Socialist Worker

Believe the hype

by Martin Smith
Issue No. 1671

THE MOST eagerly anticipated movie of the year has arrived - The Blair Witch Project. It was filmed for just $35,000. It has made $137 million at the US box office, making it the most profitable movie of all time. The film's plot is simple. Three young film makers disappear while shooting a documentary about witches in the forests of Maryland. One year later their film is found.

The whole film is shot using hand held cameras, making it possible to believe you are watching real events. The three intrepid film makers get drunk and laugh at local townsfolk who tell of mass graves and witches' dens in the forest. Armed with their cameras, off they go to investigate. The deeper they go into the forest the more sinister and frightening their situation becomes, in what is at first standard horror movie stuff.

But what makes this film scary is how the three react to the situation. As the tension builds, all their rational explanations for what's happening collapse. They behave just like you or I would, and moan, 'This can't happen in modern day America.' As the nightmare descends they run about the woods petrified out of their minds, singing 'America the Beautiful'. The Blair Witch Project breaks out of the usual horror film formula. This is not a gory slasher movie. You don't see knife wielding maniacs, witches or monsters running around. The fear is all in your mind. If you like horror films, you'll love The Blair Witch Project.

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Sat 6 Nov 1999, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1671
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