Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I drink and live-blog The Blair Witch Project

Because I was a Mormon teenager when it came out in 1999, I never saw The Blair Witch Project. The time has come to watch the first of many scary movies with a faux-documentary/ found footage angle going for it. BTWs, have you seen Troll Hunter? Go watch Troll Hunter, it is awesome. Anyway, I've got a Monster and vodka going here and I'm ready for BWP.

The film is said to have been shot by three students in October 1994 near Burkittsville, MD. The girl one has done lots of witch research. She and her bro go to pick up a guy named Mike. There's a lot of '90s flannel happening. They are filming themselves at the grocery store for some reason. The girl doesn't want this film to be cheesy, but she's got plenty of makeup on. Her name is Heather, apparently. Burkittsville was once named Blair. This Heather chick looks kind of like a young Catherine O'Hara (WHO I LOVE). But apparently in the 1940s, a lot of kids died in the town. They interview an old guy about kids disappearing in 1940. Some lady with a baby says some hunters disappeared by the witch's old cabin. Apparently seven kids were killed in a basement up on a mountain. Two at a time--one facing in the corner while he killed the other. Mary Brown is a crazy old lady who once met the witch. She says the witch had hairy arms and a shawl, but also made many other strange claims. I recognize this Josh guy from somewhere. Go go gadget IMDB!
Finally figured out where I knew him from!
They are now drinking beers in a wood-paneled hotel room. Heather is clearly in charge and is usually holding the camcorder. She's kind of bossy. A man with amazingly giant square sunglasses fishing says Robin Weaver in the late 1800s wandered into the woods for three days, then came back ranting about an old woman whose feet never touched the ground. Heather asks leading questions. I think she didn't pay attention in her ethnographic interviewing class. Now the three of them are hiking up to Coffin Rock/the cabin. They shoot a scene at Coffin Rock. Heather reads from some old-timey book about five men who were tortured and murdered there. She really takes herself seriously. They set up a tent in the rain and camp. Josh claims he heard a cackling noise in the night. They joke about her getting them lost yesterday. She claims to know where they're going.

Mike is getting upset because he believes they're lost. More hiking, some bickering. Eventually they find piles of rocks on the ground and in a tree. Apparently Mary Brown told them about some possibly related Bible story. They joke around about Gilligan's Island. They film the rock/cemetery area again. A pile may have been knocked over in the dark. Uh-oh. Next, something has woken them up in the middle of the night, and they go to investigate. They are surrounded by weird noises. Heather taunts Mike about being afraid. The guys think people were just fucking with them. Heather claims it will take them only two more hours to get out of the woods to the car, but they're going back a different way than they came. They are clearly lost and now it's dark. They have to camp again. They hear something again. Her constant talking is getting kind of old. The woods at night are creepy, there is that. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be hearing. They think it could be deer, maybe. It's echoing. Shit breaking? Footsteps? Tromping around the woods in October was a bad idea, maybe. Not a lot of daylight. Ominous rock piles surround their tent in the morning.

They continue to yell at Heather to put the camera down. Now she can't find the map. They are arguing and wandering in some direction. She keeps asking them if they stole the map from her. Mike admits that he kicked the map into the creek yesterday. Now they're all fighting and swearing a lot. Heather manages to hold the camera while she screams and the guys tussle. Josh insists on holding the compass now. They find a bunch of weird stick sculptures hanging from the trees. They are totes creepy. They kind of look like people effigies. Now Mike is screaming for help. They are camping now and don't want to light a fire because they're afraid of drawing attention to themselves again. They wake up to some creepy talking/laughing noises outside the tent. Now something is banging on the side of the tent. They all run out of the tent and end up huddled somewhere in the dark. Lots of heavy breathing.

It's morning again. Their shit's been all fucked up and they find some weird slime. Josh is rocking multiple layers of flannel and it's his stuff that's been messed up. Mike, who seems more and more unstable, is real mad she keeps filming. Later on, Josh is having feelings off-camera. They're all out of cigarettes, too. FUCK. I feel like they are doing a shit job of getting out of these woods. Uh-oh, they went in a circle. Heather tries to insist it's a different log bridge than earlier and is crying. Can't they just choose a direction and keep walking that way? Are they bad at compasses? Is the witch fucking with the magnetic poles? They're going to have to camp again and set up night watch shifts. Josh taunts Heather about continuing to film and makes her cry more. Now they talk about what food they want while sitting in the tent.

It's daylight again and they are screaming for Josh. He's missing. They talk about heading east instead of south (the way they have been going). Heather's jeans are fabulously ugly and high-waisted. All these nighttime shots where you can only hear, not see anything are pretty creepy. They hear a guy yelling in the dark and think it may be Josh, calling back to him. He's crying for help, I think? I could see how this would be really tense if you were in a movie theater and hadn't known the movie's ending for fifteen years already. This would be a really good situation for some night vision. At morning, some weird bundle of sticks shows up outside the tent. I'd like to believe that this whole situation is like the "curse" on the Pawnee Harvest Festival, and it's just local Native Americans just fucking with white people.  Later, Heather takes apart the bundle and finds a piece of Josh's shirt, covered in blood. There are some pieces of him in there? Gross. His tongue? Brain matter? Inquiring minds want to know. Heather doesn't tell Mike what she found. Maybe they should just stay in one spot and let themselves be found. I mean, it's not like the witch won't be able to find them no matter what they do. Mike tries eating a dry leaf.

Oh, here's the classic shot of Heather holding the camera in her own face at night while she cries and wears a hat and apologizes to everybody's moms for getting them into this situation. Mike and Heather hear what sounds like Josh calling for help. They think it's probably not actually him, but they go anyway, loaded up with cameras. They come upon a house. It's all abandoned and rundown and creepy. They wander through the house, looking for Josh. They hear a yell from upstairs. I'm not sure they should trust the structural integrity of the house up there. There's lots of creepy handprints on the walls upstairs. They follow his voice back downstairs. There's also some weird writing on the walls and some weird bird-screaming or something. Mike drops his camera. Heather follows him into the basement, sees him standing in the corner.

She screams and then drops her camera. THE END.

Pretty good, I'd say. Running through the woods and mysterious noises in the dark are always delightfully creepy. Might've been more freaked out if I hadn't asked my brother, who had ventured to watch an actual RATED R MOVIE, to tell me what happens at the end when it originally came out. Not bad.

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