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The Blair Witch Project

Filthy says:
"It's pretty
fucking good."

A big filthy man just soiled his trousers. And now he must make a quick, smelly escape from the theater. What's worse is this is one of them pretentious art-house theaters where they show the movies with the misspelled subtitles, and it's full of pretentious assholes (men with goatees and women with hairy armpits) acting like they're so smart that they already know what the movie's about before it begins. They act like they never shit their pants.

Well, I got news for you, Mensa-member pricks! Pant-shitting has nothing to do with how smart you are. Actually, dropping a squishy load of digested corn and beef into my Levi's had to do with being scared out of my fucking mind while watching "The Blair Witch Project." If that makes me a pussy, so be it. All you eggheads can tell your friends at the Starbuck's that the Filthy Critic is a big scaredy-cat.

First off, there is a lot of talk out there about whether or not this is a true story. I won't say anything on this subject, except that it's not a true story. It's a fictional story by some young movie producers who had nothing better to do than dream up schemes for directing the contents of my bowels to involuntarily pile up in the seat of my jeans.

Here is the sound I made: Ppppbbbbbbbbt - smmmmuussshhmmmm.

Legend has it that n the 1800s, the small town of Blair was terrorized by a witch. She, or people under her spell, tortured and killed children and search parties in the dark woods surrounding the town. The last supposed act of the Blair Witch was 50 years ago when she killed a group of children. In 1994, three slightly annoying film school students headed off into the wintry Maryland hinterlands to document the legend of the Blair Witch. All of the footage in "Blair Witch" is from their video and movie cameras.

The kids don't know whether the legend is true or not. As they move into the woods and identify the landmarks of legends, they get lost. They lose their map and they run out of food. They grow tired and frightened at the prospect that they are going to starve to death in the woods. And, hysteria and dementia set in just a bit. At night, they are woken by the sounds of footsteps and the cries of anguished children outside their tent.

Long after they should have left the woods, they are still lost. With each day they become more frantic. And each night, the howls of pain and horror get closer. One morning, they find three small grave markers outside their tent. One night, their tent is attacked and rocked, and the three kids haul ass into the unknown of the woods. The terror escalates from there, either in their minds or by unseen forces that may be local pranksters or may be the Blair Witch. The footage that makes up the movie was found in the woods a year later, but the students were never found.

Now, I've got nothing against seeing some of these fancy-lad film school fucks get knocked around. Maybe it'll knock some of that "let's pretend we're Quentin Tarantino" bullshit right out of their flimsy skulls. So, in itself, getting film students all worked up doesn't sound scary. In fact, it sounds like a fan-fucking-tastic idea. What makes the premise more horrifying than being buried alive with Liberace's corpse is that we are with the students every step of the way. We're right beside them the whole creepy time, seeing the story through their cameras. We watch them argue, panic about food and cigarettes, and we see the mounting evidence that something is going to get them if they don't find a way out of the woods.

In most of the "spooky" movies Hollywood cranks out, we're an audience watching from a distance. Seeing these kids get scared through their own cameras draws us closer to the action. The kids talk and act like real people. There are no Hollywood screams to tell us to be scared, nothing that jumps out from around a corner, and no bloodbaths. That's all stuff that makes you jump, but it ain't the stuff that crawls around in the back of your mind for a very long time. "Blair Witch" sticks with you. It reminds you that you don't want to die and, most of all, you don't want to be tortured and killed by something unseen.

The possibility of a witch is scary, but it's the only this movie's capper. The fear of death from starvation and frozen temperatures is always with these kids and provides the basis for tension. The longer they stay in the woods, the less likely it seems they will get out. Then, to have the potential of a death worse than starvation pounding on your tent, making effigies out of wood bundles, tracking you through the woods, and crying in agony just sends the chill down your spine.

The Hollywood fucks in their ergonomically correct chairs could never make this movie. They can't even imagine being lost in the woods or starving to death because they never take their Lexus SUVs off the road. For fuck's sake, they can't even fill their own gas tanks. Plus, they don't have the patience to get you a little more scared every minute. Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick, the makers of "Blair Witch" have the patience to get us a little bit more scared every moment.

Hey Kids, get Filthy's Reading, Listening and Movie Picks for this week.

The quality of the movie couldn't be lower if it was a snuff film. It's jittery, hand-held digitally-enhanced video and 16 mm black and white film. Supposedly, that's all the kids in the movie could afford. It works because it makes the story more believably from their points-of view and it gives it a sense of urgency that carefully staged scenes can't achieve. But, it also makes for hard watching. There are long black periods where all you hear is the soundtrack of screaming people. Sometimes you can't make heads or tails of what the fuck's going on. It's sort of like watching the scrambled porn channel on cable.

And it's not the kind of movie that'll hold up to repeated viewing. The tension and suspense build from the fact that you don't know what will happen next, so you won't be scared while watching it once you know what happens. But, hell, I only needed to be scared once. I don't think I need to be scared like this again for a while. Four shaky fingers for "The Blair Witch Project" and a sigh of relief that I've slept mostly okay since seeing it.

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