The Blair Witch Project
|Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
|Artisian Entertainment; 87 minutes; R
|Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard
The Blair Witch Project is an incredibly scary movie scrapped together by two men fresh out of film school, with virtually no cast, budget, or special effects. Fear of the unknown, of rising panic in presences felt but not seen yield much more dread and primal tension than commonplace computer-generated monstrosities. Add a heavy dose of creativity (especially given the limitations of a small budget) and The Blair Witch Project emerges as one of the most promising films in recent memory.
The premise is this: a three-person documentary film crew heads to the Maryland woods to make a quick piece about a grim local legend — Blair Witch. What begins with goofy behind-the-scenes footage of the filmmakers romping around and interviewing locals quickly darkens as the crew gets lost in the forest and the film builds with insidious malignant momentum. Ominous augers accumulate into horrible episodes. The audience only sees what the crew “filmed”; the low-budget documentary style actually enhances the fear and insures The Blair Witch Project's raw visceral punch. Nightmarish scenes involving sheer darkness, blurry camera movements, eerie sounds, and psychological breakup — all used here to perfection — are just the beginning. Projected nightmares to make Hitchcock proud.