The Blair Witch Project (1999)



Critic Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain -- thus proving that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.

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Movie Info

Combining Hi-8 video with black-and-white 16 mm film, this film presents a raw look at what can happen when college students forego common sense and enter the world of voodoo and witchcraft. Presented as a straightforward documentary, the film opens with a title card explaining that in 1994, three students went into the Maryland back woods to do a film project on the Blair Witch incidents. These kids were never seen again, and the film you are about to see is from their recovered equipment, found in the woods a year later. The entire movie documents their adventures leading up to their final minutes. The Blair Witch incident, as we initially learn from the local town elders, is an old legend about a group of witches who tortured and killed several children many years ago. Everyone in town knows the story and they're all sketchy on the details. Out in the woods and away from their parked car (and civilization), what starts as a school exercise turns into a nightmare when the three kids lose their map. Forced to spend extra days finding their way out, the kids then start to hear horrific sounds outside their tents in the pitch-black middle of night. They also find strange artifacts from (what can only be) the Blair Witch, still living in the woods. Frightened, they desperately try to find their way out of the woods, with no luck. Slowly these students start to unravel, knowing they have no way of getting out, no food, and it's getting cold. Each night they are confronted with shrieking and sounds so haunting that they are convinced someone is following them, and they quickly begin to fear for their lives. The film premiered in the midnight movie section at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Chris Gore, Rovi
R (for language)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Heather Donahue
as Heather Donahue
Michael C. Williams
as Michael Williams
Joshua Leonard
as Joshua Leonard
Bob Griffith
as Interviewee
Jim King
as Interviewee
Sandra Sánchez
as Interviewee
Ed Swanson
as Interviewee
Patricia Decou
as Interviewee
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Blair Witch Project

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (41)

The scariest shots, from someone's little Hi-8 camcorder, document the students losing their bearings, giving way to panic and finally falling victim, though off screen, to some ineffably, unphotographably evil presence.

Full Review… | December 12, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Whenever night falls, the movie takes off, but in a slow creep, with all your childhood fears of the dark suddenly revealing themselves as absolutely reasonable.

Full Review… | September 29, 2014
Top Critic

The very crudeness of the film stock and technique contribute mightily to the feeling that things are out of control, disoriented and possibly subject to unnatural laws.

Full Review… | September 29, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Blair Witch is the most dangerous film in captivity. It's a no-excuses horror show with an emotional wallop like falling headlong into a bear trap.

Full Review… | September 29, 2014
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

You can dismiss The Blair Witch Project as a trick. Or you can give in to the treat and savor that rarest of accomplishments in a field notorious for tedium and repetition -- an original horror movie.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

The thought that Blair Witch Project just might be real makes it much scarier than any of the teen horror flicks that have stumbled along in recent years.

October 5, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Blair Witch Project


Starts out creepy enough but quickly descends into a boringly trite and suspense-free rip-off of "Cannibal Holocaust". It also does not help that the three students are ultra-whiney and complete idiots (I have trouble sympathizing with characters that get lost in a forest despite possessing a compass and a map). Similar to "Paranormal Activity" where most of the scare tactics comprise of repetitive teasing that has little to underwhelming pay-offs. It also contains one of the lamest endings to a film ever. In the end, this horror schlock is more famous for it's gimmicky "true-story" marketing and found-footage style (which was cutting-edge for the time before it was over-used thanks to the popularity of this film and "Paranormal Activity") than as a quality piece of cinema.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

Awful trash. Not scarey...just pathetic.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

An atmospheric, genuinely creepy horror movie that gets unfairly bashed just because people can't appreciate the art of building suspense through the use of setting. Basically, you either come to hate the characters for what idiots and whiners they are (and they are, but you still want them to get out safely), or you are fascinated by the dread and horror that slowly creep in when the group gets lost and realizes that they are not alone. The hand-held camera shooting style is the main reason why it's so terrifying. The ending is truly haunting as well. This movie was the first of its kind when it came out, and the influence it had on the horror genre is irrefutable.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

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