When The Blair Witch Project was released in the summer of 1999, it became a global phenomenon, fuelled by a clever and revolutionary early Internet marketing campaign that aimed to make audiences believe the events in the film were actually real. While this fake out was quickly uncovered, the movie still racked up millions at the box office due to the novel approach and the fact that it was a truly scary ride. This past weekend’s release of the newest installment, Blair Witch, dares you to take that terrifying trip into the Black Hills Woods once more.
While the new Blair Witch follows a fairly similar storyline as the original film, the one change that is immediately apparent is in the technology involved. The Blair Witch Project arguably kicked off the entire modern wave of “found footage” horror flicks and it did so using a 16mm film camera and an RCA Hi-8 Camcorder, which the student filmmaker characters were using to make their documentary about the titular legend. Flash forward 17 years later – few people shoot on film anymore and digital video technology has far surpassed the lo-fi graininess and tape recording output of the Hi-8.
So in Blair Witch, a new cast of six young people go venturing into the spooky woods to find one of the missing characters from the first film, chronicling the journey with a Canon 5D Mark III DSLR, a high quality camera used by amateurs and industry professionals alike. But that’s not all – our intrepid heroes also bring a camera drone and Bluetooth earpiece cameras, allowing us to take in everybody’s POV as they explore and eventually frantically run through the environment. On top of all this, they’re also equipped with walkie-talkies, a GPS, and of course, smartphones. It’s safe to say that the Blair Witch characters have a ton more technology at their disposal then the original three could have ever dreamed of. This allows the filmmakers of Blair Witch to play around with different techniques and methods of making us jump out of our seats.
In what could be seen as a nod to the first film, one of the characters brings a Sony DCR-TRV120 Digital Camcorder on the trip. It’s clearly the most outdated piece of equipment, shooting in SD on a tape, and yet it ends of playing the most crucial role in the film’s climax. Because when coming face to face with the Blair Witch, no amount of fancy technology is going to save you.
Image source: Independent