The Blair Witch Project

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"I just want to apologize to Mike's mom, and Josh's mom, and my mom. I am sorry, everyone. I was very naive. I am so, so sorry. For everything that has happened. Because in spite of what Mike says now, it is my fault. Because it was my project... Everything had to be my way. And this is where we've ended up. And it's all because of me that we're here now. Hungry, cold, and hunted..."

The Blair Witch Project is a horror movie, shot entirely in the style of a documentary Gone Horribly Wrong. Three college students are researching "The Blair Witch", and go on an expedition into the local forest where the legend is supposed to have started. Things ultimately take a turn for the worse.

Now what it's really notable for is having one of the best Viral Marketing campaigns ever, and certainly one of the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of internet advertising: fake online documents, footage, published dossiers, interviews, and even a couple of professional-looking television documentaries blurred the line between truth and fiction like few other campaigns had done before or since. Many were convinced that the movie was based on a true story, or even consisted of actual footage. Even more were subtly convinced that the "Blair Witch" was a real legend, as opposed to something the film-makers made up themselves.

Had a poorly received sequel which upped the Mind Screw and pretty much killed the franchise off. The directors were still thinking of coming back for a third, albeit that one didn't materialize (to the surprise of everybody) until 2016.

Tropes used in The Blair Witch Project include:
  • All There in the Manual: The tie-in materials flesh out the Blair witch legend and the back story, which makes the movie ten times creepier once you realize what a lot of things mean. For example, those three odd piles of stones they find around their tent one morning early on in their trip? Rustin Parr kidnapped kids to his house in the woods, murdered them, and buried them in the basement before making their graves with piles of stones. They were doomed from the start.
  • Apocalyptic Log
  • Bloody Handprint: They could be ink or paint, but it's hard to tell.
  • Captain Obvious: "Mike? There's something out here."
  • Chewing the Scenery: Heather Donahue's apology scene. She acted so hard that you could practically see the bite marks in the camera. She sobs, screams, and shakes so realistically that her acting convinced some people it was a true life account. Her scuffles with the other two were also unscripted, as was the entire infamous apology scene.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Due mainly to the improvised script. It's not Casino levels of bad, but you can tell it's the favorite word of the movie.
    • This was parodied by humor columnist Dave Barry, who wrote a "sample" of the dialogue, replacing the f-bomb with the word "darn"

First Character: Darn you! You darned got us darned lost in these darned woods! Darn!
Second Character: Go darn yourself!
Squirrel: Will you darners shut the darn UP?

  • Covered in Gunge: Their equipment gets mysteriously slimed near the end of the movie.
  • Creepy Children: The crew hear some little kids giggling out in the woods late at night.
  • Dizzy Cam: Arguably the Trope Codifier.
  • Don't Go in The Woods
  • Expanded Universe: Tie-in short films, books, comics, even computer games...
  • Foregone Conclusion: Everyone dies. This is, in fact, the premise of the movie.
  • Foreshadowing: "We'll all look back on this and laugh heartily."
  • Found Footage Films: Probably the Trope Codifier.
  • Ghost Story: The whole movie (especially the ending) is like a scary campfire story put to film.
  • Going in Circles: It's the SAME LOG!
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The witch.
  • Kill'Em All
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The original marketing for the movie claimed that it was found footage of a true story, presented to the public by the producers.
  • Mind Screw: Who was hunting them? Was it really a witch? What was that ending all about? We'll never know.
    • Unless we take a look at the extended universe.
  • Mockumentary: And several Mockumentaries were made about the mockumentary.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The entire movie is made of this trope.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "FUCK!! YOU!!! LOG!!!!!!" A little easy to miss, but an underappreciated gem.
    • Oh, it's worse than that. The line, according to the feature-length commentary on the DVD, is actually "FUCK! YOU! GOD!"
  • Regularly-Scheduled Evil: Though not operating on as tight of a schedule as some other supernatural woods creatures, the Blair Witch likes to pull some freaky shit every fifty or sixty years or so.
  • Rule 34: The Bare Wench Project and The Erotic Witch Project, etc. Both of which had more sequels than the film they're spoofing.
  • Spiritual Successor: Paranormal Activity.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Why don't they just follow that river? You know, the one with the log...
    • Supernatural forces were at play. It's likely that no matter what they did, they wouldn't find a way out.
      • This is confirmed in the tie-games and other material. You will get turned around despite the fact you were following the map perfectly. Frankly, if those woods don't want you to leave, you're not going to be able to leave.
  • Trope Codifier: For all those minimalist First Person Camera Nothing Is Scarier horror movies that are so popular these days.
  • Ultimate Evil
  • The Un-Reveal: During the final sequence, Heather is heavily implied to have seen the antagonist, but drops her camera before she can get a shot of it.
    • Not to mention that we never find out the meaning behind...well, much of anything, really.
  • Unbuilt Trope: This movie spawned plenty of imitators, especially in the late 2000s (Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead, The Last Exorcism, and now Unaware). However, those films all had pretty high budgets, slick editing, and plenty of scary CG monster/alien/whatever effects. This film's minuscule budget, realistic location, and rambling, unscripted nature make it feel like a Deconstruction of the very films it influenced.
    • It should be noted that, even though the Horror Mockumentary genre was an unbuilt trope at the time, it is not the first to do this. Cannibal Holocaust was perhaps the first and The Last Broadcast was released just before this film but to less fanfare.

The sequel contains examples of: