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“In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary… A year later their footage was found.”
After reading this advert for the movie The Blair Witch Project, I just had to see it. I use the word movie, but it is actually supposed to be a documentary, so please forgive me if I call this a movie.
Using footage of separate film-cameras, this movie is put together allowing us to see the last known footsteps of three unfortunate individuals: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams and Josh Leonard. And to begin with we are given a character insight to these three college students starting their adventure into the woods, and a feel for the legend that is the Blair Witch.
You discover that back in 1941, Rustin Parr (a hermit from the woods) went into the local town and announced that he was finally finished. And when police searched his house, they found the bodies of young children murdered in a ritualistic manner. The reason you may ask? The ghost of an old woman told him to do it.
During the students trek through the forest, they begin to hear strange sounds at night, and to make matters worse, end up getting lost. Piles of stones and strange figures created by sticks begin to appear. At this point you can see the motivation and excitement drain from the students, and fear setting in. It appears that they have been going around in circles and the forest is alive.
Josh disappears and the search to find him, together with the attempt to find an exit out of the woods goes on. Heather and Michael then stumble across what appears to be the derelict home of Rustin Parr. And with the cries for help from what they think is Josh, they enter the house.
The house is gutted with only the walls demonstrating what evil rituals must have taken place as handprints of children decorate the interiors along with other strange markings. Michael in his search for Josh, and after running upstairs runs back downstairs into the cellar leaving Heather struggling behind. Heather enters the cellar to discover Michael is in the corner facing the wall. At this point we cast are minds back to the story told by two fishermen near the woods entrance, that Rustin would make the children stand in the corner facing the wall because he could feel their eyes watching him as he carried out his ritualistic acts. Heather’s screaming and obvious fear for what is happening is cut short with what seems like an attack from behind.
During this movie including the ending, we see nothing to indicate a witch or any other evil presence. And the movie uses the student’s fear as its storyboard.
I have to confess that I did enjoy watching this movie at the pictures, but not so much on video at home. I think a dark picture house and load surround sound adds to the atmosphere and the effects of this movie, but does leave you asking questions regarding what it was in the house at the end.
The video does give an effect that this is a real documentary, mainly due to the follow up release of the information video ‘The Legend Of The Blair Witch’. And I think Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, the writers and directors of The Blair Witch Project, gave the movie industry something it had been lacking for a while – fiction is sometimes scary, but reality can be much more frightening.
I do recommend this is one that has to be watched, but I can fully understand that is not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. The Blair Witch has a love it or hate it effect, and not all fans of psychological horrors are going to be satisfied. If you do decide to watch this, remember to turn the lights off, the sound up, and make sure nothing is behind you.