Video Exclusive: The Blair Witch Project Behind the Scenes

10 Years of 1999: We reveal the method behind the film's improvisational approach.

10 Years Since 1999

1999 was one of the most important years for modern cinema. From defining originals like The Matrix and Fight Club to sleeper favourites like Office Space and Election, 1999 was a landmark year for the internet generation of movie fans and set a high standard for the big screen as we headed into the new millennium. Ten years on, we're celebrating a remarkable twelve months of movies with new features around some of the year's best and most important releases.

Shot on a budget of just $22,000 by film school graduates Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick, The Blair Witch Project premiered at the Sundance Film Festival ten years ago this month and started a journey that dominated public consciousness for most of the year. It was an unprecedented success, holding the world record as the most profitable movie of all time after making more than $10,000 for every $1 spent, and became one of the most important horror films of all time. It spawned a wave of imitators both amateur and professional and is the cultural yardstick against which hoaxes, horrors and movies shot with a camcorder are measured.

But for all its apparent authenticity - and the rumours that spread over the summer of '99 that Heather Donahue, Josh Leonard and Mike Williams had really gone missing in those woods - its directors spoke openly of their production techniques to the press and the trio of actors spent the year giving interviews and appearing in photo shoots. Now, ten years on, RT presents exclusive behind-the-scenes footage sharing the genesis of the film from auditions through to production and revealing the method and planning behind the film's improvisational approach.

Alone in the Woods - The Making of The Blair Witch Project - Click to Watch!
Click to watch our Alone in the Woods - The Making of The Blair Witch Project!

And that's not all for our celebration of all things Blair Witch. Click here to read our brand new interview with directors Eduardo Sánchez and Daniel Myrick, as they reveal the experience of making the film and what they felt about its impact upon its release. And could we be seeing more from team Blair Witch? The pair reveal their desire to create a special extended edition of the movie and share plans for prequels and sequels that might revive the Blair franchise.

The Blair Witch Project is available on DVD. To read the script with which they shot the film and delve into a massively-comprehensive archive of production content, check out woodsmovie.com.

Comments

Goldsounds

Matt hardaway

This was such an over-hyped terrible movie. Kudos to the creators, but man, what a horrible film.

Jan 28 - 07:04 AM

Hari Seldon

R Whitten

Ditto Goldsounds.

Jan 28 - 07:49 AM

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

Ditto Cap Nord.

Jan 28 - 10:32 AM

thombutler

Tom Butler

What?!

This film was truly groundbreaking, both in its approach to viral marketing, and to its subtle yet terrifying scares.

I saw this in the cinema and it blew my mind. It was genuinely terrifying, and it's conclusion must rank as one of the best endings to a film ever. This still stands (for me) as one of the scariest films i've ever seen. Granted it didn't hold up to much repeat viewing, and you never quite relived the pure terror experienced on the big screen at home, but still this is a vital film, that paved the way for a return to genuinely creepy horror films, rather than the slasher/gore horror peddled at the time.

Good video too, what a coup!

Jan 28 - 10:52 AM

itsaysicanuse25characters

Daniel Hougey

That video reminded me of Tropic Thunder--leaving the actors alone to enhance the realism.

Jan 28 - 11:06 AM

Neeeeek

Nicholas Fersch

thombutler,

You must scare easy. I don't recall any part of the film that even remotely startled me or creeped me out in any way. In fact, several parts actually just made me laugh audibly in the theater.

Usually when movies are this bad I just leave to save myself the time. But I wanted to give this one a chance, and I kept saying to myself "okay, the scary part must be coming soon," but then the lights in the theater started going up and I just felt empty inside.

Jan 28 - 11:34 AM

thombutler

Tom Butler

I was just glad to see a film that didn't rely on cheap jump tricks, lumbering psychos or buckets of blood for its scares.

The scene in the tent when the hands are brushing on it from outside, and you can hear children is genuinely chilling, i don't care what anyone said. Plus, if you felt empty inside after this, then you probably are!

For the scariest film i've seen since, it has to be be [rec]. I'm sure there are haters out there for this too, but I like proper scares that don't make me laugh, and this has a few.

Jan 29 - 01:05 AM

TrajanCavalous

d pi

Some people need to lighten up. It's a fun, scary movie. I remember seeing it for the first time in the theater and just about every slasher fan I knew didn't like it. And the queasy cam was hard on some folks but the majority of the packed house was freaking out by the end. Just going nuts screaming.
Kudos to the film makers and ty to RT for posting an interesting video.

Jan 28 - 01:51 PM

Analogkid09

Matthew Jordan

I was living in the MD/DC area when this file came out. They fooled a everyone into beleiving it was real!!! I still have on of the missing posters they hung in Admas Morgan. No it was not the best film of the year, but it was a fresh...one of a kind filem that a lot of foks enjoyed.

Jan 28 - 01:57 PM

Goldsounds

Matt hardaway

you know, I will have to admit that blair witch was just a little better than cloverfield.

Jan 28 - 02:30 PM

GoldbergsVariations

Z Gold

Great movie.

Jan 28 - 02:36 PM

WallEField

Matt Welch

Wonderful film. All fans ignore the haters who just whine 'cause they hated having to think and actually be scared at the end rather than just having an crappy Hollywood ending. Incredible movie and I'm glad to see it still being paid tribute to as it should.

Jan 28 - 03:07 PM

thombutler

Tom Butler

I was just glad to see a film that didn't rely on cheap jump tricks, lumbering psychos or buckets of blood for its scares.

The scene in the tent when the hands are brushing on it from outside, and you can hear children is genuinely chilling, i don't care what anyone said. Plus, if you felt empty inside after this, then you probably are!

For the scariest film i've seen since, it has to be be [rec]. I'm sure there are haters out there for this too, but I like proper scares that don't make me laugh, and this has a few.

Jan 29 - 01:05 AM

schmy

Ian Seymour

Sheesh! Some people just expect every dang thing from every dang film. What is it that people don't get about the BWP? What gets in the way? Jealousy? Envy? Self-loathing over the realization that, "Oh my god, this looks so easy, why didn't I think to do that first!"

What few flaws this film may have had added to the experience. No, it wasn't a drollywood blockbuster with pristine special effects and, no, it didn't have an A-grade uber-celebrity-cast, yet it was still a better film than most produced that decade. To clarify: I am not in any way excusing the film because of issues like its budget or lack thereof, its simplified production or absence of professional crew, etc. That is, I am not saying, "It's a great low-budget film," or, "It's a great film considering...". It's just a genuinely ground-breaking, entertaining film.

Most criticisms of the film seem to stem from a sterilized, myopic expectation of the homogenized drudgery that forms the bulk of movies these days. I admire this film for its for brash, adventurous and ingenious approach to an often otherwise stale genre.

No, it's not the 'best film ever' but it's still a great film.

Also, it's better than your film, Cynical Critic.

Okay, now I'm just being facetious. I'll go now. But feel free to provide a polite, honest retort. Everything below the equivalent of "you are" will be ignored.

Jan 30 - 05:51 AM

Asafe S.

Asafe Silva

It sucks to watch "fans" posting comments like "I was just glad to see a film that didn't rely on cheap jump tricks, lumbering psychos or buckets of blood for its scares". Yeah, they're completely right in this point, I also hate movies with these; i enjoyed 1408, that takes more on the psychological side of the viewer; so I was interested in watching the BWP, and I'm ashamed of myself I did so... It didn't have cheap jumps, a cliche psycho nor a bloodbath but... It's just three persons walking in the woods! Sorry if you loved this boring and not-scary flick, but that's just 1 hour and a half of teenagers walking in circles and screaming to the air! Nothing but this!

Jan 30 - 07:27 AM

pumpkincat

Kelli Byers

I didn't hate the film, it was mildly entertaining, but it was about as "scary" as the average Ernest-movie.

Which is to say the scariest part of the film was the terrifying lack of intelligence and reason demonstrated by the protaganists.

Let's see - they can operate professional audio-visual equipment, and yet are too ignorant to follow the simple direction of water in a creek.

Oh, noes, Beavis the camera-op and Butt-Head with the boom-mic are going around in circles, let's tear up the map!

Video stores would be well served to remove this title from their "Horror" section and move it to "Camp" or "Comedy."

Jan 30 - 08:33 AM

Tmurph824

Tim Nurphy

I liked this movie a lot. It possessed a subtle creepiness. Its rare that movies are actually scary, but this one came close.

Jan 30 - 02:09 PM

Jimi M.

Jimi Madge

Blair Witch is one of my all time favourite horror films. A truly brilliant piece of cinema.

People are, of course, entitled to dislike it as much as they wish, but I do get the impression that those who do slate the movie are people who lovelovelove every-question-answered Hollywood endings and aren't intellectually capable of tackling a psychological scare flick like Blair Witch.

Jan 30 - 03:19 PM

Captain W.

Captain Wow

I cannot agree with you more, Jimi. Blair Witch was a tremendous leap for the touchy horror genre and for filmmaking in general. It took an incomprehensible amount of talent and ingenuity to make this movie, and the result is the first and only movie to actually SCARE me. In the horror category of cinema, there seems to be only two types of flims: Hollywood popcorn flick (Child's Play, Nightmare on 13th, Halloween) or genuinely scary movie. I can't take people seriously who fail to see the sheer genius of this movie because they all seem to favor thoughtless, tastelss bloodbaths and hack-n-slashers rather than a movie that actually leaves a door or two open at the end. Movies like Cloverfield and the recent Quarantine have mimicked this pattern of filmmaking, and the demographic reached by these films seems to be divided pefectly between those who were sorely disappointed with the lack of a "happy ending," and those who appreciate the realism of being left in the dark on certain questions. Those who don't understand films like this give me hives.

Jan 31 - 05:50 PM

7thhell

jason johnson

I love this movie.

I didn't want to go camping for a while after seeing it.

Jan 30 - 09:34 PM

kristen b.

kristen bartel

I didnt go and see in the theater but instead in my house with a few other ppl late at night with the lights off...lol..It seriously did scare us but still made me personally want to see it again. I can honestly say that I own both the first and second blair witch just simply for the fact that its entertaining. I think the idea behind the movie was a great idea and I hope in the furture more will be made like this. It really made you feel like you were there in a sence...ya know.

Jan 31 - 05:23 AM

Jimi M.

Jimi Madge

I thought the sequel was criminally underrated.

Jan 31 - 02:14 PM

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