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Horror fans break down the appeal of one of the genre’s most iconic ‘you had to be there’ movies

Apparently, there are big reasons why, even more than two decades later, this horror wonder still rules.

Image via Lionsgate

The Blair Witch Project is over 20 years old. There’s barely a slasher who hasn’t rebooted since the movie came out, and horror fans have tripped over miles of found footage tape since. But The Blair Witch Project remains famous for the immediate craze it inspired and for having one of the ultimate twist endings in horror cinema. 

It was of the genre’s great ‘you had to be there’ experiences, but does it live up to the hype in the 21st century? For the benefit of new viewers, the users of the r/horror/ subreddit have been mulling over what made Blair Witch such a phenomenon when it was released back in 1999.

Many horror fans may wince at the idea of The Blair Witch Project as an older movie, but it’s good to look back without the broken-twig-framed spectacles of the movie’s release hype. As one user said, it’s difficult for them to explain the buzz the film generated with its novel method of approaching the horror genre at the time, especially to those who didn’t get to experience it first-hand.

It’s easy to forget how well Blair Witch handled the found footage format. After years of horror fans being inundated by crude copies and new takes on the subgenre, it remains top of the pile.

Praise was dished out for the marketing that played with the seemingly non-existent line differentiating the work of fiction from a real documentary.

Users were quick to point out that its meticulously put-together structure was an important part, too — the film delivered for those who were paying attention from the very beginning.

After all these years, the impact of the film may have lessened, but it still remains a shining example in the horror genre. The plot of the film presented victims the audience could identify with, kept its horror on a subtle edge, and relied on solid practical effects. It set a benchmark that all other found footage movies that try to copy its format either don’t take into account or fail to live by.

Even after 20 years, The Blair Witch Project retains the ability to take horror fans back to the time when the film first came out. A good deal of horror is built on innovation and nostalgia, and this movie has it in spades.

It is clear that love for The Blair Witch Project hasn’t dimmed even though a trillion found-footage format horror films have been released since then and most, if not all, seem dead-set on maligning the OG’s legacy.

Matt Goddard
About the author

Matt Goddard

Matt enjoys casting Jack Kirby color, Zack Snyder slow-mo, and J.J. Abrams lens flare on every facet of pop culture. Since graduating with a degree in English from the University of York, his writing on film, TV, games, and more has appeared on WGTC, Mirror Online and the Guardian.