The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American supernatural horror film written, directed, and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. The film was produced by Haxan Films and distributed by Artisan Entertainment. It premiered on January 25, 1999 at the Sundance Film Festival and was released on July 14, 1999 in the United States. A sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, was released in October 2000. A third film, Blair Witch, followed in September 2016.
In October 1994, film students Heather, Mike, and Josh set out to produce a documentary about the fabled Blair Witch, traveling to Burkittsville, Maryland, and interviewing residents about the legend. Locals tell them of a hermit named Rustin Parr, who lived in the woods and kidnapped eight children in the 1940s. They spend the night in a hotel and explore the woods in north Burkittsville the following day to research the legend. Along the way, they meet two fisherman, one of whom warns them that the woods are haunted. He also tells them of a young girl named Robin Weaver who went missing in 1888 - when she returned three days later, she talked about "an old woman whose feet never touched the ground." However, his companion is skeptical of the story. The students hike to Coffin Rock, where five men were found ritualistically murdered in the 19th century, their bodies later disappearing. The group camps for the night.
The next day, they move deeper into the woods and locate what appears to be an old cemetery with seven small cairns and set up camp nearby. That night, they hear the sound of twigs snapping from all directions but assume the noises are from animals or locals. The following day, they attempt to hike back to the car, but are unable to find it before dark and make camp. They again hear twigs snapping at night but fail to find the source of the noises.
The next morning, they find that three cairns have been built around their tent during the night, unnerving them. As they continue, Heather realizes her map is missing and Mike later reveals that he kicked it into the river out of frustration, enraging Heather and Mike into attacking him. They realize that they are now lost and decide simply to head south, eventually reaching a section where they discover a multitude of humanoid sticks figures suspended in trees. That night, they hear strange sounds again, including the sound of children laughing among other things. An unknown force shakes their tent, causing them to flee in panic and hide out in the woods until dawn.
Upon returning to the tent, they find their possessions have been rummaged through and Josh's equipment covered in slime. As they continue, they come across a log on a river identical to the one they crossed earlier, and quickly realize that they have walked in a circle, despite having traveled south all day, and once again make camp. Josh suffers a breakdown while holding the camera and taunts Heather for their circumstances and her constant recording of the events.
The next morning, Josh has disappeared, and Heather and Mike try in vain to find him, before slowly moving on. That night, they hear Josh's agonized screams in the darkness but are unable to locate him. The pair theorize that Josh's screams are fabricated by the witch to draw them out of their tent.
The next day, Heather discovers a bundle of sticks tied with a piece of fabric from Josh's shirt outside of her tent. As she searches through it, she finds blood-soaked scraps of Josh's shirt as well as teeth, hair, and what appears to be a piece of his tongue. Although distraught by the discovery, she chooses not to tell Mike. That night, Heather records herself apologizing to her family, and to Mike and Josh's families, taking full responsibility for their predicament.
They again hear Josh's agonized cries for help and follow them to a derelict, abandoned house containing symbols of children's bloody hand-prints on the wall. Mike races upstairs to find Josh while Heather follows. Mike says he hears Josh in the basement and runs downstairs while a hysterical Heather struggles to keep up. Upon reaching the basement, Mike is attacked by an unseen force, causing him to drop the camera and go silent. Heather enters the basement screaming, and her camera captures Mike facing a corner. Something unseen attacks Heather, causing her to drop the camera and go silent as well. The footage continues for another moment and ends.
- Heather Donahue as herself
- Joshua Leonard as himself
- Michael C. Williams as himself