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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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Who Am I? Positioning the Spectator and Identification

Who Am I? Positioning the Spectator and Identification

(p.53) 3. Who Am I? Positioning the Spectator and Identification
The Blair Witch Project

Peter Turner

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the notion of identification in relation to The Blair Witch Project (1999). One of the primary reasons for the continued use of the found footage aesthetic, popularised in The Blair Witch Project, must be that it increases identification for horror film viewers. These fans of the horror genre search for films that will terrify them. Having a character hold a camera is the closest a spectator can get to living the film, but they get to experience it from the safety of their seat in front of the screen. Considering the positioning of spectators, and exploring the cognitive processes that lead to increased identification, is essential. Is it really as simple as suggesting that, because the cameras are in the hands of the characters, audiences will identify more with them, and therefore be more scared? Many film theorists have considered identification, empathy, and emotion and some have applied their findings to The Blair Witch Project.

Keywords:   identification, The Blair Witch Project, found footage aesthetic, horror film viewers, horror genre, spectators, film theorists, empathy, emotion

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