The Blair Witch Project – A film review by Daniel Prinn – Not as scary as I thought it’d be..

The Blair Witch Project

Release Date: July 30, 1999

Director(s): Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

Stars: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard

Runtime: 81 min

Tagline: Scary as hell.

 

 A low-budget horror flick penned by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, which isn’t as scary as it seemed to present itself as.

Three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams) go on an adventure into the woods to make a documentary of the local urban legend, The Blair Witch. Once there, and once lost, they experience odd ritualistic set-ups and feel as if something is watching their every move. One year later, their footage is recovered and their story has reached the surface.

The whole thing seems like it would be set up to be a true story, and I wasn’t really sure while watching if it was or not, so when information verified for me that it wasn’t, sort of just tainted my general view of the film. The film is quite original, though, considering that the urban mythology was made up. It isn’t “scary as hell,” but some scenes can be intense and suspenseful.

The characters are really annoying, holy crap. Heather’s the most irritating, she’s always talking and nagging and whining, which made me think, “You’re one of the most annoying characters in the history of cinema and I really hope you get killed off first, but I know that won’t happen because you’re the main protagonist.” The idea of going out into the woods to film the documentary was hers, and she’s calling all of the shots. Joshua is Heather’s friend, and then Mike is just a guy in their class and he wanted to help make the documentary. When they get lost and all of the odd stuff starts occurring, they really just turn on each other and start nagging which makes the film have way too much conflict and often just really irritating.

The film isn’t really all that terrifying but can be pretty eerie. There aren’t any pop-out scares or anything, but the filmmakers know how to give instill intensity in its viewers. It also does a great job of striking fear into us by using three common fears: the unknown, things that go bump in the night (so eerie noises) and the dark.

It is quite spooky when the sun goes down; because you know at night something is going to happen. Each night, whatever is stalking these film students , increases in danger and severity.

The Blair Witch Project is a very profitable endeavor, having a small budget of $22,000 (if my research is correct) and making about $240.5 million. It is one of the finest films shot in the found footage format, but is quite overrated by critics alike. This isn’t my favourite flick in the ‘found footage’ subgenre, but it isn’t my least favourite, either.

It isn’t a huge waste of time because of its 81-minute running time, but didn’t offer me many redeeming qualities for me to totally love it. I didn’t despise it but I didn’t like it on a high level, and it’s highly disappointing. The characters aren’t very good, but the actors do pretty well considering the majority of their lines were improvised, and shoot most of the film themselves.

The camerawork is fairly poor, with all of their running around and whole shaky cam crap. The film knows how to be suspenseful, but it also can be extremely boring and irritating. The characters are extremely poor, but the actors do a fairly good job for as little as the crew told them to do.

T.B.W.P. offers a home-made mockumentary experience, that can be suspenseful, eerie and boring; offers poor camerawork and annoying characters, but fairly good [genuine] acting; has memorable sequences and builds up quite well to an unrewarding ending (but it very, very expected) and is pretty well-structured, but isn’t an experience I’ll want to try to endure again.

55/100

[I couldn’t find it in myself to give it a 60, but it isn’t a 50 bad]

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Project X (2012)

 

Project X

Release Date: March 2, 2012

Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Stars: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown

Runtime: 88 min

Tagline: The Party You’ve Only Dreamed About

 

An extremely poor and stupid film that is used as commercialism for teen partying.

I’m one for the subgenre of “found footage” films, but when that format is used for a teen comedy, it gets a little silly. I like it for horror films and it even worked well for the disturbing super power film, Chronicle, but this just looks like a poorly made home movie. It’s starting to be an excuse for amateur directors to make a film that ultimately looks sloppy and home made and Project X is Exhibit A.

So, the idiotic plot goes like this: a trio of high school boys (Thomas, Costa and J.B.) throw a party of a lifetime in an attempt to get themselves known. When word of the party spreads, more and more people show up and things begin to gradually get crazier.

For what it’s supposed to be, a mindless party film with no attempt at character development and it just tries hard to convince the viewer that they’re having a good time, it’s good;  but other than that, it’s just pretty horrible. The plot is stupid, there’s hardly any character development, the acting isn’t very good, I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

I don’t really like to party (that being said, maybe I couldn’t appreciate it as much as someone would if they actually did party), so I found it a little tiring to watch. It’s worth one laugh-out-loud moment, a few chuckles here and there, and many topless girls dancing around, but that’s really all that it’s worth. It isn’t exactly worth the eighty seven minutes and nineteen dollars I spent with the thing. To some, it’s satisfying enough but to me it left me a little unsatisfied.

The characters of Superbad are sort of revisited here (even though the body weights are inaccurate): Thomas best represents Evan and Costa best represents Seth. The difference between these characters? Those of Superbad are well-developed, pretty likeable, and actually really funny; while these are annoying on a whole new level and can be painfully unfunny.

This film makes me think of a similar concept as watching sports on television, would you rather watch others having a wicked time partying like carefree teenagers at one great party, or actually have the good time yourself?

It’s a simple little film for teenagers and young adults that a lot of people will enjoy (judging by its box office earnings), or be disappointed by, like me. It’s too hyped up, and it couldn’t give me the good time that it seemed to promise. So just expect a simple film going into this, or just expect nothing and you might like it but you might not. If you’re looking for Oscar gold or solid performances or solid character development or a game changing plot, avoid it. A film that just didn’t quite yank on my funny bone enough, but it might yank on yours – so give it a shot if you’re really interested and you think this might be funny, but I didn’t think it was at all. Unfortunately, the worst comedy I’ve seen in 2012 so far.

Will this film stick out in my memory as a stupid party film that portrays just how ridiculous, insane and reckless my generation can be? Heck yeah!

The more important question: will it stick out in my memory as a great, groundbreaking comedy that should be treasured? Not in this lifetime, Sugar Tits.

30/100