Male and Female
Here is an example for aspiring filmmakers on what not to do while setting out for an extened film project.
It was October 1994 in Burkittsville, Maryland, formerly named Blair. Three friends hoping to become respected documentarians went on a journey to find the lengendary Blair Witch talked about by all the townfolk. A year after these events took place, this footage was found, then spliced together chronoligically and unaltered. Over this disturbing escalation of events, these friends go from pumped for a fun time in the woods to fighting for their sanity.
The leader of these documentarians is Heather Donahue, a persistent scholar who wants to learn all about the small town rich with history. She won’t even put her two partners, Mike and Josh, at a greater priority, as she films everything that happens to them: even their heated arguments.
These three are not particularly easy to relate to, as their absense of professionalism blocks the ability to sympathize with their pain. I understand that they’re student filmmakers without much any experience, but maybe something about this could have been established earlier to make it easier to buy into their journey?
Before setting out on their trek toward the Blair Witch, a series of brief interviews are conducted with the people of Burkittsville. Within this small, unknown town, all inhabitants young and old claim to know all about the legend. An unusually high number of children disappeared in the 1940s due to a witch covered in hair from head to toe. She appears in unnatural fumes of grey vapor, leaving behind a pile of rocks left at specific points much like the story of Esau son of Isaac (Genesis 31:51-54).
These stories make you question, Is the Blair Witch real? Are the woods cursed? Or are people just going mad? I would have arranged these interviews to feel more structured, but it sets off everything else that will happen to these unexpecting students.
Their shaky camera films both the highlights and the lowlights of their perilous days in the woods, switching between black and white and color at sometimes random times. The sound doesn’t pick up on every distinguishable line of dialogue, and I never get a really good look at the actors, kind of making me wish the rainfalls ruined their equipment like it would have in real life. But I guess it works to the effect of their experience?
Ninety percent of the footage is not directly related to finding the Blair Witch, in fact their interactions are more about the camera lens‘ country of origin or Mike’s sporadic hair patterns than it is about the actual witch. As real-feeling as their talks sound, it can quickly become a bore to listen to, depending on how much you can tolerate.
Yet there are times when the excess amount of coverage works while not lingering on pointless rambling. The footage shot of the surreal details ornamenting the woods sets an appropriately creepy mood. The cheap looking image quality works all the greater when night falls. After they get lost and are left to wander in the heat of their disagreements, they are left only to camp in the woods, where they are accompanied by the unnatural sounds of footsteps and children screaming. With each night, they leave the comfort of their tent to search for the source, leaving us the audience to stare at a black screen waiting for something illuminated by the front-on camera light to raise an answer. If there was ever a horror feature that sets you in the seat of the hunted so acutely, then what other than The Blair Witch Project?
This iconic addition to the horror genre keeps its mark as an escalating journey from casual drinking to losing the map to losing friendships. It uses all the necessary details in this scenario to scream for a way out, leading up to the perfect final act that will freeze your bones out of shock.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Fanelli, William. The Blair Witch Project Ending: Who Actually Did The Killing? Digital image. CinemaBlend. Gateway Med, Web. <http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Blair-Witch-Project-Ending-Who-Actually-Did-Killing-70180.html?story_page=7 >.
Genesis. Life Application Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011. Print.