Blair Witch Project

Movie Review by Vickie Jones

Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams
Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez, Joshua Leonard

NEW cult movie THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT has to be every young, aspiring director?s dream. Get a few friends together, pool your resources and make a worldwide blockbuster movie in a staggering eight days. This film has caused waves of excitement throughout the movie industry. A clever use of publicity and the internet has created a buzz, whereby cinema enthusiasts want to be the first to see what all the fuss is about.

BLAIR WITCH has broken tradition due to its shockingly low budget, lack of Hollywood actors and amateur use of cinematography. First-time directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez were resourceful, to the point where they even interchanged roles with the producer. But despite the lack of money, time and special effects, BLAIR WITCH is guaranteed to set pulses racing. This approach could be a thing of the future as it goes to show that a movie blockbuster does not have to have a hotshot celebrity to pull in an audience. This must be a scary thought for the likes of Bruce Willis and Tom Cruise.

If you have ever been camping and frozen with fear after listening to the rustling of leaves or animals in the night then you will be able to relate to this film, as it really taps into your imagination. The majority of the film is set deep within woodlands, just outside the town of Burkittsville, known as Maryland?s Black Hills. We are told three amateur filmmakers mysteriously disappeared in the woods on 21 October 1994 and all that remained was this footage. Cue three young adults, who look like they should be hanging out in a student union bar rather than a wood with an eerie past. After interviewing the residents in Burkittsville they discover there are spooky goings on in the woods. A witch, who kills children, is rumoured to have lived there. So what do the foolhardy group do? You guessed it, go where they shouldn?t. So, they head into the woods with nothing more than backpacks and hand-held cameras. But tensions become fraught when the three, who you wonder how they ever got on in the first place, begin to fall out with each other. All three actors use their own names, Heather Donahue as the slave-driving director, Joshua Leonard as the reluctant cameraman and Michael Williams as the sound technician, whose main concern is to get the rented equipment back in time and in one piece. Donahue then realizes her treasured map has disappeared and they have no way of finding their way out of the woods. Donahue really carries this film and one dramatic close-up shot of her terrified face is quite spine chilling.

This is more a film about things which go bump in the night, creating a spooky campfire atmosphere, rather than a film which has you leaping out of your chair with fright. Do not expect a rollercoaster ride of fear and terror but more a creepy walk through the woods. Nevertheless, still a good night?s entertainment.

4 out of 6 stars

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