The Blair Witch Project
Directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick
Starring: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael Williams, some stick figures, and one scary house.
I’ve never been to a movie where the entire audience simultaneously exhaled after holding its collective breath for the last 20 minutes of the screening. I’ve seen this movie twice now, and I’ve left the theater shaking both times. I’ve vowed never to go camping again, least of all in my home state of Maryland.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the premise: three film students disappear in the deep dark western Maryland woods while filming a documentary on the (fictitious) local legend, the Blair Witch. A year later, their footage is unearthed. The movie, which is their video and audio footage compiled, helps us relive their last terrifying days.
We first meet Heather, Josh, and Mike (the actors use their given names) as they prepare for their three-day investigation. They’re in good spirits as they set out for the first day of filming, getting acquainted, cracking jokes and interviewing locals. The second day we see them drive into the woods and begin their hike. We watch as they pitch a tent in the pouring rain, as Josh reveals hearing “a definite cackle” in the night, and as Mike boldly states that he doesn’t fully trust Heather. We see tempers flare as Josh and Heather argue, as they discover that the map has disappeared, that the compass is broken, that they are lost. Some of the tensest scenes, however, are what we don’t see. As the trio travels deeper and deeper into the woods, they are harassed and tormented nocturnally. As the nights progress, the manifestations increase, both in frequency and severity. We hear the children laughing, the echoing footsteps snapping twigs all around the camp, the screams that seemed to come from all directions. We hear the fear in their voices, the despair, and the loss of hope. And at the film’s terrifying climax, all we hear are screams.
With sequels and prequels already being discussed, it shouldn’t be too much longer before we’re scared out of our wits again by Dan Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez.