17 July 2000 | deadkerouac
Generation Xers head into woods; we view excellent results
I saw this film last night, LONG after all the hype and reviews were made about it. I settled in with the right mood for any film: no expectations. If you expect too much, you may be let down (take note for any Kubrick film). I watched the entire film without interruption and came out with a great feeling. "The Blair Witch Project" is one darn good movie.
Many critics and moviegoers complained about the film for its length, its amateurish photography/editing, and its lack of adequate acting. I feel these things MADE THE MOVIE. First, the film has to be at most ninety minutes long: any more, and it would be too long and boring. Second, the amateur video take gives the audience the feel that they are actually in the woods, listening to the rippling water of the creek, snapping branches under their boots, and hearing things go bump in the night. I greatly admire the use of two video cameras (one black-and-white, the other color) to denote which character is shooting the film. Lastly, the incessant screaming of whiny Heather, the constant complaining of average-joe Mike, and the Dudley-Do-Rightness of Josh make for great acting. Yes, these are regular people and up-and-coming actors from your local community theater, but YOU KNOW THEM. You've met people like them.
The biggest complaint, however, comes from the film's supposed "lack" of scary moments. This film reminds me of the classic horror film "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," and though not as gory and as shocking as that film, "The Blair Witch Project" shows just enough fright in the group's search for a way out of the woods, stalked by people and/or things they may never understand. In the older film, the long interval between opening credits and first gory act of violence is about thirty minutes long; it is even longer here, but the suspense/fright (just as in the older film) begins right from the opening credits: you just don't see it until the film's over. These are three people out to make a documentary in the woods with handheld camcorders--these are REAL PEOPLE. And GREAT ACTORS. Heather whines a lot and screams and reminds you of the girl you hate so much you fall in love with her. Her screams sound real, her cries are genuine, and she is DEEPLY DEEPLY sorry for bringing the others into the woods in order to film her documentary.
I really dig the beginning. It seems so real to me I may delve into my old home movies for nostalgia. Heather and Josh pick up Mike, then go to the store for supplies. This opening sequence really packs a punch. These are three Generation Xers out for a camping trip. We all know what happens to them, but we're glued to the screen, intent to know what actually happens.
The interviews give us some detail into the Blair Witch legend, but most of the audience is too busy thinking about the actual trek into the woods that they don't listen. This is wrong. Listening is good. The interviews, which also sound real and not rehearsed in any way, are like movie reviews: the critics tell you what they saw, but mostly they don't want to ruin it for you...unless they hated it.
And that's what I'll do. I won't ruin it for you. 8/10.