The purpose and intent of Daniel Myrick (Director) and Eduardo Sanchez’s (Co-Director) “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) was to have every viewer believe in and accept the afterlife or paranormal realm in which we may live. Because of this movie, spiritual, and paranormal interest spread throughout the nation like wildfire. Daniel Myrick was born November 30th, 1962 in Sarasota, Florida. He graduated from the University of Central Florida School of Film in 1992.
Myrick supported himself by working as a cinematographer on music videos and commercials. He later in 1997 caught the eye of film guru John Pierson, which lead to him directing many movies, including Split Screen (1997), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Curse of the Blair Witch (1999) (TV), The Strand (2006), Believers (2007), Solstice (2007), and The Objective (2008). Eduardo Miguel Sanchez, (Co-Director of The Blair Witch Project) was born on December 20th, 1968 in Cuba. He is most famous for co-directing and writing The Blair Witch Project along with Daniel Myrick.
Some other films he directed includes Curse of the Blair Witch (1999) (TV), Altered (2006), Seventh Moon (2008), and Blair Witch 3 (2010). Heather Donahue (Heather), the lead role in The Blair Witch Project, was born December 22, 1974 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She is best known for her role in The Blair Witch. After the release of the film, Donahue starred in “Taken” by Stephen Spielberg in 2009. Joshua Granville Leonard (Josh) was born on June 17th, 1975 in Huston, Texas. Leonard is also best known for his role in The Blair Witch.
After the release of The Blair Witch he started appearing on magazine covers and getting many other roles for movies. He appeared in “Sacrifice” on HBO, and in “Deuces Wild” by Scott Kalvert in 2001. Michael C. Williams (as Michael), the last lead role in The Blair Witch Project was born on July 25th, 1973 in The Bronx, New York. He graduated from SUNY New Paltz and is a national member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity at New Paltz. He is most famous for his role in The Blair Witch Project. For any film to be a success, the movie has to have a perfect theme.
The major theme for the Blair Witch is the theme of being trapped, not only being trapped in the haunted woods of Burkittsville, Maryland, but also being trapped mentally inside one’s own mind; from the fear of the unknown to the fear of the dark itself. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez wanted to create a truly horrific film without special effects or blood and gore like most other “horror” films are today. They wanted to have a new film that terrified us like when we were children because “When we were kids, that was the last time we were truly horrified. –Edwardo Sanchez The Blair Witch Project is set in the 1970s in Burkittsville, Maryland (formally known as Blair) where three student filmmakers, Joshua Leonard, Michael Williams, and Heather Donahue (Played as themselves) hiked to the forest of Burkittsville to document a local legend, The Blair Witch. During their documented expedition the filmmakers find themselves trapped in the seemingly endless forest, cold, without food, water, or sense of direction.
After hours of aimlessly walking the woods they discover branch insignias hanging from the trees and rock formations on the ground for reasons unknown. During their redundant nights of unwanted camping in the woods they start tohear strange noises during the night and wake up to more rock formations and stick insignias surrounded their campground. After those several sleepless, frightening nights they find themselves lost for 7 days, unaware that they were walking in circles. After many hours of walking they stumble upon a lone house on a hill where they reach their final destination… eath. The plot of “the Blair Witch Project” was and is so believable and so realistic that many viewers thought that the actors in the movie were in fact dead after all. As far as moral value in the movie, there were actually two shown throughout. One moral was to have a certain level of respect for the dead and the spirits, a moral which the characters did not follow. When the characters disturbed the rock formations and cut the branch insignia from the tree as a souvenir, they were cutting a symbolic branch; the symbol being a “warning”.
Heather symbolically defaced the entrance that the spirit of the forest used to enter and exit between the earth and spiritual realm. By this they trapped the witch on earth with nothing to do but roam the forest of Blair. Another moral of the film is the saying, “Don’t go looking for trouble, for in due time you are sure to find it. ” Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez wanted the film to feel real. The Blair Witch Project was perhaps the most realistic and flexible film of its time. The props, lighting and sound were all natural with no special effects added.
The characters wore nothing out of the ordinary, no acting was pre-planned and every scene was ad-libbed without a script besides some minute instruction given by the directors. Every scene was shot on location in Montgomery County, Maryland in the woods; no set was ever needed. They shot everything in this way. Reason being , they wanted to have a realistic effect and new style never seen in film before. No prop was out of the ordinary. the camera, backpacks, tents, cigarettes, to clothing the actors wore, even the lightning in the sky, and roaring thunder was all natural.
All of the sound was diegetic, which means the sounds of nature, noises made by the characters, and music heard by us was also heard by the characters in the film. The Blair Witch Project has very basic types of shots, angles, lightings and effects because they were limited to only two 16 millimeter High-8 video recorders, one in black and white the other one in color. The cameras chosen for the film were carefully picked out. They also wanted the film to have a raw orangey feeling, as if it was made in the 1970s, not crisp or well lit at all for the realistic appeal.
Also, the interviews with the townspeople of Blair were not actors… Even though some claimed to have already heard of the Blair witch. They had the movie shot with film instead of digital recordings because many of the scenes they envisioned had to have the effect only the film camera could achieve. For example, a scene where they wanted to have the camera run out of film during an intense terrifying moment and all you hear is chaos and the characters screaming and running away from something through the dark woods. They used only hand held cameras, which ave the film a jerky, chilling feeling and added to the sense of real documentation. One of the most memorable shots in the film I think of when The Blair Witch Project is mentioned is the scene when Heather Donahue is alone, frightened and apologizing to Josh’s and Michael’s family. Filming herself in a low-key shot brought out the feelings shown in her teary-eyed face and her expression of misery and fear. The film only used basic editing techniques such as cuts and still frames. These minute cuts made it so film from each of the two cameras could be cut and pasted and used together.
Edwardo Sanchez did not want these cuts or still frames to be very noticeable because “Cuts in the film lead the audience off the hook. ” -Edwardo Sanchez. The film used transitions from black and white to full color shots to simply manipulate the character’s emotions. During filming the actors were given clues to their next waypoint; they were supposed to head to for the next section of the film. They were given individual instructions that they were asked to follow, as in what mood they were in, what they should say or how they should act towards the other character and so on.
These messages were given to them at the waypoints in canisters or empty milk cartons. In the entire filming process over 19 hours of usable footage was recorded from the expedition, but only 90 minutes of footage could be used. Post production was time consuming and took more than eight months to complete. The least the film makers were hoping for was to have the movie appear on cable television, they did not expect a large release of the film. The Blair Witch Project was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999 on July 30th.
The release was so huge and had a large range of interested people because the campaign used on the internet was to infer that the film was a real event. The film’s budget was about $500,000 – 750,000 and overall grossed $248,639,099. Since the Blair Witch Project’s release many other literatures have come out affiliated to the film. The Blair Witch Files, which is a series of eight fiction books in attempt to discover what actually happened to Heather, Mike and Josh. In August 1999, Oni Press released a comic prompting the film, titled The Blair Witch Project.
The stories elaborated on the mythology of the Blair Witch. Also in 2009 director Stacy Hopkins was scheduled to start a Scottish remake of The Blair Witch Project. In 2000 they started working on a series of books called, The Blair Witch Chronicles. And again in 2000 was a trilogy of computer games that came out based upon the film. The game came from Nocturne. Each game focused on different parts of the Blair Witch Mythology, Rustin Parr, Coffin Rock and Elly Kedward (the ghost of Blair).
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