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The Blair Witch Project$
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Peter Turner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733841

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733841.001.0001

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The Aesthetics of Artificial Authenticity

The Aesthetics of Artificial Authenticity

(p.33) 2. The Aesthetics of Artificial Authenticity
The Blair Witch Project

Peter Turner

Liverpool University Press

This chapter discusses the visual style of The Blair Witch Project (1999). In notable opposition to the slasher cycle and the later ‘torture porn’ trend in modern horror, The Blair Witch Project takes a distinctively ‘less is more’ approach to visuals. It fails to reveal much that is horrific in the truest sense of excess that characterises much of the horror genre in film. The Blair Witch Project relies on the power of suggestion and the fear of what is unseen. While the film has a witch as the central antagonist and the dark and frightening woods as its primary location, it attempts to create a realistic atmosphere through its presentation, deceiving the viewer into thinking they are watching the actual found footage of three disappeared students. It is presented to the audience as a work of fact; not a traditional horror film, but a documentary chronicling real events that were filmed by someone involved in a terrible experience. The chapter then considers the mockumentary or mock-documentary approach of The Blair Witch Project.

Keywords:   The Blair Witch Project, modern horror, horror genre, suggestion, witch, found footage, mockumentary, mock-documentary

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