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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Blair Witch Project - Review (1999) 31 Days of Horror #13

Premise:  A documentary film crew decides to investigate the legend of the Blair Witch... good things happen.

Review:  Let me tell you the story of a strong, intelligent, handsome and brave young man who decided to see a movie that was creating a great deal of buzz as being one of the scariest movies in years.  Being a man that does not scare easy, the handsome fellow decided to buy tickets to the opening night midnight screening.

All was going well, the perfect seat - 4 rows back, dead center.  The necessary contraband snacks and beverages, lining his waistline like a drug smuggler making his way across the border.  After much anticipation and a slew of trailers the movie finally started.  He was surprised by the unorthodox film style, it was amateurish at best.  The shots were shaky, the stars were average looking people, not perfect celebrities, the shot design and editing looked to be handled by a first timer.  As the film moved along he was concerned this movie would not be about a witch at all, but rather a film about a map.  Did I mention he was handsome?

At one time, our hero was a Boy Scout and also had taken family camping trips as a kid.  As the film continued the man found himself becoming more engrossed with the familiar events taking place on screen.  The piles of rocks, sticks, sounds in the night and whispers transformed into things of nightmares past; fears he had during his days camping as a child were brought back to the surface.  The film did a tremendous job of creating that isolated in the unknown, no one can here me scream feeling he had as a kid.  But, this was not like other films - it felt real, the scares were visceral.  By the time the film ended the man was frightened.  Just how frightened he was he would not know until later that evening.

As he made his way to his car he watched his back, every person leaving the theater was a psychopath, every car that had its headlights crossed across his body a potential mechanical murder machine.  Then he got to his car and hopped in quickly to avoid anyone underneath from grabbing his feet.  THEN he started his the foolish routine done by so many that enter their cars in fear after a scary movie.   It is called the "I Am Too Old and Smart To Do This, But I Better Just In Case Test" - the IDIOT Test for short.  The first step: you must sit down and make an unsuspicious glance into the rear view mirror to look for the Blair Witch (or other creatures of the night) that may be rising up over his seat, ready to pounce.  There is a very specific way you have to handle this, if you are too obvious the person hiding would quickly spring out and grab you.  So, it is not only important, but a difference between life and death that you be cool about it.  Glance in the rear view mirror as if you are just a very careful driver going through your pre-drive routine,    pretend that you have to check if something in your eye or that you need to check your hair.  All of these are acceptable and will not trigger a response from the back seat baddie.  Whew, no one there.   If you the rear view mirror test turns out negative move onto the next step.  The ultra-quick, no-look karate chop to the back seat.  Not only will this give you instant notification as to if someone is lurking in your back seat, the karate chop may just do enough damage to allow for an escape.  Hiii-YAh!  If your karate chop make a direct blow to something hairy, slimy or scruffy, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.  Only one more step to safety.  Direct Eye Contact.  After you finish your karate motion, swing your head back to confirm your findings are correct.  Hopefully, you will find an empty seat.  The unlucky few have the unwanted revelation that the baddie was able to avoid the karate chop and cram itself in the tight spot directly behind one seat.  If this is the situation I fear it is over for you... the creature will be annoyed with your insultingly bad mirror uses and the attempt to use martial arts and quickly make minced meat or a meal of you.  On the other hand, if the back seat is empty, feel free to drive home safely.  Just make sure you go directly home, you do not want to have to repeat all these steps again.

His drive took him to an empty house that was not all that familiar to him.  You see, this was his first weekend of temporary living with his brother during his move to Florida.  He was certain everything would be fine, it was a safe neighborhood, he had his brother's fairly relaxed dog to keep him company and really, when you think about it, what happened that night, he just saw a scary movie.  Did his fear somehow tip off the world that this intelligent, overly handsome man was alone and for some reason scared and should be messed with that evening?  Of course not!  That is until he brushed his teeth (after checking the shower curtain... little known fact, killers loves standing in your shower) and went to bed.  He was barely able to close his eyes before that relaxed dog I mentioned did something he had never seen before, the dog was running around the house barking up a storm.  Not only barking, but focusing the barking on the back sliding door (which he never checked to ensure it was locked.)  The dog was running back and forth, jumping at the door, barking, whining... something was out there.  Unfortunately for me, he was supposed to be the only person on the property since my brother was out of town.  This dog that barely moved to get out of my way when he entered the house was suddenly the dog from The Omen.  The barking lasted about 10 minutes.  The damage was done though, he was not more scared than an adult should be.  He tried to get to sleep, usually not an problem.  That night he was an insomniac, waking every few minutes to check the clock to see how long until morning... the clock never seems to move.  It felt like 3:15 am for about 4 hours.  Finally, he was able to get to sleep.

The sun glaring in through the windows woke him up nice and early.  Thank God, he was alive.  He walked out of the room thinking how foolish he had been.  Ha!  A grown man scaring himself like that.  That's when he tumbled to the ground, slipping in a puddle on the floor, landing flat on his stomach face to face with his the corpse of his brother's dog - beheaded.  Slipping with every step, he was finally able to get to his feet, slipping on the rancid puddle of dog blood.  Leaving a trial behind him, he worked his way to the phone to call the police, his brother, anyone to help him.  When he lifted the receiver there was no dial tone.  That is when he noticed the line was cut!  He grabbed his keys, ran out the front and got into his car.  As he started it up he remembered.  I FORGOT TO CHECK THE BACK SEAT!  That is when someone or something jumped out of the back seat and sliced him ear to ear.

OK, I made that last paragraph up.  Sorry.

Years later, the same man was in the middle of a horror film festival he named the FilmSnork 31 Days of Horror - 31 days, viewing a different horror film every day.  One of the films he decided on watching was no other than The Blair Witch Project.  He would prove to himself that no movie would scare him like that again.  He started a campfire in his back yard, poured himself a Scotch, lit a nice cigar and popped his noise blocking headphones on.  At first it was simple.  Then, the pile of rocks part of the film started up.  He found himself looking over his shoulder, taking off his headphones, peering back at the house just to make sure nothing could scare him again.  He was not going to be affected by this poorly shot, film again.  That is when the scene with the voices started up.  he through his cigar in the fire, grabbed his Scotch and finished the film in the house.  Because that is where I that is where he wanted to watch it, no other reason.  The end.

Scariness:        5 out of 5   It is simple. No special effects. No makeup. No CGI.  Just you and your fears.

Gore/Violence:   1 out of 5   I do not recall anything other than some creepy stories about the witch.

Story:                 3.5 out of 5  Simple story that's very effective if you allow yourself to get wrapped up in it.

Overall rating (as a film, not just a horror film):  8 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.

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