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Lo-Tech Cinema

JonKatz posted more than 15 years ago | from the The-Blair-Witch-Project,-Movies-and-Technology dept.

Movies 345

By Hollywood standards, the "The Blair Witch Project" is shockingly Lo-Tech, employing none of the expensive techno-tricks that increasingly overwhelm movie after movie. But the BWP, thumping expensive hi-tech competitors like "The Haunting" and "Deep Blue Sea," uses technology brilliantly, if minimally, in its making and marketing. Here's to a new Lo-Tech genre in cinema.

"The Blair Witch Project" is a biting rebuke to Hollywood, which has nearly overwhelmed movies from "Phantom Menace" to "Wild Wild West" with expensive cinematic technology, especially computer-generated special effects.

The BWP, made for roughly $50,000 by two young and unknown filmmakers - Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick - might well spark a new Lo-Tech genre in American cinema. It sure ought to.

As of last weekend, the BWP was the No. 2 money-making movie in America, taking in $30 million. It is pounding the daylights out of big-budget Hollywood clunkers like "The Haunting and "Deep Blue Sea," both of which spent small fortunes on razzle-dazzle effects but forgot to include the rest of the movie.

In fact, the "Haunting" has grossed half as much as the BWP even though it cost at least a hundred times as much to make.

It wasn't that the BWP makers didn't understand or make use of technology. They did.

The movie's website had more than 20 million hits even before the films release this summer in a handful of theaters in a small number of cities.

The site is a model of how to use the Web to capture the style and atmosphere of a film.

The movie is set in a tiny (real) town in Maryland. The (fictional) premise is that three student filmmakers set out into the woods in October of l994 to film a documentary about the Blair Witch, who supposedly has haunted the woods for generations. The kids never come back. A year later their video footage is found. The website presents the story as a literal news event, including newscasts reporting on the kids' disappearance and the search for them and their remains.

Sanchez and Myrick shot the movie with tiny hand-held cameras, one of the many reasons the BWP is so edgily effective. They used Global Positioning Satellite tracking systems to guide the three unknown actors in the movie to their locations in the woods, where they found instructions on the movie's upcoming scenes. The actors weren't told what to say, but required instead to improvise the dialogue and much of the plot. Watching the movie, it's easy to forget you're watching one.

Thus the actors were especially convincing as terrified kids in way over their heads. The WBP is, from the first, permeated with an overpowering sense of gloom and dread reminiscent of the original "Night Of the Living Dead," one of the best and most innovative horror films of its era. I've rarely seen a theater so quiet.

Using technology in this savvy, minimalist way, the BWP reminds us that movies can be much more frightening when they leave some perils to our imagination than when they present them so literally and ultra-graphically (one of the many reasons "Jaws" was so much creepier than its lame sequels).

In fact, the BWP did none of the high-tech things that now seem elemental in contemporary movie-making. It had no score, not a single special effect, almost no lighting, no expensively animated credits.

For the past few years, filmmakers have been drunk on all of their new technologies, from computer-generated characters to numbingly overdone explosions and crashes. The early mythic horror films - "Frankenstein," "Dracula," "The Phantom of the Opera" - were much closer to the BWP than to the gazillion-dollar bombs now produced by the corporatized studios: they were much more frightening for what they didn't show than for what they did.

Sanchez and Myrick may, in fact, have almost single-handedly saved an endangered Hollywood genre. Their movie was made completely outside the Hollywood studio system, discovered when shown out of competition at the Sundance Film Festival (it wasn't even accepted as an entry ).

Had it been a Hollywood project, it would probably have had almost none of the qualities that make it so strikingly original - the realistic, amateurish, herky-jerky home video quality, the restraint and discipline that force us to picture what might be happening.

And a big studio would never have signed Heather Donahue, the previously unknown actress who delivers a grand-slam performance as an obsessive young documentary maker. Nor would a studio have permitted a film to be made without a script.

Yet without sophisticated use of technology, the BWP wouldn't have been nearly as effective. GPS systems permitted the actors to move around without a horde of techs and aides, something which clearly contributed to their performances as increasingly terrified kids alone in the woods. In the first minutes of the movie, the kids are much more worried about returning their car and camera equipment in time than about being lost in the woods with any supernatural skullduggery. That changes quickly.

Digital technology makes possible small and highly portable cameras that can be wielded by actors as well as cinematographers. And the movie's amazing online campaign shows that creativity can do wonders on the Web while giant and overblown corporate ad campaigns stagger and fail. The Web is profoundly anti-hype. The product has to deliver, and Webheads prefer to find it for themselves. People online want to find something good and share it, not be beaten over the head with it. Online marketing reverses the natural laws of conventional media hype. If you make it, and it's good, they will come.

The good news is that "The Blair Witch Project" advances the campaign of techno-savvy, creative, young and poorly-funded filmmakers against a corporatized film system that embraces technology but smothers originality. The bad news is that a sequel to BWP has already been contracted by a Hollywood studio.

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The best part of BWP.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757104)

was in the very beginning. "Mmm... marshmellows... SOOOOOOFT " That cracked me up. :) In fact, the movie seemed more comedy than horror to me, until you get to the last 10 minutes of it. I was laughing most of the way through the film.

Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757110)

This movie would have been _much_ better if the premise was true. Not that I would want anybody to be hurt, but really, how many people went to the movie expecting it to be true? Especially after "The Curse of the Blair Witch" pack of lies on the Sci-Fi channel?

Sequel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757114)

NO! That will utterly destroy any good opinion of the movie that any one likely has, especially if it sucks. Besides, how often are sequels that original? I mean, you can't get the same effect out of a second BWP that you did out of the first, because everyone will know that it's fictional. BWP had people guessing if it was real from the get go. Aliens Invaded and Killed my Nick [MicroLITH]

Re:Reading too much into one film (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757153)

I totally agree, the sucess of TBWP will not spawn generations of good low budget movies. Hollywood is and always will be about the eye popping , jaw dropping special effects, and unfortunatley this is just a fluke that will cahnge aboslutley nothing....and ya didnt like PI?!, are ya freggin nutz?!

BWP did NOT invent this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757158)

Kevin Smith was doing 'lo-tech' cinema long before the Blair Witch Project appeared. Clerks was shot with an amazingly small budget over the course of a single day (!) using complete unknowns an very few takes (look at the way Jay flubs his lines several times). Kevin Smith is responsible for this lo-tech genre revival, not the BWP. And hey, Kevin Smith didn't resort to creating fake fan web sites to promote his movies, either.

bwp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757162)

I saw the movie 3 times and each time it only got better. I believe BWP is one of the best true horror films, up with classics such as Psycho. Just goes to show you that you don't need $100,000 worth of digital equipment to make a film good.

phobos [mailto]

Pi Rocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757165)

I thought Pi was great. How many other movies out there tackle such varied and decidedly non-mainstream movie subjects like religion, mathematics, and psychosis?? Pi was incredible. And, it had the Indian woman who's (was) also Micael's wife in 'La Femme Nikita' (on USA).

Lo-Tech is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757170)

the reason i liked blair witch was because it was so refreshing not to have CGI blown in my face in every scene. Sure CGI is cool, but do we need it in everything?

BWP good due to inventive moviemaking, not lo-tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757173)

BWP was novel in that the stars were making the film and did not always know the plot twists ahead of them - their fright was real. The fact that the film was grainy was simply a nice touch, but not the central attribute of the film.

Re:Theatre so quiet.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757176)

well, what he was saying was that big budget movies without substance are common even though they suck, but SPR really did have substance. In fact, it's hard to make an 'unmoving' movie about a war which so many people think of as bad, you know, 'cuz a lot of people died.

Re:Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757177)

If enough people believe it's a "real myth," it becomes a "real myth." Yes?

Re:BWP good due to inventive moviemaking, not lo-t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757180)

right on. The shaky film made it seem as if I was there, but what really made it real was the acting. I had to look at the floor and say to myself: "look, you're in a movie theatre, stop freaking out."

Timing in BWP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757181)

I liked the way it started off innocently enough, but when it came to night, something scary happened. Then it calms down for the morninng, until somehting freakier happens in the next night. This lull-scare-lull-scare format is what i really enjoyed about the movie, different than having a single climax.

Re:I have to ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757183)

Clerks... Train Spoters... Great flicks

Didn't get "Supernatural skulduggery" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757186)

I went and saw the movie on the advise of my room mate and I really didn't get "supernatural skulduggery" out of it. Perhaps it was the skeptic in me, but I wasn't really all that creeped out by it. Perhaps a comedy of errors, that's about it.

The Blair Witch Project - Sequel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757188)

I'm not sure what to think of the sequel for the BWP. I really enjoyed the original film because it wasn't like every other Hollywood Horror flick out there, especially the Wes Creaven films. This film was a surprise for the movie viewer, and thats what made it different than other movies out there. The sequel could be very good and it could be very bad, like most sequels out there I don't think that the sequel for this film will be like the original because it won't be a SURPRISE. The surprise factor is what made the movie what it is now. Martin..

Re:Artificial Hype ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757191)

That's exactly what I'm wondering. I saw a lot of ads for the Blair Witch project, and because they made it look really intriguing, I went to go see it. The film was nice; it was refreshing to see something made a little differently, but I wasn't that impressed. There didn't seem to be much of a plot. And isn't their website the opposite of all this "anti-hype" stuff they're promoting? I mean, 20 million hits before it opens...if there wasn't any hype, how did they even know about it?

Re:Artificial Hype ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757192)

Not unanswered questions?

I think you slipped into the latest Julia Robert film by mistake.

The hype was generated by greate reviews by the higher ranks of the film critic community including Roger Ebert who covered TBWP from Sundance. The Salon article we *all* read doesn't come up with any true evidence against TBWP. After the initial bait, the article immediately switches into a critic of American Pie and ain't it cool news. Tabloid journalism as usual.

Re:Indy Movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757193)

That's a crock (what a surprise). Clerks was made for about $30K. It was mainly funded by 10 credit cards that Smith had to his name, funds garnered from store credit after he sold his comic book collection, a family donation, and paychecks from working at the Quick Stop and RST Video.

Miramax bought the movie -- not Sony.

Did that do enough damage to your credibility?

Re:BWP made me queasy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757194)

While we were waiting outside the theater for the employees to clean up, we noticed what looked like vomit running down the outside of a trash can. I can understand why. My wife recommended Dramamine to a friend who was thinking of going to see it.

Re:Tech != Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757199)

"Just goes to show that writing, premise, and performance have more to do with success than effects, budget, and known actors." Writing? there was no writing, the whole movie was done on the fly. This movie was neat, but it wasn't what they showed you that made it a good movie, it's what they implied, didn't show you.

no wonder SAR is so busy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757200)

My GOD, those people were idiots! Why did they throw away the map?? I don't want to hear that a map is useless if you are lost. If you can't determine your position based on topography, stay in your house!! And what is one of the first things you learn about being lost in the outdoors? Follow streams/rivers! Do not leave your source of life! They were in New England...not anywhere remote...the stream would have led to safety. The only thing that scared me about the movie is that there are people that stupid "hiking" in the great outdoors .

Re:Practicalities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1757201)

Remember that the movie was set in 1994.
Did your brother buy a Steadicam on eBay in 1994?
I don't think so.

Lo-tech made BWP what it is (1)

Agrajag (560) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757211)

When you watch BWP you realize that the Lo-Tech stuff is what made it what it is because the setting is actual and the events make it seem at least somewhat plausible (especially if you've been backpacking before). Seeing the film through the eyes of a handheld camera makes it that much more realistic and makes you wonder just how real it is. The actors improvising everything also gave it realism, by making their responses seem more lifelike.

This might work for a few other movies, but not many. Its almost imposible to set a good Sci-Fi thriller with something that would allow this lo-tech to work, and I personally can't think of any other place where this kind of lo-tech would work except in a forest. It is relatively inexpensive to just travel to a forest and walk around taking shots, whereas setting a lo-tech film in a big city will still be expensive, you'll probablly need permission to shoot some of the areas as well as having to rent rooms and such to shoot in. All of this adds money and sense special effects and computer rendering are getting less expensive, its starting to become more cost effective to just render a lot of the stuff, like Squaresoft is doing in their Final Fantasy movie which is going to be completely rendered.

A lot of the BWP was also do to the shock value of seeing a big film that was filmed on a handheld camera.. that's a shock value that is a one time thing.. it might still be around for other movies that do the same thing, but the effect won't be anywhere as great. BWP was also very original in this.. if someone tries to make another lo-tech blockbuster like this, it'll lose all originality and personally I'd rather see a hi-tech non-original movie than a lo-tech non-original movie.

Reminds me of our President... (1)

Dave Fiddes (832) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757213)

..Blair that is. Erm, I mean our humble Prime Minister Tony Blair. He doesn't look anything like a, not at all ;)

As for low budget independent films... been making them for years this side of the pond. Some are very very good...some are very very bad. The best ones are almost always better than the best that Hollywood churns out.

l994 or 1994? (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757215)

Got a little Y2K bug there Katz? The movie did well because critics liked it in an academic sense. The rest was extreme advertizing.

Not what I expected, but intriguing. (1)

Mickey Jameson (3209) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757220)

I saw the movie last night and wasn't all that impressed. I had (female) friends crying because it was so darn scary. A theater employee that I know poked me last night when the credits came on in an attempt to scare me. Then she couldn't believe how I wasn't jumpy or freaked out at all. On a scale of 1-10 of scariness, I'd give it a 5. Maybe a 4. But what made this movie very interesting was the fact that it's fiction, yet was made out to be true. Even theater employees (in some chains anyway) were told to lie when asked, "Is this for real?!" But what I learned AFTER the movie freaked me out more than the movie itself. The whole GPS factor, the care packages they received, and the true fright involved... In addition to they themselves being taped from far away, unbenownst to them. I will probably go back to see it again just because of these things that were not so obvious. I would have to say that this is the most original movie I've seen in many years.

Plus, there was no real script (1)

Mickey Jameson (3209) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757221)

The only part that was scripted was the beginning of the movie. The interviews and the cemetery, and that was it. The rest of the movie simply had an outline, but no script. That is even more fascinating.

Pick whatever is hot and then latch on for a ride (1)

Lamont (3347) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757222)

Putting the merits of BWP aside (haven't seen it yet), it's certainly not the first high-quality low-budget film to be made. Each time one comes out, there's always someone declaring the death of the Hollywood big-money system.

Unfortunately, it isn't going to happen. Too many people are willing to throw the theater $8 to see things blow up I'm afraid.

Just because some movie makers use GPS' and put up a website about there movie, that doesn't make 'em "tech-savvy" and hip and cool. Just about every movie released these days has a web site. Enough with the hype. Feels like a bad Wired article....

Re:Indy Movies (1)

Rick_T (3816) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757227)

| The hi tech movies being compared to BWP may
| have expensive effects but are likely lacking
| in something else: an intelligent, sensible
| script. Put BWP and Matrix out at the same time
| and see who wins. My vote is on Matrix.

Given all other things equal, the movie with the best special effects wins - especially during the summer.

But, I think you give *both* films a little too much credit for having intelligent scripts. The premise of Matrix was simply laughable (hurt the overall movie for me, anyway), though it did score a bit on the "cool" factor. The script for BWP - well, what script? The good thing about BWP would have to be that the actors actually got the point across.

BWP reminded me somewhat of some Lovecraft stories - takes plave some time after the "horror" has occured, you never really *see* the "horror", etc. Worth the student-ticket price at any rate, just for the suspense. Even if it *was* filmed with HurlCam (tm).

Bad Ending... (1)

asn (4418) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757229)

The movie had a good amount of suspense, sure...
Scary? Not at all...

The thing about the guy throwing the map away was totally unbeliveable...

The ending had to be the worst though -- all of a sudden, everyone is dead and the credits come up... I would have at least liked to have seen interviews with the same townspeople the kids interviewed to get their reactions after the tapes had been found -- even if they were during the credits or something...

World outside of the US (1)

MeerCat (5914) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757231)

Nobody seen any Ken Russell movies ? "Ladybird, Ladybird" (for example) was filmed without the main actors knowing what comes next, and similarly has a very real, very gritty feel. Uncle Ken's been at it for years, but I don't see Hollywood crumbling. Do his movies even get released in the USA, or is it the art-house circuit only ?

As for one posters comments about "Saving Private Ryan" ... spare me.
The difference between Lucas and Spielberg is that at least Lucas knows when he's making it up / hamming it up (cf Used Car salesmen and Computer salesmen).

Practicalities (1)

Phil Wilkins (5921) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757232)

> why couldn't these people use a goddamn steadicam

because steadicams are expensive, heavy, and unlikely to be in the possession of a student film crew?

Artificial Hype ? (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757237)

I don't get it, I realy don't.

I went to see this film last weekend and I was mildly dissapointed. It's not a bad movie, but clearly below average.

And it leaves absolutely nothing, *nothing*, when you walk out of the cinema there are no unansvered questions and the movie isn't making any point.

If I told you that you realy don't see anything horrible in the movie, I would have spoiled all the film for you, it's that bad. The only thing that holds up the film the whole time is that it is making the surroundings look creapy with the help of music and sound effects. And even that gets bored after 30 minutes.

I doubt there are many people who will want to watch this file the second time.

And my question is : What realy generated all this hype ?? C'mon if a unknown website got millions of hits even before the opening, it's got to be professionally planned and engineered hype !

Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

Re:Other notes about BWP (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757238)

If you watch the surroundings in the film, you will notice that many of the scenes were filmed just beside a big clearing in the forest.

Look up between the trees and you will see that there aren't any more trees 20-or-so meters from where the actors are standing.

Not a big mistake but it quite annoyed me while I watched the movie.

Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

F.ex ? (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757240)

Exactly what hadn't you figured out by the end of the movie ?

The movie is OK but it's definitely not great, in the sense that I will get absolutely nothing out of a second screening.
Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

City folks ? (1)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757241)

Sure, it's a nice film, and very nice given the bugdet and beginner film makers.

But why the hype ? The film basically just tells an camp-fire ghost story.
Why pay for drugs when you can get Linux for free ?

Re:Artificial Hype ? (1)

Cyberkidd (7793) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757243)

Are you sure you were watching Blair Witch? There was *no* music in the entire movie. And the whole point of the movie was that you never saw anything. The movie let your imagination go wild on what was actually out there. I know I left the movie a lot more scared then when I went in there. I thought that this was a great movie, definitly one of the best independent films I had ever seen.

Re:Indy Movies (1)

Cyberkidd (7793) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757244)

The best way to avoid motion sickness with this movie is just to sit towards the back of the theater. That way you can still see the wall around the screen, and your body won't get as confused about what is actually happening.

As for clerks, I agree with you. That was another very good independent film. I was pleasantly surprised when a friend of mine had me watch the movie.

The Big Connection (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757245)

I've rarely seen a theater so quiet.

I've rarely heard a theater so full.

Now all Mr. Katz needs to do is to draw the parallel between independent filmmaking and independent musicmaking with MP3s, and argue for web-, ftp-, and IRC-based distribution of these films and he's on to something here.

QDMerge [] -- data + templates = documents.

Lo-Tech, gimme a break! (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757246)

Indy filmmakers have been using age-old (read: cheap) film techniques, innovative ideas, and good stories to make good movies for a long time. That doesn't that there's anything lo-tech about it. The Blair Witch Project people used the most hi-tech tools available for their budget. Have you checked the prices of all that stuff in the credits? I am glad that The Blair Witch project got the recognition (and the money) it deserved, but to think that it hails some kind of a 'lo-tech' revolution in cinema is a bit effrontery.
I very seriously doubt that any major movie studios will begin producting movies with digital camcorders and cutting them on Media100 workstations because of the success of this one movie. Maybe now the studios will take a more serious look at indy films, indy screenplays, and more traditional moviemaking techniques. Hopefully we'll get to see a few more decent movies in the theaters.


Pi (1)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757251)

Pi? bad? Oh my god! I thought that Pi was one of the best movies I have seen in my entire life.. it was SO beautifully done, the grainy film, the absolutely lovely music, the message it conveys so clearly. Everything about that movie pointed to the fact that someone put SO much thought into exactly what went into the film.. rather than most hollywood flicks, which rather point to the laborious amount of time making it glitzy and perfect product placement.

You have no taste.


Re:I have to ask... (1)

Laxitive (10360) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757252)

Can you point me to a place where I can get good info on the good movies coming out? I love independent films, and I've loved most of the independents I've seen, but I've only seen a scarce few.. is there a place on the net which is reliable as a good source of what's good and what's bad?

I thought Pi was a BEAUTIFUL film, Rushmore was great, Trainspotting kicked butt (though i dont know if it's 'independent' or not). That's about all the independent movies that I can list off the top of my head right now. I've been searching for a place where I can get info on films like these, and the only thing I've found so far is the onion's AV-club movie review section.. do you know any other place?


Re:Pi (1)

kmwertma (13019) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757256)

>You have no taste.

Good thing he wasn't talking about your mother or might have had to attack his personality for expressing an opinion...

Grow up.

"It's Brazilian"

I think it's great (1)

wikki (13091) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757257)

The blair witch project was just what I needed. None of the bloatedness of other recent movies. It was very nice to see a movie do so well with so little a budget.(I heard around $$40,000) I hope more people take notice to how a story is presented not just how much eye candy they can shove in your face.

As Hollywood comes out with more crap.... (1)

kevlar (13509) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757261)

Independent movies will be seen more and more in movie theatres. The Haunting sucked so horribly that I'm ashamed I payed $8 to see it. If only they'd make some good, well written movies. Until then, it'll be the low-budget independent movies that will be the really good ones.

Re:BWP did NOT invent this. (1)

dirty (13560) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757262)

IIRC clerks was made for $2000. Not bad imho.

Re:Indy Movies (1)

mdmbkr (14384) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757263)

Try sitting as far back in the theater as possible.

Re:Bad Ending... (1)

dsaint (14427) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757264)

This is where the web site comes in really handy. Go to and they have interviews with people after the dissapearance. It's got a lot more backstory to flesh out the movie. Apparently they are still adding new information to the web site. Unlike most movie web sites this one isn't just for marketing, it's a rather vital part of the film.

Re:Sequel? (1)

dsaint (14427) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757265)

Well, the sequel plots that they've talked about involved stories about the man that murdered the seven children, and more about the woman that was cast out of the village who may have become the Blair Witch. So they aren't really sequels in the sense that they take place after BWP just in the BWP universe.

Psychological Horror (1)

Industrial Disease (16177) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757271)

I haven't seen BWP yet, but I did see The Sixth Sense this past weekend, and thought it was fantastic. Please, go see it before anyone spoils it for you.

I don't think I'll be spoiling The Sixth Sense by saying that the special effects are almost nonexistent; as I've heard about BWP, more happens off screen than on. I think Sixth Sense edged out BWP for highest gross on this incredibly crowded (5 major studio releases) weekend. I hope that the success of these films will spark more cerebral, psychological horror flicks. I'd much rather see this type of movie than self-referential, over-the-top slashers like Scream or cheesy CGI fests like The Haunting (although Sleepy Hollow looks like it might be good).

As far as The Haunting goes, I've heard that there is another movie from the same original source coming out later this year, called The House on Haunted Hill or maybe The Haunting of Hill House. The rumor goes that this one will depend more on auditory than visual effects for its scares. I can only hope the rumor is true.

absolutely the worst movie ever (1)

AshleyB (18162) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757275)

Let me start by saying that when I saw the preview of Inspector Gadget, my brain went into CGI overload. Hard. I started to look at all of these movies just crammed with this stuff and I just shut down my nervous system, not wanting to see another 80 foot spider or mutant shark.


The Blair Witch was in my opinion absolutely horrible filmmaking. "Road Rules goes horribly wrong." And it was so funny as to be unfunny. As a friend pointed out, they got lost in the woods with a map, compass, river AND the sun in the sky? Sounds to me like it was nature weeding out bad genes to me. But anyway, an utterly wretched film, with no suspense at all. Just because it was cheap and different doesn't mean it's good. Last time I checked characters were still fairly important and I couldn't give a rat's behind about any of them. So, if characters aren't there, most filmakers will attempt to blind you with visuals or at least a good plot. No such luck here; it's like they were relying so heavily on trying to sell this as a true story and the fact that it is about as un-Hollywood as you can get they forgot to do anything like entertain us. Godzilla sucked and no matter how much money they put on the screen that wasn't going to change. Same principal here. No amount of money would have made this story entertaining.

Go watch The Iron Giant. It won't make near as much as The Insipid Witch, but it is light years better and will still be around in 100 years whereas Blair Witch will be spliced onto a reel America's Funniest Home Videos and Fox's Most Shocking Moments Caught on Tape.

Now, to be fair I will have to say that they marketed this film BEAUTIFULLY. Web site, Sci-Fi channel preview, everything to make you think it was real. Plus all the buzz about how scary it was; to me that is what drew me to the film because how many people can be shocked or scared by a movie after the trememdous amount of scary movies we have all seen in our lives? I have to give it credit for trying, I am not shooting the concept full of holes, it's quite noble actually, it's just that the execution was as big a failure as any failed endeavor in the history of filmmaking.

Re:absolutely the worst movie ever (1)

Quigley (18976) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757278)

As a friend pointed out, they got lost in the woods with a map, compass, river AND the sun in the sky? Sounds to me like it was nature weeding out bad genes to me.

I think the point they were trying to make here is that somehow the witch was screwing with them. Common sense does tell you they wouldn't have been lost on their own.

I'm still not sure what I think of the movie, though I don't think you can really call it the worst movie ever. I mean, come on, some of that 80's stuff... I _was_ disappointed it didn't scare me as much as I expected it to, but then again I grew up out in the country and I've spent a lot of time in the woods.

Besides, you have to admit the final scene was pretty cool. :)

Re:Psychological Horror (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757280)

I've seen both BWP and 6th Sense (in that order). I was really looking forward to 6th Sense; having seen it, I'd say it was an ok movie, I liked it, but thought it was underwhelming. At the end I felt like I was watching Ghost. And I was annoyed at the heavy reliance on typical "creepy" music, those overpowering crescendoes that tell you something's gonna jump out at you any second now. I was extremely much more disturbed by BWP, I found it to be more effective. But then, it was a tense situation, whereas 6th Sense isn't depicting a tense overwrought situation. Anyway, rambling now!

Re:Other notes about BWP (1)

kmj9907 (20499) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757286)

I noticed that too, but it didn't really bother me. Often in the middle of a forest there can be lots of large meadows. Doesn't have to be a road, and it certainly doesn't mean they can't be very lost.

The only reason I keep my ms-dos partition is so I can mount it like the b*tch it is.

I disagree (1)

ethomas8 (20706) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757287)

I disagree totallly with Jon Katz. I happened to see BWP on Sunday at 5:25 pm. This is usually not a peak time for movie going, but the large theater I was in was nearly sold out. This, combined with all that I had heard about the film, really got my hopes up.

Boy, was I disappointed. Frankly, I think the movie was horrible. I don't want to bash the film makers, they did a great job with only $50,000. I must say that I'm no film maker myself. This movie simply didn't appeal to me.

First of, it simply wasn't scary. I saw The Haunting early, and loved it. That movie got my heart racing. BWP didn't. I know that the camera work wasn't supposed to be perfect, but it just made me sick. Lastly, I think the use of a certain four letter word was so frequent that it became obvious there was no written script. Improv is good, but too much is too much.

I have run into many people that loved the movie, and I'm happy that it has been so successful without spending millions. I just didn't like it.


Re:The best part of BWP.. (1)

sklib (26440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757297)

The real part that bugged me about the movie was that my girlfriend got a headache from the cameras jumping around. I loved it, though :)

As a side note, I saw Sixth Sense yesterday, and the people next to me were talking all the way through it, somewhere in the back there was a little baby that kept crying and getting smacked, a guy in front of me was crinkling some candy wrapper until his wife took it away... Man, that's one of the benefits of DVD -- you sit at home, the quality's just about the same, and you don't have a bunch of stupid-ass interruptions. (Unless ofcourse you're in a dorm room.(

Re:Commercialize, commercialize, commercialize (1)

evilpete (26941) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757300)

The ironic thing is that the entertainment industry thinks entertainment is a thing you 'produce' through 'calculated production decisions'.

The entertainment industry knows that it can get guaranteed financial returns if it sticks to its 'calculated production decisions'. Even waterworld made money in the end. For every BWP or Clerks there must be a dozen fairly good indie flicks that won't make it off the ground, leaving their makers with a hefty bill to pay.

The rules are different for each category. An indie film should be made for the satisfaction of making something you want to see, or more likely to advance the careers and skills of those involved. A hollywood film is made to produce a return on an investment.


Re:Reading too much into one film (1)

elstumpo (27218) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757301)

In fact Hollywood went ahead and made a big-budget remake/sequel of El Mariachi, with lots of big stars and impressive explosions. Can't wait to see the Hollywoodized BWP.

Re:The best part of BWP.. (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757308)

BWP was very amusing in the beginning, but it really wore on my nerves when people kept laughing at the gradual breakdown of the characters and the tradgedy of their very obvious heightening insanity. It seems like everytime a certain word beginning with f was uttered there would be a giggle somewhere in the audience. Insistent laughter actually degraded my enjoyment of the movie. Bah. But naturally people have to laugh at everything they think is supposed to be a joke.

Budget (Was Re:Reading too much into one film) (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757309)

Having a low budget does tend to make a better movie in some ways however, because it forces creativity. Well. Assuming the people involved are talented. Otherwise you get a B horror movie.

Re:Truth (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757310)

Probably all the people out there who don't really have Net access, and even some that do. One friend of mine was trying to tell me how the backstory was true, because she read it somwhere on the net. =)
Obviously noone's going to believe that the film students really died, but one would be surprised by how many people will believe that the Blair Witch is a real myth.

Re:Sequel? (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757311)

How can you make a sequel period?
There's no plot continuation to make.
I suppose you could send more film students out, but it would be the same thing and thus not as effective.
There's just nothing to build on... except showing more of the Blair Witch herself.. which defies the point of the movie.

Re:Lo-Tech is good (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757312)

Lo-Tech in the horror genre is excellent. I don't think anyone's scared of big scary monsters at this point. Or blood. Or gore. Or any of that. Repulsed? Yes. Scared? No. Our imaginations have the greastest capacity to frighten us. More than anything else in the universe. By leaving the exact nature of the beast unsaid in Blair Witch it allows our own mind to come up with something far worse than what any CGI team could produce.

Re:Commercialize, commercialize, commercialize (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757313)

While this is true a low budget often causes higher creativity in how things are done. Star Wars for example. If Lucas had a huge budget would it have turned out more like Ep.1? *shrug*

Giggling (Was Re:The best part of BWP..) (1)

Talmanes (27366) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757314)

Oh I wish that was the case where I saw it.
Unfortunately only one theatre in my *state* carried the movie and it was selling out all week so there were a lot of people there who didn't know really what to expect from the movie (other than what they've come to expect from the horror genre). In fact one person immediately behind myself and my friend said after the movie ended, "That's what we've been wating for? That's stupid."
Grrrr... I wanted to slap them silly.

Tech != Quality (1)

D3 (31029) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757324)

Just goes to show that writing, premise, and performance have more to do with success than effects, budget, and known actors. Look at the first Star Wars, sure it was high tech at the time but it also had a new premise that had not been explored to that level previously. Same as BWP, a novel idea on how to give me the chills. Unfortunately we'll now have to live with the excesses of it being successful. Namely a sequel and clones that aren't as good as the original. :(

Other notes about BWP (1)

D3 (31029) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757325)

I loved the idea it was supposed to be 'real' just because I knew this would be much more scary to me than the typical slasher movie. After the movie I checked out the MD map to see where the town is. Turns out I'd driven through there once without noticing. However, the map also made it clear that you couldn't walk more than 2.5 miles in any one direction without hitting a major road. It should have been set in a more rural area IMO.

Re:Truth (1)

23skiddoo (31460) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757326)

I thought the lies in the Sci-Fi show were pretty transparent--especially the bit about where and how the file footage was found. I had not heard anything about the movie when we watched it, and my wife only knew that some movie was coming out about these film students that were missing after shooting a documentary. So, The Curse of the Blair Witch had us going for a while, despite the interviews with the "locals" that seemed too scripted, the "newsreel" footage that looked like regular film churned through some kind of "old movie" filter, and the "local TV" news clips that just looked staged. The cheesy 70s In Search Of-style TV show clips were effective, as were the "woodcuts" and maps that were shown.

Unfortunately, they went too far and made the claim that the film footage and equipment were found by archaeologists in "undisturbed soils" underneath the remains of a colonial-era structure. As an ex-archaeologist myself, I know that there is no way this could happen, short of some supernatural intervention. That told me immediately that it was all a hoax. Had they said the stuff was found scattered in the woods somewhere, I would at least have simply doubted the story, but as it was, I knew it was not true. (Unless I see some sort of supernatural phenomenon in front of my own eyes, I refuse to believe it--and I have yet to see any, drug-induced hallucinations not withstanding.)

It was a very good device for garnering interest in seeing the movie, though. I knew it wasn't true, but it looked like it would be a good time--and it was!

Laughter = Bonding (1)

abamfici (35737) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757333)

I though the part about the metric system was good. :) The laughter was necessary in order to bond with the characters. Would you feel creppy and bad if you already hated these people and they were all escaped convicted rapists? No. You'd be like "yeah! go witch go! kill them weirdos!"

So that's why there was stuff in the beginning that allows you to sort of get to know them better and know that they're real people and not acting when they're cracking jokes and occasionaly getting their speech jumbled etc.


I have to ask... (1)

NME (36282) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757335)

Is this your first exposure to independent cinema? Your points about technology, while valid, are old hat. People have been making very good movies cheaply for a long time. Seems to me that the real story is the marketing (which I missed out on, how did that happen?). -nme!

Re:Reading too much into one film (1)

NME (36282) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757337)

Hey, Halloween was the highest grossing "independent" film up until TBWP. That didn't stop Waterworld and Titanic from being made.


PS Good to know I wasn't the only one seriously dissapointed by PI

Re:I have to ask... (1)

NME (36282) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757341)

Online I'm not so sure. My sources include: the magazines Film Comment and Neon, the video stores around the local college, The University newspaper, and the weekly Arts and Entertainment rag. Now that I think about it, I really don't know where to go online for this sort of info. Weird.
Hope that helps.

PS I was super-disappointed in PI, but I'll agree with your likes.

Re:Truth (1)

NME (36282) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757342)

It's a Myth about a myth. Or a "Meta-Myth", if you will. Keep in mind that none of these 'Myths" meet the classical definition of 'Myth'.


The way of the first person shooter! (1)

At Work Bumb (41060) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757349)

All of the movies that keep geting put on screen in place of those that should be there are much like the over existence of the gaming world. Yes I play the games but I do get tired of them quite quilckly. For instance look at Wolfenstein to Doom to Quake to Unreal to Half Life to Quake 3, all virtually the same game with related plot and better graphics. Personally I would rather see Sixth sence as it should be a better film without having to take dramamine to watch it.

Is this what the movie seen is all about, Who can make a better clone of already done that type of cinematics? hell lets redo Blade Runner and give it a different name.

Reminder (1)

antizeus (47491) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757353)

You can filter out the Jon Katz articles if you have an account. Check out the "Preferences" page. That way you can avoid his Non-news for Non-nerds and his Stuff that Doesn't Matter. As for me, I'll filter it out the old fashioned way -- by keeping it available but using my finely-tuned bullshit detectors to determine what I should spend a lot of time on reading.

This essay tells me nothing new (1)

Lynnaea (54200) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757365)

I'm not a Katz-basher, I usually think he has something creative and insightful to say, but unfortunately, it seems this essay isn't a party to that pattern.

Jon, this essay didn't tell me ANYTHING I didn't already know! I know the movie was made for the "cost of a fully-loaded Taurus". I know that the movie is supposedly the revitalization of a genre. I know they used their website to extensively hype the film -- God knows I visited it about 5 times before seeing the film. I also know that the psychological and improvisational nature of the film are its major strengths. I also know this isn't the way Hollywood usually works.

And I swear to God if I hear/read the premise of the film one more time I'm going to go postal.

I could go on, but I think I'll stop here.

Jon, if your essay was a post, it'd be moderated down for "redundant." Next time, don't forget to add the content, please?

If you want another opinion... (1)

Martin^5 (59046) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757374)

... go read Misantropic Bitch's take on TBWP [] . I just hope that the movie makes it's way to Europe so I can make up my own mind.

Loved it... (1)

shod (59373) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757375)

Great movie, just saw it last night. Refreshing to see a truly scary movie with no cheesy ending.

Indy Movies (1)

venkman (60173) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757376)

I haven't seen BWP yet mostly for one reason: I get motion sickness, and being filmed on a handy cam I have been warned away from this movie. I have also heard of a lot of people leaving the theater with the same problem. It would be interesting to find out the number of ticket refunds for that reason.

Also on the indy side of things, what about Clerks? That wonderfully quirkly little flick that was originally done on someone's credit card (read $5000 or less) and that included buying the camera equipment. Then Sony got their hands on it, slapped a soundtrack on it, and made tons of cash off it. Personally I loved the movie and without that kind of distribution I wouldn't have seen it, or bought it.

The hi tech movies being compared to BWP may have expensive effects but are likely lacking in something else: an intelligent, sensible script. Put BWP and Matrix out at the same time and see who wins. My vote is on Matrix.

Re:Reading too much into one film (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757385)

In this case, it is a damn good movie, though.

(A little overhyped, but, well, that's to be expected.)

Jon Katz's essay up there is just another example of what I consider the very worst of the press. This burning desire to turn absolutely everything into an "important event". It is as if every member of the media had dreams of catching the important "turning point" in history. And so they report every goddamn minor cultural burp as if it was the start of the industrial revolution.

This may kill this movie for some people because while the story is good, the acting great and the directing impressive, this is not the second coming of Hitchcock that some of those more interested in the "story" then what is really happening seem to want to make it.

This crap is why I no longer read "news" magazines or the newspaper. I'd rather just read it off the wire where I don't get distracted by people trying to tell me what it all means when I'm just trying to find out what happened.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't an anti-Katz flame. He has written some interesting, thought provoking stuff. I just he didn't succumb to the old media disease of trying to find deep meaning out of every little thing.

This movie isn't a precursor of the fall of Hollywood. It is a couple of guys with an idea and some credit cards trying to break into Hollywood. Hopefully they won't make the kind of crap Romero did. Given this movie, I am optimistic. But you can bet that their next movie will have a budget more like The Haunting.

Re:Truth (1)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757399)

No kidding! I spent ALL DAY Saturday trying to tell one of my Girlfriends brothers friends (Heh, what a line) that the myth was made up by the film makers. I FINALLY got him convinced!


Re:Artificial Hype ? (1)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757400)

Are you insane?! The movie left EVERYTHING unanswered! The sound effects were great! The acting was beautiful. Admittedly 3 idiots lost in the woods isn't the scariest concept I can think of, but you definately felt for the characters during the film. If you didn't then you aren't much of a human being. I thought it was an excellent movie. Something that is fun to watch 3 or 4 times. Or even watch again every few months. Can't wait to get it on DVD....


Re:Indy Movies (1)

Kintanon (65528) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757401)

My girlfriend got quite motion sick, but she also gets motion sick playing Quake. It didn't bother me any, but if you do get motion sick I wouldn't recommend the movie. Though really you don't lose much from keeping your eyes closed through the entire movie. I'm going to go see it a second time just to do that, the sound FX are scary as hell!!

Also, I LOVED Clerks!


Commercialize, commercialize, commercialize (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757403)

The ironic thing is that the entertainment industry thinks entertainment is a thing you 'produce' through 'calculated production decisions'.

If hollywood thinks it can just go low tek now, they're missing the point. We want movies by movie makers who want to see their own movies - not movies by producers who want to make a movie people want to see.

When it comes to art, the average consumer doesn't know what he or she wants - and while he or she might often cry for a remake of a beloved show from his or her past or some adaptation of their favorite comic, generally a completely new movie without a previous social context will entertain far more. Its time hollywood drops this "make what the people want to see" attitude and do what the makers of "The Blair Witch Project" did - make a movie /they/ wanted to see.

Hightek or lowtek, I don't think thats the issue (although invariably everyone will think it is, and as such, yay, new fad time). It's the attitude and approach to making movies - make it for love, not money.

Re:BWP did NOT invent this. (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757404)

I'm very much in agreement here. Even 3 films later (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma), he's still not eating up huge budgets, and still making great films.

This Anon Coward makes a very good point, although to do lowtek successfully in horror is a more impressive feat than comedy methinks.

Re:The best part of BWP.. (1)

Enjolras (70949) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757407)

Actually, I noticed while watching it that the giggling tended to be a very nervous giggling, people convincing themselves that it all was just a movie. I still had trouble driving home at night that night...just a real well done piece of movie making.

Re:My theatre was NOT so quiet.... (1)

Enjolras (70949) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757408)

No joke...

I saw it on a Sunday Afternoon..just a small smattering of people (all adults)...and it did a great job of freaking me out. It's the only movie I can recall that I had to convince myself was fake. While watching it my rational side kept saying it was fake, but dammit they did such a convincing job with it that I just couldn't be totally SURE, what a great job.

Theatre so quiet.... (1)

Rabbins (70965) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757411)

Off topic here...

While people did leave the BWP mostly quietly (even the large group i went with did not say a word until we had gotten well outside), I have never seen a movie effect people the way Saving Private Ryan did.

People left that movie like they were walking out of a funeral. Many were crying.

That was impressive, and moving. And, that was definitely a big budget film.

Nto sure what my point is, but I guess I am saying that big budget films are not necesarily "unmoving" (except when it comes to Titanic.

Yes, but....... (1)

Rabbins (70965) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757412)

...... Josh is still OUT there!!!

BWP made me queasy... (1) (71379) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757416)

...but not because of the horror; it wasn't really that scary. What made me queasy was the camerawork. Sure, low-tech production value is all the rage now, but why couldn't these people use a goddamn steadicam? All that tromping through the woods with the camera bouncing up and down gave me motion sickness, and I'm not the only one. I heard several others complaining of this as I exited the theater. All in all, it was a decent movie, but not really worth my $7 or waiting for 3 days to get tickets. To summarize: Great marketing, decent movie, horrid camerawork. Anyone else agree?

Re:Practicalities (1) (71379) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757417)

My brother owns a handheld Steadicam that he purchased on eBay for around $400. Not professional quality, sure, but much better than jumpy video. Expensive? No. Heavy? No.

dogma (1)

moonPolysoft (73835) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757427)

yeah, when is dogma coming out anyway?

BWP, Low/High Budget and just plain acting... (1)

Dijital (74753) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757430)

I saw BWP yesterday and I was torn on the decision. I went with a friend and while I walked out stunned in utter silence, my friend complained on and on. My generation (I'm 19) was rasied on horror; Freddy Kruger, Jason, and the like. I was never scared of these, yet this movie scared the ever-living snot out of me. I have to say that I am proud of the fact that there is a scary movie out there that does not consist of stereotypes and cliche death scenes (read Scream, and I Know What you did Last Summer). I felt like I didn't know what was going to happen next, just that it'd be bad. For once, there were no crappy, unrealistic looking ghosts to make you raise the fromage factor.

Overall, the movie played off your fear and the general built in sense of compassion and hysteria. Those of you who didn't like it have no personalities.. :o)

Re:My theatre was NOT so quiet.... (2)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757434)

I made the mistake of going to see BWP at a
Saturday matinee at the local Cinema-super-mega-plex
stadium seating super-Dolby-sound -- you get the
idea. Anyway, the theatre was packed and I was
surrounded by parents who brought their crying
little toddlers (can you say "babysitter"?)
and on the other side of me was a group of plus-size
women trying to break a world record for loudest
comsumption of three buckets of popcorn, in front
of me was a 7-foot tall guy with a weak bladder
jumping up to go to the restroom every 10 minutes.

I loved BWP! It was the only movie I had seen in
my adult life that actually freaked me out, but
my best advice is see it at a small theatre late
at night with very few people to get the maximum
effect, or wait for it to come out on video.

The key to enjoying BWP is to watch it with
absolutely no distractions because the whole
story is told from first-person point of view
so you sympathize with the chracters and their plight.

Re: Excellent ending! (SPOILER WARNING!) (2)

Kurt Gray (935) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757435)

This post contains SPOILERS so read beyond
it if you haven't seen BWP:

The ending was brilliant: How do you know the 3
kids are dead? All we know is that they're missing. Yes, Josh dissappears and hints are made
that he was mutilated but is he dead? Are any of
them dead? You can assume that but then again like
any good book or film it's left to the audience to
figure it out the details -- it makes you think.

Re:Other notes about BWP (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757436)

It's in Maryland. It's pretty difficult to find a roadless stretch of woods anyplace along the East Coast, other than parkland. Just been populated for too long. Keep walking in any direction for a while and you're pretty likely to find some yokel's house, with a satellite dish and a phone.

In fact, that's the emergency navigation plan for greater Boston. Keep going until you find 128. Then you'll be okay.

Dream Park (2)

Industrial Disease (16177) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757439)

I finally remembered what the filming of BWP reminds me of. I'm sure a lot of you have read Dream Park by Larry Niven and Stephen(?) Barnes, and possibly the sequels, The Barsoom Project and The California Voodoo Game. For those of you haven't, the books take place in the ultimate high-tech theme park. One of the park's biggest draws is its full-immersion Live Action Role-Playing games (LARPs). Some of you have probably played some of White Wolf's Mind Eye Theatre games, or been in a LARP at a con. Maybe some of you fight in the SCA or other reenactment groups. Now, imagine a fantasy LARP played on a giant soundstage with full special effects. You live in the game for days, stay in character except maybe during rest periods, fight holographic monsters and live NPC actors, solve puzzles, etc. Aside from the competitive aspect (there is some sort of huge international LARP league), the best games are recorded and marketed.

The making of BWP seems more like a low-tech Dream Park LARP than true moviemaking. While I haven't seen the movie yet, Donohoughe and the others sound more like game players than actors. I can imagine that some people would be interested in taking part in something like this more for the experience than for the sake of making a film. Is it possible that BWP represents the future of interactive gaming more than the future of non-interactive entertainment?

Reading too much into one film (2)

rde (17364) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757440)

Inferring from the specific to the general is always a bad idea, and Katz has done just that here (disclaimer: haven't seen TBWP, and know nothing about it)
Remember when El Mariachi was made for sixteen cents and packet of chewing gum? That wasn't the end of the hollywood blockbuster, and nor will this be.
Style over substance will always be Hollywood's signature.

btw, from Jon's description, TBWP sounds remarkably similar in style to Pi, one of the worst fucking movies I've ever seen. Just because it hasn't got a budget, don't assume it's good.

Re:BWP good due to inventive moviemaking, not lo-t (2)

jedimaster (23143) | more than 15 years ago | (#1757441)

I agree. What really got me was how the movie wasn't dumbed down in any way. You have to really pay attention to understand what the last 5 seconds of film really means. In fact, I had to explain the significance to a few of my friends. What really gets me is that Hollywood would NEVER do anything that requires anything above the intelligence of a rock.

Also, in the Hollywood version of BWP, one of the guys would have screwed Heather. No question about it.
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