This July 30th year marks the 13th Anniversary of The Blair Witch Project. "The Blair Witch Project" co-director Eduardo Sanchez has once again brought us a movie and sets the stage by creating a mockumentary about the movie to set the mood for his horror film.
Back in 1999, the week prior to its release to a limited number of small theaters across the country, Sci-Fi channel (now SyFy) played a fake documentary or mockumentary about three college students and their grisly demise titled "Curse of the Blair Witch". "The Blair Witch Project" spawned another mockumentary, "The Burkittsville 7" which aired after the premiere showing of "The Blair Witch Project" in October 2000 on the cable TV channel Showtime. "The Burkittsville 7" expanded upon the myths of the Blair Witch and is a companion piece to "The Blair Witch Project."
Say what you will about the slow pace of "The Blair Witch Project," that movie still managed to get under my skin when I first saw it. And that's because the set up to the big scare at the end was ingenious. Back then, there was no such thing as viral marketing or viral Internet videos for that matter. "The Blair Witch Project" was a small independent horror film that convinced the audience that it was real by airing a documentary highlighting the mystery around the events that take place in the movie right around the time that the movie began to show in selected theaters. They even made a website, The Legacy , to promote the "true story" of the events that took place in "The Blair Witch Project"; which was a cutting edge idea at the time.
The appearance of the website and a documentary touting the movie to be a true story kept people guessing and vacillating between believing that it is real and wondering if it's all made up. It's this indecision in the audience that enabled the movie to be so scary, and it's what made "The Blair Witch Project" such a huge success.
In fact, "The Blair Witch Project" had such a profound influence on movie making that it coined the phrase "found footage film." Just look at the poster for the movie, it clearly says it in the last sentence, "A year later their footage was found." That phrase is a part of the text that shows at the beginning of the film. Prior to "The Blair Witch Project," these types of movies, starting with "Cannibal Holocaust", were called mockumentaries by film critics. Now, they are called found footage films. There. Now you know some movie history. Pretty neat huh?
Unfortunately, the wild success of the independent film caused Sanchez's next film "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" to be considered a huge let-down for the fans and an office box failure. Which surprised me, as it happens to be one of my favorite movies. At any rate, the second Blair Witch movie didn't make as much money as the first, and the third planned installment of the franchise was cancelled. Since then Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick left the Blair Witch behind them.
13 years later, Sanchez is back, this time with the new psychological horror film "Lovely Molly." From what I've seen of the trailers so far, the movie seems to be a mix of traditional cinematography and hand-held found footage film style-- which harkens back to Sanchez's Blair Witch days.
Even better, they just released a two part mockumentary called "Lovely Molly: Path to Madness" that talks about the main character Molly Reynold's dark past and how she descends into utter madness. This two part series reminds me of how "The Blair Witch Project" was promoted in the first place, and it really has my curiosity piqued.
If this two part mockumentary is any indication to how much of a terrifying head trip "Lovely Molly" is going to be, I'm getting in line for tickets tomorrow. It's been quite a while since I've seen a really good, get under your skin, so scary you bite your nails off, psychological horror movie. The last one was "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," which for some reason, a lot of reviewers absolutely hated and I adored- mainly because it was rated R for its psychological horror aspects and not for its gory violence, nudity or bad language. I hope that "Lovely Molly" brings that special kind of horror back to the theaters, as it really is an art form to create a such suspenseful and terrifying movie.