (Autumn 2002) pp.56-68 – Illustrated article (Kicking the map away: The Blair Witch Project, Deleuze and the aesthetics of horror by Anna Powell)
  • Premiere no.269 (August/September 1999) pp.43 – illustrated review (Le Projet Blair Witch by Stéphanie Lamome and Jean-Yves Katelan)
  • Premiere no.270 (September 1999) pp.25-26 – illustrated article (Le marketing “Blair Witch” by Stéphanie Chayet)
  • Premiere vol.12 no.12 (August 1999) pp.80-83 – illustrated article (Into the woods)
  • Premiere vol.13 no.2 (October 1999) pp.92 – illustrated note (Indie rebels: The Blair Witch Project gang)
  • Premiere vol.13 no.3 (November 1999) pp.93-94, 96, 98, 100, 102-103 – illustrated article (Can you digit? by Harry Allen)
  • Quarterly Review of Film and Video vol.23 no.5 (October 2006) pp.423-436 – article (Making strange impressions: The unsettling craft of self-critical cinema by Matthew B. Harrison)
  • Science Fiction Film and Television vol.6 no.2 (Summer 2013) pp.153-175 – article (Digital anxiety and the new verité horror and SF film by Barry Keith Grant)
  • Screen International no.1207 (7 May 1999) pp.47 – review (The Blair Witch Project by Mike Goodridge)
  • Screen International no.1220 (6 August 1999) pp.1-2 – illustrated article (Witch casts spell abroad by Mike Goodridge)
  • Screen International no.1222 (20 August 1999) pp.40 – illustrated note (Technicolor yawn)
  • Screen International no.1228 (1 October 1999) pp.11-12 – illustrated article (Blair Witch: The international project by Mike Goodridge)
  • Screen International no.1232 (29 October 1999) pp.1 – illustrated article (UK be-Witched by Mary Scott)
  • Screen International no.1233 (5 November 1999) pp.23 – illustrated note (Blair Witch pushes UK box office to all time high by Mary Scott)
  • Screen International no.1234 (12 November 1999) pp.6 – illustrated note (Blair Witch heads for the PC)
  • Screen International no.1277 (22 September 2000) pp.4 – article (Blair Witch set to fly again in Germany by Karsten Kastelan)
  • Screen International no.1558 (11 August 2006) pp.4-5 – Illustrated article (Snakes on the brain by Leonard K;ady, Robert Mitchell and Wendy Mitchell)
  • Screen International no.1559 (18 August 2006) pp.21 – illustrated note (Horror’s fresh spurt by Robert Mitchell)
  • Shivers no.68 (August 1999) pp.8-11 – illustrated article (Independent’s day by James Abery)
  • Shivers no.71 (November 1999) pp.71 – Illustrated review
  • Shivers no.72 (December 1999) pp.36-37 – Illustrated review
  • Sight & Sound vol.9 no.7 (July 1999) pp.6 – Illustrated review (The advocate: babes in the woods by Kim Newman)
  • Sight & Sound vol.9 no.10 (October 1999) pp.5 – article (Rushes: Monster hype)
  • Sight & Sound vol.9 no.11 (November 1999) pp.38-39 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review (Reviews by Charles Taylor)
  • Sight & Sound vol.10 no.2 (February 2000) pp.64 – letters
  • Sight & Sound vol.10 no.4 (April 2000) pp.64 – video review (Video reviews: rental by Danny Leigh)
  • Sight & Sound vol.19 no.9 (September 2009) pp.24 – Illustrated article (The wild bunch: one-hit wonders by Kim Newman)
  • Soundtrack! The Collector’s Quarterly vol.18 no.71 (Autumn 1999) pp.20 – interview with Randy Gerston (The Blair Witch Project: Making a soundtrack where no soundtrack existed by Ford A. Thaxton)
  • Starburst no.255 (November 1999) pp.52-58 – illustrated article (America’s scariest home movies by Richard Moore)
  • Starburst no.256 December 1999) pp.62-63 – Illustrated review (Movie reviews by Alan Jones)
  • Starburst no.268 (December 2000) pp.83 – illustrated video review (Reviews: Videofile by Ian Atkins)
  • Starburst Special no.41 Star Trek (November 1999) pp.68-73 – illustrated article (It’s a kind of magic by Terry Richards)
  • Télérama no.2585 (28 July 1999) pp.38 – illustrated review (Le Projet Blair Witch by Louis Guichard)
  • Télérama no.2591 (8 September 1999) pp.73 – illustrated article (C’était pas sorcier! by Olivier Pascal-Moussellard)
  • Time Out 13-20 October 1999 pp.16-18 – illustrated interview with Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick (The witch report by Nigel Floyd)
  • Time Out 22-27 October 1999 p.85 – illustrated article (Witch craft by Tom Charity)
  • Total Film no.34 (November 1999) pp.38; 53-58; 55; 57; 88-89 – illustrated article (Any witch way but spoof: indies queue up to lampoon scary movies); illustrated article (Something wicked this way comes by Matt Mueller and Louise Brearley); Illustrated interview (Heather Donahue: witch hunter by Louise Brearley); Illustrated interview (Eduardo Sanchez: Fear master by Louise Brearley); Illustrated review (The Blair Witch Project by Matt Mueller)
  • Variety 8 February 1999 pp.79 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review (Film reviews by Todd McCarthy)
  • Variety 9-15 August 1999 pp.7-8; 8 – illustrated article (Spooked by ‘Witch’ by Charles Lyons); note (Every ‘Witch’ way to the top by Charles Lyons)
  • Village Voice 20 July 1999 pp.43; 50, 52; 135 – article (Web witchcraft by Peter Braunstein); illustrated interview with Heather Donohue (Heather Donahue casts a spell by Dennis Lim); illustrated review (Screaming & kicking by J. Hoberman)
  • Village Voice 10 August 1999 p.68 – review (Spelling it out by A.T. [Amy Taubin])
  • Village Voice 24 August 1999 p.6 – letter (from Robin Groves)
  • Written By vol.3 no8 (September 1999) pp.40-41 – interview (A witch’s broomscript by Daniel S. Duvall)

Newspapers

  • The Asian Age 20 April 2001 p.13 (India) – illustrated article (Students scared the world)
  • The Daily Telegraph 26 July 1999 p.17 – illustrated article (Where’s Hollywood’s flair for fear by Quentin Curtis)
  • The Daily Telegraph 14 August 1999 p.23 – note (by Simon Davis)
  • The Daily Telegraph 18 September 1999 pp.58, 60, 62 – illustrated interview with Eduardo Sanchez (Black magic by Quentin Curtis)
  • The Daily Telegraph 22 October 1999 p.25 – illustrated review (True fear by Andrew O’Hagan)
  • The Daily Telegraph 26 February 2000 p.19 – note (Back into the woods by Simon Davies)
  • The Daily Telegraph 1 April 2000 p.20 – note (Witch is out of the woods by Nigel Reynolds)
  • The Daily Telegraph 14 October 2000 p.A8 – illustrated article (When death is so lifelike by Mark Monahan)
  • Evening Standard 29 July 1999 pp.30-31 – illustrated article (Some genuine scary stuff on the cheap by Neil Norman)
  • Evening Standard 3 August 1999 p.18 – illustrated article ($35,000 movies takes $28.5 million in two days by Mark Reynolds)
  • Evening Standard 23 August 1999 p.5 – review (A tale of true terror at the witching hour by Neil Norman)
  • Evening Standard 20 October 1999 p.31 – illustrated interview with Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick (Get witch quick by Neil Norman)
  • Evening Standard 21 October 1999 p.30 – review (If you go down to the woods today by Alexander Walker)
  • Evening Standard 25 October 1999 p.5 – illustrated article (If you go down to the woods, you’re in for a big let-down by Darren Lewis)
  • Evening Standard: Hot Tickets 26 August 1999 p.5 – note (Sneak preview)
  • Evening Standard: Hot Tickets 21 October 1999 p.8 – article (Daniel Myrick on… The Blair Witch Project by Daniel Myrick)
  • The Financial Times 14 October 1999 p.20 – review (Handheld horror blows gadgetry out of the tank by Nigel Andrews)
  • The Guardian 14 August 1999 p.14 – article (Chuck up film cleans up by Julian Borger)
  • The Guardian 20 October 1999 p.19 – illustrated article (Fear of the zeitgeist by Jonathan Freedland)
  • The Guardian 3 November 1999 p.9 – note (Halloween treat for cinemas)
  • The Guardian 21 March 2000 p.14 – illustrated article (Film freaks spook Blair Witch township by Julian Borger)
  • The Guardian: Section 2 23 July 1999 p.22 – review (by John Patterson)
  • The Guardian: Section 2 28 July 1999 pp.14-15 – illustrated article (The witching hour by Justine Elias)
  • The Guardian: Section 2 23 August 1999 pp.14-15 – illustrated review (Things that go cult in the night by Jonathan Romney)
  • The Guardian: Section 2 10 October 1999 pp.8-9 – illustrated article (Every witch way by Sarah Kendzior)
  • The Guardian: Section 2 22 October 1999 p.4 – illustrated review (If you go down to the woods… by Peter Bradshaw)
  • The Guardian: Section 2 6 February 2004 pp.10-11 – article (Has anyone seen these people? by Jesse McKinley)
  • The Guardian: The Guide 31 July-6 August 1999 pp.4-6 – illustrated article (Terror trip by Danny Leigh)
  • The Guardian: Weekend 23 October 1999 pp.11-12, 15-16 – illustrated article (Fear be my friend by Suzee Mackenzie)
  • The Independent 31 November 1999 p.11 – article (Horror boom leads to ‘Exorcist’ prequel by Paul McCann)
  • The Independent on Sunday 7 November 1999 p.3 – note
  • The Independent on Sunday: Culture 22 August 1999 p.1 – article (The new face of horror by Erin J. Aubry)
  • The Independent on Sunday: Culture 24 October 1999 p.5 – review (The terror! The terror! by Antonio Quirke)
  • The Independent: Review 29 July 1999 p.11 – illustrated article (If you go down to the woods by David Thomson)
  • The Independent: Review 6 August 1999 p.12 – note (by Mike Higgins)
  • The Independent: Review 22 October 1999 p.13 – illustrated interview with Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick (Hell is other people. We should know by Charlotte O’Sullivan)
  • The Independent: Review 22 October 1999 p.12 – review (Being scared has never felt so good by Anthony Quinn)
  • Metro 18 April 2000 p.19 – illustrated review (by Elaine Paterson)
  • Metro 16 October 2000 p.9 – illustrated article (Horror movies back with a bigger bump)
  • The Observer: Review 24 October 1999 p.7 – review (Who’s afraid of Blair Witch? by Philip French)
  • The Observer: Screen 1 August 1999 pp.6-7 – illustrated article (Season of the Witch by Akin Ojumo)
  • The Sun 13 October 1999 pp.22-23 – illustrated article (The Blair twitch project by Giovanna)
  • Sunday Telegraph Review 1 August 1999 p.9 – interview with Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick (Something nasty in the woods by James Langton)
  • Sunday Telegraph 24 October 1999 p.9 – review (by Anne Billson)
  • The Times 3 August 1999 p.28 – article (Budget US horror film sets record at box office by Adam Jones)
  • The Times 25 August 1999 p.17 – illustrated article (Hype just ain’t cool in real cult movies by Caitlin Moran)
  • The Times 8 October 1999 p.40 – illustrated article (Hollywood runs scared by Boyd Farrow)
  • The Times 21 October 1999 p.45 – review (by Adam Mars-Jones)
  • The Times: Interface 25 October 1999 p.10 – illustrated article (The Witch’s wizard ploy by Ben Hammersley)
  • The Times 30 October 1999 p.6 – illustrated article (Living with the Blair Witch by Damian Whitworth)