It was called groundbreaking for a reason. When it was put theaters in 1999, the horror genre desperately needed something fresh. Blair Witch Project delivered that. The starting concept is simple. Film students go out to investigate a local legend and discover something far more sinister. Suspense abounds and flourishes, until the very end. The Maryland forest unnerves the audience and presents a hopeless and harsh setting for the story to move through. As the movie enters its last act, the actors show off their full acting ability for a fitting end. Any horror movie fanatic must watch it.
With relatively unknown cast and an entirely new idea, it made more than forty times its starting budget in profit. The Blair Witch Project showed exactly how far a little effort can go. The set, actors, and even the antagonist were incredibly simple and incredibly effective. It made history for just those reasons. Watching humans struggle against the unknown, powerless against the supernatural forces around them, is more interesting than watching a serial killer chase around scared teenagers like an episode of Scooby-Doo that takes itself way too seriously.
The movie itself is not flawless. All of the characters could use development beyond their stereotypes as wild college students and they are not sympathetic until they start to suffer. The first act seems unbearably dull until the actions starts. True to its found footage roots, the camera shakes constantly and can make you motion sick, but it is well worth this gem in the horror genre.