30 Days of Fright – 07: The Blair Witch Project

Time flies. There’s no doubt about it. It seems like only yesterday that we were getting used to the introduction of the Euro (well, those of us in the Euro zone anyway), people like me were making a pile of cash off that Y2K bullshit, and George W. Bush began his run for the US Presidency. All these things happened in 1999 as did another horror.

The Blair Witch Project is the movie cobbled together out of the supposedly recovered footage of three student film makers who went into the woods near Burkittsville (a town formally called Blair) to make a documentary about the local legends of witches and murder. The film was recovered but the three students never were.

The footage that was found shows how the three, Heather, Josh, and Mike, set off in high spirits to make their film over a day or two. They find a couple of locals to interview who tell them the different local folk stories and basically fill their heads full of nonsense. Out in the woods, they visit a couple of landmarks to film and make camp for the night. The next day they managed to get lost in the woods and are forced to camp again as morale in the group begins to deteriorate.

As none of the gang possess any outdoor skills at all they remain lost and make camp for an unexpected third night. During the night they experience a series of unsettling disturbances and they become convinced that locals are messing with them, until the disturbances take a nasty turn.

After a hard day peeling onions, Heather was looking forward to taking off her silly hat (and blowing her nose)

The Blair Witch Project was a phenomenon of public relations that introduced the wider world to the concept of viral marketing and faux documentary style film making. There never were three kids making a film who disappeared, there never was a Blair Witch. What really happened was a very effective internet marketing scheme that made the public believe that the whole thing was real, thus predisposing audiences to being proper scared of the movie as they were sure they were witnessing what happened to the three eejits who vanished in the woods.

You may remember this being effective right up to the point where you actually saw the movie. No amount of internet hype could cover up the fact that the film is shite.

The three students are all equally unlikeable and monumentally stupid so almost from the very beginning of the film you just want to get onto the scary parts to see what happens to them, and you’re hoping it’ll be bad. For the majority of the film nothing happens except the three fighting with each other. You never really see anything frightening so you’re expected to derive any horror in the movie from the fear of the unknown that the kids are experiencing, but you don’t care for them, so you end up sitting through a viewing of Blair Witch in a kinda numb state, all the while trying to get passed stupid trivialities like why did Heather keep filming (despite her bullshit reasonings) and if they were going filming for a day or two how come they had enough batteries and film in the cameras to last nearly a week, and how come they complained all the time about the lack of food but never once mentioned water?

The only redeeming feature of the film is the end (I won’t spoil it). The end is either really simple or shockingly contrived, I’m not sure which, but it did get my heart racing.

One Thumb Up and One Thumb Down for The Blair Witch Project.

For a little light reading (for when you can’t sleep) check out:
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blair_Witch_Project
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185937/
Official Site: http://www.blairwitch.com/

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