Straight From a Movie

Pensive Thoughts on Paper | Movie Reviews and Quotes Website

Tag: Mike

Why was The Blair Witch Project so popular? Exploring Marketing Strategy

Seven years ago, when The Blair Witch Project showed up, it had the world dancing to its tune. Why, you ask? Well apart from the creepy factor that it tacked on, it made an assertion. That the movie was an actual footage of students who disappeared in the woods, and that everything that happened, really happened. So, even whilst the world watched ensuing chaos in stark dead silence, in the back of their mind, they were thinking it was all a true story.


One of the directors of the movie, Eduardo Sanchez went so far as to create a website in order to nail the myth further down. His website built this hoax around every character in the movie, and declared them dead too. They claimed the tape was actually retrieved and then was edited down to fit the cinema view time. Creators had claimed that it was the actual footage. Hence, the world went nuts.

image of a godzilla footprint

That’s what worked for it in the first place. The lie that it was built on. It reminds me of how as a kid I went on to create a gargantuan footprint in my backyard to have my friends convinced that Godzilla had actually stepped on our lawn. I was so sure that I would create its left leg imprint as well in the nearby field, to make it seem all very palpable, that if it weren’t for the exhaustion my fake Dino might have had a chance. It would have created the next day’s headlines. At least in my head, it would have.

That very equation, the thrill it tags along when you say a ghost is real, or a witch’s black magic made it happen, that’s what rivets our attention instantly. Had they cleared that out even before releasing The Blair Witch Project, maybe it wouldn’t have remained as popular.


No wonder, there are marketing statements whenever a horror movie releases. Like when someone claims you cannot watch this movie alone, and you take it up as a challenge. You wonder if it is really that scary. But the bottom-line is with an assertive defiance gnawing at your soul, you end up watching the movie. Just to see that for yourself, as to what makes someone fling such a ballsy assertion?

It has worked many times in the past, still works every time, and will keep on working in the long run. Because for a split second we let our sanity get deluged by our fear quotient.

The Blair Witch Project’s marketing was beyond that. They had thought it all through, to make a hoax so palpable that the whole world would believe it. They buried their actors and asked them not to show up until their lie came out first out in the open. Hell Donahue’s mother would even receive sympathy cards!

image of the blair witch project girl Heather Donohue


Directors of The Blair Witch Project made sure that video camera shots looked realistic bringing the right amount of shakiness to it. Emotions oozed out real, and they wanted to make sure that despair spoke enough. Nobody wants to be shot at when they are really pissed. So, there was always someone shouting at poor Heather who wished to document everything.

Not even for a second in the movie do we get to see a glimpse of the witch. But her witchcraft acts are strewn all across. Bawling voices of the children, voo doo acts across the tent, mysterious disappearance of Josh and messing with the head of the cast are all suggestive of badass sorcery.

It is a great way of shooting the movie actually, as that elemental surprise is always lurking in it. You are constantly wondering how a witch might appear out of the blue and scare you. You invariably shiver to that very thought.

Haven’t watched it yet? You can buy the DVD from here:


Now that a follow up of The Blair Witch Project is going to hit the theatres pretty soon, I don’t really have high hopes for it. Primarily because the world already knows. Even if you end up hunting the real witch and show glimpses of her, it still wouldn’t be the same. Primarily because it will always lack the freshness of the original, and the insane viral lie Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez created is now out in the open.

Check out the trailer of the Blair Witch Project, the first installment here:

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Review (2014) | Genius

Exhilarating! Extraordinary performances! Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is an outstanding flick that tries to capture the life of a washed up actor, his continuous battle to prove his mettle in the acting world once again. Michael Keaton, the protagonist plays a character that is miffed by his psychotic split persona, in his endeavour to revive and in the process, get a hold of himself.

Plot of Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s riveting drama isn’t just about a lost actor who is trying to find himself through a Broadway play but is also about a broken man trying to justify his relevance to the world. Birdman is an extremely well written dramatic account of Riggan’s life, his tattered relationships, his dream to make it big once again and the alter-ego that literally rules over him. 

still of michael keaton in birdman movie


Inarittu’s direction is a beauty as he merges several frames subtly to project a continuous shot. The whole movie seems like it has been shot in a single take, and that illusion is worth an ovation. The director also gorgeously masters every frame’s timing quotient. Every act starts with a proper follow through of a character only getting intercepted when it’s someone else’s queue. The flow and rhythm of the movie is simply splendid. 

There is something beautiful about Birdman’s story. The ploy is brilliantly narrated through the messed up head of Riggan with glimpses from his past debacles, screenplay that makes you brood that often cross over for emphasis, an ever ending take that goes on till the climax, and a conclusion that loosely dangles for intense interpretation. Everything has been wrapped up beautifully by an audacious and dark voice in his head, the one big thing he ever was – Birdman, one big success from the past that keeps haunting him, telling him he isn’t dead and that he flies above the meaningless. 

Breaking Birdman Down

With an imaginary backdrop working along with the protagonist, you already know that you are in for a fantasy-world. What is crucial is that you pay attention. There are minute subtle hints that will blow your mind away while trying to connect the dots. 

If we overlook the mind boggling ending for a while, still we are left with some exceptional drama pieces like when Sam speaks up to her father and shatters him with cold, when Riggan takes on a famous NYT critic in a bar and excellent conversations between Mike and Sam and Lesley’s remorse. Things become intense owing to bits of psychotic drama as Riggan inches towards insanity. The climax of the movie leaves you spell bound and is deliberately left open for interpretation.

Final Epilogue Explained (Spoilers)

If you have not seen the movie, please stop reading at once. But if you have, the ending is sure to raise a dozen doubts in your head. 

The flick ends in a surreal epilogue with Riggan jumping out of the window, and Sam reacting happily to her Father’s ‘flying’ act. The one theory that I would like to believe but not stick to is Riggan’s death after he shot himself during the theater act. Reasons that reassure me of this:

  • The plot was one continuous single take but the continuity breaks for the first time right after Riggan shoots himself.
  • In the hospital when Jake switches on the TV it showed people lighting candles for him. You don’t do that for a person who is alive. Du-uh dead! 
  • The hospital scene was probably the next day right after the incident. Sam bringing flowers for him could be at his funeral. This justified by his inability to smell them. His funeral again supported by the fact that her wife was wearing a black dress. 

Riggan jumping out of the window could be a symbolism of his soul transcending, as he finally rejects Birdman to be his only way to stardom. Sam’s smile in the end could be her acceptance of her father’s feat as a true hero.

Contradicting the Above Theory

What contrasts the above ‘dead’ theory greatly is the fact that there were several past failed suicidal endeavors by Riggan which have been subtly inserted into the screenplay. Lesley responding to Ralph once: “He shot himself in the mouth. But he screwed that up, too.” The Jellyfish story goes on to show how Riggan was unsuccessful in killing himself in the past. So shooting the nose seems plausible. Then it takes us again to the hospital part. Taking this theory ahead on the vanguard, we can say that the imagination of Riggan once again begins right from the part he decides to take off the bandages and the rest that follows is once again the imagination bit. In the end he flew fantastically and figuratively with an acknowledgment sign from her daughter. This seals the deal too.

Whatever the case might have been Birdman is truly a rare feat that must be celebrated. Go ahead and watch this movie if you wish to visit some avant-garde style of film-making.

Check out the trailer of Birdman movie here:


Horrible Bosses Review (2014)

The wacky trio is back and they are back with not only a bang, but also a good script by Sean Anders. So they wish to be bosses this time in Horrible Bosses. Little do they know getting into those shoes is a Herculean task.

The humour is brilliant. What do you expect when the likes of Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis steer comedy together with their brilliant comic timing? Charlie Day beams you up with his clumsiness and keeps the humour alive. All of them are really funny. What makes Bateman unique is that he is the only sane person in the group trying to jack-hammer some sense into his moronic buddies whilst Jason and Charlie keep driving into the inane all the time.

Both Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine wear the wicked veil just fine. And Jamie the MF, is still awesome. The way he negotiates. Ha! 😛 So many great laughs strewn all across the flick, it wouldn’t let you settle down for a bit.

The story was a bit predictable as we knew things had to go kaput since the franchise is all about that. However, dope comic timing of actors saved the flick from being an average comedy.

Oh! And yeah! There is Mike 😉 Breaking Bad fans will be thrilled. But alas it is kind of a cameo!

Go for this one. Hysterical stuff!