The Blair Witch Project - review

Now that the hype is over, I can sit down and watch this movie for the first time, out of its marketing context. Is the movie good? Yes it is. We, the audience, are now conditioned to distinguish reality from fiction on TV by checking the granularity of the film, the flow of the camera, and the predictability of the dialogue. So, our brain's continuing reaction to Blair Witch is: this is real. This can easily be dismissed as a cheap and easy trick, caused by the 16mm/crappy video look of the film. But we shouldn't forget that the three people in this film do a tremendous job convincing us of the story's veracity, improvisation or no improvisation. What's more, the film doesn't attempt to explain anything, and it creates its own mythology, which the marketing campaign exploited as much as possible by suggesting that the events in the movie really were real. I could be cynical about the whole marketing brouhaha surrounding this movie, and I was before I saw it. But now I realize that this marketing campaign not only enriched the experience behind the film, it also gave worldwide popularity to a movie that would otherwise have ended up as some young filmmaker's freaky cult experiment.
After all this adulation, you might think I have nothing against this movie. Far from it. There are times when you suddenly realize you're just watching some trees, or worse yet, simply a black screen. The fact that the film doesn't grab you enough to suck you into it does not count against it. The ending may be very smart and uncomprimising; then again, it may be an easy way out for the script writer. See this film anyway.