The Blair Witch Project: My First Horror Movie

The movie poster for the movie The Blair Witch Project.

Photo from:

The movie poster for the movie The Blair Witch Project. "I just want to apologize to Josh's mom, and Mike's mom, and my mom. I am so sorry! Because it was my fault. I was the one who brought them here," said Heather Donahue.

Maddy H. '21, Reporter

The Blair Witch Project is a thrilling horror film perfect for any horror movie fans. As kids grow up, Halloween becomes a time for scary movies rather than candy and trick-or-treating. I have avoided horror movies in the past, but at age 16, I decided to watch my first one, The Blair Witch Project, directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez.  

On July 16, 1999, the R-rated movie was released and took the world by storm with the myth of the Blair Witch. The movie was made on a $60,000 budget and earned nearly $250 million. When it was released, many people believed that the film was based on actual events. The advertising of the movie aided these assumptions because they posted fake missing posters, police reports, interviews, and professors explaining what happened on a website for anyone to see.

The first half of the movie was not that scaryI even fell asleep in the beginning. I had to split the film so that I could watch it all: at school I watched about 11 minutes, and then at home I watched the rest. Before I fell asleep I was about 48 minutes in the movie. After I woke up, I was home alone and it was dark, which made me more scared in the end. During the witch attacks at night, it got intense and much scarier. At first, the characters woke up to harmless piles of rocks around their tents. Then the witch attacked Mike, Josh, and Heather’s tent, and they had to run away, and that made me even more anxious. When Heather saw the blood, nails, teeth, and so forth in Josh’s shirt that scared me a lot.  Seeing all the blood scared me but also Mike and Heather heard Josh’s voice the night before, meaning that the witch can take people’s voices even after they are dead. Throughout the whole film, the guys, Mike and Josh, had an ulterior motive, always fighting with Heather when she knew what to do and was the most prepared. She understood the map, and Mike and Josh kept fighting her about the way getting to the car. For example, Mike said, “Should we all like cut our fingers open and bleed on it, a little bloodletting on the slate?” The other thing that stuck out was that people found the footage because Heather and Mike saw the house only when the witch wanted them to, so how did other people find the house and get out alive?  Thinking about the end gives me goosebumps, a headache, and creeps me out.

The fisherman Ed Swanson standing on Coffin Rock while Ranger Ledbetter tell the tour more about The Blair Witch Project

   To better give an analysis of The Blair Witch Project, I decided to go to the woods in Seneca State Park where most of the woods scenes were filmed. The Blair Witch Project was shot in multiple areas, most of it being filmed at Seneca State Park in Maryland. Other areas where it was filmed included Burkittsville, Wheaton, and Patapsco Valley State Park, Maryland. According to many articles, the locals weren’t pleased with all the attention their town got so out of respect I went to Seneca State Park. After a long two hour drive, I arrived, and there were a lot more people than I was expecting. I knew there was a tour, but I didn’t think that many people would come since the movie is 19 years old. As I was on the tour with the tour guide, Ranger Eric Ledbetter, who started the tour about six years ago, I learned many facts about the movie. Before we started the hike, Ranger Ledbetter gave us the basic information of the movie and the hype of the movie right when it came out. We hiked to three places. The first place was where Heather, Josh, and Mike had their last interview the two fishermen. One of the fishermen, Ed Swanson, was there and we met him, and he talked to us about his experience filming the movie. Then we hiked through the woods to the red shed that was shown in the film, and the place where they parked their car. After that, we went to  Coffin Rock, the area where Heather told the story of the trappers. On the way back we traveled to the place where they last set up for camp on the final day of filming at the park. As we went through the trail, Ranger Ledbetter gave many interesting facts about the movie. For example, most of the people being interviewed were extras except the one lady holding the kid, who played along with the story. Ranger Ledbetter told us about how he talked to the lady. She’s a resident, and the little kid is now 22. Seeing how close the cast was to houses and the roads and hearing the conditions the cast went through made me appreciate the movie more.

The movie was scary overall and did its job of scaring me but I don’t want to watch any more. I don’t believe I will continue watching scary movies, maybe one every year, but I will not watch them regularly. The conditions the actors and actress were put in made their reactions genuine. The actors and actress were faced with poor conditions when filming, such as being left in the woods by themselves with smaller food portions each day. Another interesting fact was that the actors had a GPS that told them where to go, but they didn’t know what was going to happen that night. Every morning they received batteries for the cameras, a portion of food, and a container filled with a piece of paper for each actors or actress. These papers told them their inspiration for that day and who would get in a fight with that day. The directors left the actors in the woods alone, and each day their food portions got smaller and smaller. On the last day, they had one burrito for Mike and Heather to share for the whole day.