Three filmmakers travel into the woods of Burkittsville (Maryland) to investigate folklore about a local witch, and watching them blab and bicker is interesting enough. It’s when they get lost trying to find their way back to the car that things start to get captivatingly gloomy. All the additional dread, the “witch” stuff, sort of goes against that fact. Being lost in the middle of nowhere, in the cold with a minimum amount of food and water, is scary enough. That alone should probably be the gist of the plot. Being taunted and haunted by evil spirits every night nears conceptual overkill; especially when one of your companions disappear, leaving just one other person between you and the kind of lonely dread that dominates nightmares.
It’s a movie, a fictional one presented as an edited-together set of real-life documentary-style video clips, but everything from the way the characters act to the brilliantly inane things they say seem almost too real to come out of just another horror script. In a sense, it is. The dialogue, all or most of it, is reportedly improvised, just as it would be if this wasn’t just a movie. No, this Blair Witch Project isn’t particularly scary, unless perhaps you actually believe in witchcraft, but it’s quite a compelling character study. I suspect people like this would react like this in a situation like this. Nothing, aside from the actual “witch” part itself, seems unreal; particularly at the end when all hope is lost, fear takes over and the girl starts screaming for her life.
my rating = 4 of 5
posted 2013 April 23