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I spend way too much time at the theaters.
I'm a slave to the Hollywood Visionaries.  God help me.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT

Directed by Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez

Written by Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez

Starring Heather Donahue,
Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard

My Advice: Don't Miss It

Rating: out of

In October of 1994, three student filmmakers hiked into the woods in Maryland to film a documentary about the local legend of the Blair Witch. These three students were never seen again. A year later, their belongings and footage were found beneath the foundation of a hundred-year-old cabin. Seeking answers, their families gathered up the film and eventually turned it over to Haxan Films' Myrick and Sanchez, who then attempted to restore all of the filmed events that ultimately led up to the students' apparent demise.

I'm going out on a limb here -- a well crowded limb -- and saying this is perhaps one of the scariest and best delivered movies since The Changeling. It's unassuming in its horror and gloriously bereft of hockey masks, off key music and jiggling cheerleaders in strappy highheeled shoes. No one runs off to investigate that bump in the night alone. These kids do exactly what you and I would do faced with this kind of horrifyingly oddly benign situation. They huddle together and unravel all at once.

The premise of this film alone is staggering. Take a small amount of borrowed cash, get yourself a camera, take three unknowns and probably never-to-be knowns and then lose them in the forest for days on end. Frighten them all night, keep them in the dark, cut off their food and supplies and expect them to ad lib all the way. And, boy oh boy, did they.

I cannot even say enough for the actors themselves. Their terror was real. (I no doubt would have curled in a fetal position in my sleeping bag and made a lousy "Surreal World" cast member.) The improvisation of the three cannot even be measured by words. During the tent scene where Heather shakily points the camera at her own tear swollen eyes and whispers, "I love you, Mom.",  I was shaking myself.

The only draw back to this highly entertaining film for me was a small gathering of other patrons in the theater that did not feel as appreciative as I did. These are the folks too jaded by the Wes Cravens and John Carpenters of our life time. They are so numb to subtle and true horror I wanted to repeatedly slam their heads in the folding cushions.

Even so, do not let this sway you from a marvelous event. It's real, it's gut wrenching and you just can't get any better than that. Go go go!

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