When you hear that a new found footage movie is being released, you automatically roll your eyes, because you already know that it’s going to be fake. With each one, they try harder and harder to make them as realistic as possible, while at the same time trying to make them as exciting as possible. But the problem is that in real life, no one holds a camera long enough during events like that. At least not enough to form a coherent story.
But there was a time when this was an entirely new concept. I’m speaking, of course, about The Blair Witch Project. While the film itself may not be all that exciting (it’s literally just three people lost in the woods for days and fighting with each other), what really makes this movie great, at least to me, is everything surrounding it. Love the film or hate it, you can’t deny it had the perfect marketing. It was sold as factual, and they went all the way with it. The actors weren’t to appear in anything else for at least a year, not even talk shows. They even made a documentary about the Blair Witch, just to make it seem more real.
I was one of those who fell for it. Up until I read a Cracked article years ago about how the film was made, I actually thought it was real. I’m sure if I’d have taken the time to actually look into it I’d have found out sooner, but that’s how great it was. There was actually heated debates over whether or not this was real.
For evidence on how over-saturated the industry is in found footage movies, look no further than the recent Blair Witch sequel, cleverly titled Blair Witch. No one has questioned whether or not it’s real. We know now it’s not.
This actually makes me wonder; if they actually found footage of something like this (or anything), would they even be allowed to release it as a film? I’m sure they’d need the family’s permission, but I’m sure i’d also be considered evidence, because the police would likely consider these murders and not supernatural happenings.
I’ve yet to see the sequel (either of them, but I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Book of Shadows other than to denounce it’s existence), but I can already tell that its not going to be as good as the original, simply because it doesn’t have the same feeling as the original going in.
This film does have a strong sense of terrifying claustrophobia about it. With all the arguing, especially with the camera so close to everyone, it’s a very uncomfortable movie to watch. I’ve been lost in the woods before (though granted it was only a few hours), and I can totally see how they would have gotten to the point of nearly tearing each other apart after a few days.
So for every Cloverfield and Chronicle trying to wow audiences with realistic effects, all they really had to do is set the actors loss in the woods and let them improvise for a few days.