Film Reviews:

The Blair Witch Project

(Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, US, 1999)

This is a film about some teens who get lost in the woods and... well, that's about it really. The rest is largely in their minds and, unfortunately for viewers, in the minds of the directors, as they have chosen not to show or explain anything (largely, it seems, because there is nothing to show or explain). Despite attempts at creating an urban myth backstory in the half-recalled stories of the local townsfolk, the 'plot' is merely a handful of half-baked ideas strung limply together by LOTS of wandering around.

There are countless times in horror cinema where less is more, but there are also times when less is simply a way of padding out a lack of ideas. This is something The Blair Witch Project excels at. The incredibly cheap production values and, most refreshingly, the TV-like screen ratio (which looks very strange on a huge cinema screen with wide black bars at each side of the image) are its strongest assets. Everything else is mostly amateurish and irritating. In one respect, it is good that this did such massive business around the globe. It reminded Hollywood that you don't have to spend limitless millions to secure a box office hit and that can only be a good message to send to those unimaginative studio executives. But anyone who thinks this is scary or original simply hasn't watched enough horror films (it's got one spooky bit right at the end). The concept may have worked on the internet but the film is dull and tedious.

Rob Dyer

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