I know The Blair Witch Project seems to leave viewers with a pretty strong love or hate reaction after watching the film. I will state up front that it is one of my all time horror favorites. It was the first found footage movie I ever watched and was like nothing else I had ever seen.
I was stationed at Fort Hood, TX when the media blitz for The Blair Witch Project started. The ads running on television had us mesmerized. The footage looked so authentic and real at the time. The missing persons posters and the website added to the hype. As members of the unit would go watch the movie the anticipation built for those of us that had not seen it.
I finally saw it with my future ex-wife and some friends that had come for a visit. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie from start to finish. It was a slow burn and I really dig those types of films. The other three people had different reactions ranging from "it was ok" to "that was stupid". I noticed that similar conversations were taking place among the small groups leaving the theater.
The film was an overwhelming success and really brought the found footage genre into popularity. There have been other films such as Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, and a whole slew of others that have used the technique. I even read that a found footage Friday the 13th film has been considered. I would watch the hell out of that!
The sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, was done in a more conventional manner. It did not create the same type of buzz as the original Blair Witch. The third film, Blair Witch, was more in line with the story of the original film.