The Found Footage Phenomenon Film Studies Essay

The Blair Witch Project is a narrative of an effort of three documental movie pupils to look into the fables of the Blair Witch. Apparently disbelieving, Heather, Joshua, and Michael enter the forests around Burkittsville, Maryland, with two cameras. Heather was determined to document everything in A«as straightforward manner as possibleA» . As the documentarians go profoundly, the friends become unsure of their whereabouts. Soon, they realize that they have lost their manner. At dark, the film makers hear eccentric noises, and in the forenoon, find three fresh stone hills built outside their collapsible shelter. The temper is charged with fright, defeat, and anger as the three is seeking to happen their manner out of the forests but seem to be entrapped and walk in circles. Their sense of day of reckoning is enhanced as one dark, Joshua vanishes without a hint. Following his shrieks, Heather and Michael come to a deserted house in the forests. They go indoors and seek everyplace until Michael runs to the cellar claiming that he has heard Joshua at that place. The footage ends with Heather shouting and dropping the camera on the floor, the last image being of Michael with his face to a wall in the semi-dark cellar.

Bing a mockumentary, The Blair Witch Project chiefly draws on all the elements of the documental genre to accomplish its effects. While the film was being created, the managers launched a selling run by making a web site with bogus studies of the three film makers losing and paperss of the Blair Witch. Therefore, as Emily Shaw points out, “ billed as a factual piece, the phenomenon rapidly gained a cult following ” ( 386 ) . It should be remembered that the feeling produced by a documental movie is that of greater genuineness than made by a fictional movie. Harmonizing to Joseph H. Boggs and Dennis W. Petrie, even the first documental productions “ emanated from what we could name the documental impulse of their Godheads, who wished, rather merely, to document lifeA» ( 460 ) . However, the deduction of the genre from which “ found footage ” takes its roots is more complex as “ documental ” images do non simply record aim world. Like nonfiction literature, a nonfiction movie necessarily presents the subjective vision of its shaper as well ” ( 461 ) . Therefore, it is the blend of grainy-film objectiveness and the subjective first-person narrative of the camera-holder that seems to do the “ found footage ” genre so appealing. The manager of picture taking of The Blair Witch Project Neal Fredericks recalls that most of the picture footage was shot by Donahue, which was designed to supply a more immediate, you-are-there feeling for their daily behind-the-scenes experiences on this fictional category undertaking. “ I ‘ve had some experience reassigning picture to movie, so I knew that when we finally transferred all of the footage to a 35mm print, the aesthetic qualities of the 35mm movie would take some of the border off the picture, doing it a spot softer and more pleasing to the oculus ” ( Pizzello, 100 ) .

Movie experts have applauded Myrick and Sanchez for the luring rawness of their attack. For illustration, Melinda Corey and George Ochoa noted that the film “ shooting on 16mm black and white and colour digital picture, was commended for its documental manner, film overing the lines between world and fiction ” ( 131 ) . Another expert, Kevin Harley, called The Blair Witch Project a “ guerilla-indie hit that, while pulling on mockumentary uneasiness, channeled natural edge-of-sight fright. Blair ‘s ambiguities amplify its resonances ” ( 110 ) .

The consequence of their ‘first-person narrative ‘ technique of The Blair Witch Project was intriguing at the clip ; nevertheless, Myrick and Sanchez ‘ replacements have since well ameliorated their method. The usage of mirrors, for illustration, in Chronicle ( manager: Josh Trank, screenplay: Max Landis, cameraman: Matthew Jensen ) , a narrative of three high-school pupils who get telekinetic powers, or Paranormal Activity ( written, directed and filmed by Oren Peli ) was advanced for the genre. In Chronicle, the mirrors non merely progress its supporter ‘s Andrew ‘s word picture as a egotistic adolescent but besides help to do the film more visually sophisticated than the early specimens of the genre. In Paranormal Activity, mirrors hint at its supporters Katie ‘s and Micah ‘s dual egos every bit good as their relationship ‘s gradual decomposition.

Another betterment in the “ found footage ” genre has been its enlargement from the sphere of horror ( i.e. enchantresss, liquors and devils ) to the scientific discipline fiction movie as illustrated, for illustration, by Cloverfield ( 2008 ) and Chronicle. The critic of civilization Bruce Kawin has made a differentiation between the effects that horror and scientific discipline fiction movies produce on the spectator. Harmonizing to him, “ one goes to the horror movie in order to hold a incubus… , a dream whose undertone of anxiousness both nowadayss and masks the desire to carry through and be punished for certain unconventionally unacceptable urges ” . Furthermore, Kawin claims that “ scientific discipline fiction entreaties to consciousness, horror to the unconscious ” ( qtd. in Boggs, Petrie, 422 ) . Another cultural critic J.P. Telotte noticing on sci-fi filmmaking points out that the genre “ has evidently staked out as its particular district the latest possibilities of ruse… through the really latest of technological development in film ” . Tellote goes on to congratulate the Godheads of scientific discipline fiction movies for eventually doing this ruse “ look to be less its terminal than its methodaˆ¦ merely a most effectual wayaˆ¦ for estimating the human ” ( qtd. in Boggs, Petrie, 422 ) . It is true that “ found footage ” movies have increasingly focused on researching the human status. One of the permeant subjects that unite The Blair Witch Project, Chronicle, and Paranormal Activity is their several characters ‘ inability to get by with world and isolation ; besides, their handheld cameras play a critical function in this. One of the managers of The Blair Witch Project Eduardo Sanchez claims that he drew his inspiration for the film from such films as The Shining and The Exorcist. And merely like in The Shining ( produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick ) , a 1980 movie about a janitor traveling insane in a snowbound hotel and taking it out on his married woman and kid, the permeant subject of Myrick and Sanchez ‘s mockumentary is psychological and physical isolation, which, harmonizing to Sanchez, is “ the key to horror movies ” ( Fletcher, 29 ) . While the three immature film makers seeking for the grounds of the Blair Witch find themselves cut off from the outside universe, their leader Heather, possibly, has ever been so, for as Joshua half-jokingly comments to her at one point in the film: “ We see why you like this picture camera so much. It ‘s non rather world. It ‘s wholly… filtered world. It ‘s like you can feign everything ‘s non rather the manner it is ” . Heather has no remark on this, but Joshua ‘s raillery is echoed in Chronicle, where Steven inquiries Andrew about ever seting up a camera between himself and the universe as a barrier, whereas in Paranormal Activity, Katie repeatedly blames Micah for preferring the camera to human communicating. However, while no grounds are given for Heather ‘s self-isolation behind her camera ‘s oculus, the topic is much better elaborated in more recent “ found-footage ” . In Chronicle, it is evidently Andrew ‘s opprobrious and alcoholic male parent and the terminal unwellness of his female parent that drive him to “ suppress world ” through the camera lens. In Paranormal Activity, Micah ‘s camera plays a function of its ain, ab initio used by him to place the supernatural activity in the twosome ‘s house but really stimulates its effusions and brings about his death. It is notable that modern ‘home-video’-look managers have “ detached ” the camera from the histrion, therefore withstanding the very impression of ‘handheld ‘ – and non without success. For case, the telekinetic high-schoolers in Chronicle can do the camera float in the air, merely like they do, or, like Micah in Paranormal Activity, leave it working on a tripod and reexamine the footage subsequently, therefore making a apposition of the past and present-time planes in the narrative – something impossible in the early “ found-footage ” yearss. Furthermore, unlike the late 20th-century hand-held Cam fiction, the modern “ found-footage ” shapers have progressively been utilizing conventional subjects and narrative techniques. Chronicle, for case, is nil but an history of a affaire d’honneur between good and evil, a capable common to tonss of Hollywood productions that even transcends the restriction of one secret plan line: the ab initio equivocal but finally fixed relationship of Matt and Casey is opposed to the history of Andrew ‘s ruin. Furthermore, Chronicle entreaties to its mark audience by turn toing the adolescent compulsion with sex every bit good as the nerd-turned-Superhero subject, whereas the violent eruptions of Paranormal Activity could be seen rather conventionally as an artistic metaphor for the love-hate relationship between Katie and Micah.

The success of this intercrossed attack has made even the sires of the “ found-footage ” genre redefine their precedences. Harmonizing to one of the work forces behind The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchez, he has late been “ frustrated by the thought of ever holding to hold the camera on ” . This twelvemonth, Sanchez has released Lovely Molly, a horror movie shooting partially with the aid of handheld and partially with conventional camera. The manager says, “ Whether it ‘s found footage or conventional filmmaking, a good thought will exceed ” ( 29+ ) .

Plants Cited

Leonard, Michael Williams. Artisan Entertainment, 1999

Boggs, Joseph H. , Petrie, Dennis W. The Art of Watching Films. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield

Printing Company, 2000

Buzz Section. “ The Movie Book of Records. ” Entire Film. Dec. 2007: 44-45

Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa, Eds-in-Chief. The American Film Institute Desk

Reference. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc. , 2002

Harley, Kevin, A«History of Horror. The 90s.A» Total Film. Nov. 2007: 110+

Pizzello, Stephen. Rev of The Blair Witch Project by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez.

American Cinematographer. Apr. 1999: 97-100.

Sanchez, Eduardo. “ Director Interview: Lost and Found. ” Entire Film. Issue 195 ( 2012 ) : 29+

Shaw, Emily. “ Daniel Myrick. ” Contemporary North American Film Directors. A Wallflower

Critical Guide. London and New York: Wallflower Press, 2002