The Blair Witch Project
The found footage narrative predates this Sundance Film Festival breakout hit by more than two decades, but no other film has employed it so effectively.
You have to go all the way back to Ruggero Deodato’s grim Cannibal Holocaust (1980) to find the source of the found footage movie. (Which in itself is a variation on the epistolary horror narratives that make Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula so compelling.) But Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez take it to new heights as they tell what some at the time believed was a true tale of a group of student filmmakers who go missing in rural Maryland while attempting to prove existence of the fabled Blair Witch. With its grainy, lo-fi imagery and brilliant sound design, Myrick and Sánchez’s film has inspired a generation of copy cats, but none have managed to equal the terrifying, blood-chilling final moments of this film.
★★★★ “Gets its chills without resorting to special effects” - William Thomas, Empire