Analysis Of The Blair Witch Project

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Among New American Ghost Cinema, one can witness the re-emergence of an interesting sub-genre: the Found Footage Cinema. We can observe this new fascination in many modern horror films such as 2008’s Cloverfield, 2009's Paranormal Activity, and 2011's Apollo 18. Digging below the surface of a literal reading of some of these movies, one finds a genre that can be far more intelligent than what meets the public eye. For example, within Cloverfield, the screams and images of smoke heaving through the city of Manhattan hint at post-September 11th. To understand the growing popularity of Found Footage Cinema and why we discover these political undertones, this paper will examine The Blair Witch Project (1999, Myrick and Sanchez) in the context of theorists Robin Wood and Jürgen Habermas’ discussion on humankind’s senses of truth and what our society represses or oppresses. Both Habermas’ essay “The Public Sphere” and Wood’s “Introduction to the American Horror Film” touch on the inner workings of the public’s mind. With these essays and an analysis of these films, I will be able to propose theories working towards a mode of critical engagement with the success of The Blair Witch Project. It is then that we will connect it to the wider social and political jungle surrounding America as it stood on the edge of the Twenty First Century.
If a film’s success is measured by the cultural hysteria it produces, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s film The Blair Witch Project was the most successful cult film in recent history. At the surface, Blair Witch is about three young college filmmakers who decide to shoot a documentary about the “legendary” Blair Witch, a character said to be responsible for the deaths of many local children over th...

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...rnity makes us safe in the wilderness, that there’s no way we can get lost in good ole’ America. Believing we’re still on the map, right on track to a definite and discernible conclusion does not mean we are not heading straight for the witch’s house. As the American frontier continues to grow and the politicking amplifies, I fear that I, and possibly America, will be led to a place where we cannot find our way, that we will eventually find America stuck with little to no options. All because a small group of politicians are blazing ahead into a forest they don’t know anything about, still babbling about how they’re doing this for the right and noble reasons. The Blair Witch Project is terrifying, more-so now, because it somehow manages to mimic what we see in everyday life. Being dragged into the woods is scarier now. We have seen the movie, and know how it ends.
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