Filmmakers Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick legendarily made their stars their victims in a days-long hazing probably only surpassed by the abuses Hitchcock heaped upon his leading ladies. The three luckless youths lost in the woods aren't afraid in the way that people in films are, they get afraid and spooked like people who aren't acting.
Sequels exist. In many cases, sequels are pointless; here their pointlessness damages the original. Ignore them.
1Look, you know how The Blair Witch Project goes. Three student filmmakers (Heather Donohue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams, playing characters with the same names as themselves) are researching a documentary about a cycle of folklore in the backwoods of Maryland, and the stories include a ghost, a hermit who murders children in his shack, a witch. They talk to some locals and then head off into the woods, expecting to be back tomorrow, and they're not; they get more and more lost, they get tormented in the night by strange noises and movements, and find little piles of rocks, dolls made of twigs, and then something happens to them and they vanish, and the bulk of the film is the footage they took while lost because of Heather's (and, eventually, Mike's) obsessive urge to document everything. The relationships between the three develop in different ways; Heather is demanding, Josh is laid-back and Mike is impatient, and these things rise to a head and then alter as each of them loses patience with the others, and breaks down and is reduced to a more elemental, honest self by exhaustion, frustration and rising dread. And the honesty, the empathy that they eventually find for each other, these things do not save them.
You have to buy into this film. I recall that I went to the cinema to see this with three friends, and I thought it was excellent and the others absolutely hated it. It isn't what you expect to see, even if you've been primed for it. You're expecting a haunting, and instead you get three young people, none of them terribly likeable, just normal people, getting increasingly lost, tired and afraid, like real people do, not film actors. To get the most out of The Blair Witch Project, you require a conscious act of empathy unlike that you normally engage for a film's characters.