Blair Witch Project

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * * )    DVD Rating: ( * * * · · )

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A lot of people say it is overhyped, but a lot say it was on the money. Whether it scared the crap out of you or not, you have to give it some credit for being a pretty original idea. Blair Witch Project is a film in first person documentary format that shows the last three days of three film students as they track a Maryland ghost story. You dont get the glitz of Poltergeist or the cheese of Nightmare on Elm Street, but if you open your mind a little and take it for what its worth, you could regress to a three year old next time you see the woods. I did. Blair Witch scared the crap out of me, that is for sure. The informal style of direction, the radical style of acting and the ingenious way the horrors stay just outside the view finder and inside our imaginations really works. Listening to how the movie was made was as interesting as the movie itself. The role the director played, staying outside the filming and acting almost completely, was radically different than any other method to date that I have heard of. It falls apart a little when you realize later that none of the stories told were true at all, and that even the documentary on the DVD called "Legend of the Blair Witch" was composed only to spur on the story in the movie. Still, as I said, even if you dont fall into the movie at all, it is a completely new type of film. The DVD at face value is killer, but listening to the commentary and hearing things like "we had about another hour and a half of footage, I hope that makes it somewhere" and "the VHS version of the film has about 15 more minutes here" really kills the idea that the DVD is "special" at all. Sure, you get everything that makes a good DVD, but I am only satisfied if I get every scrap of content they could find and hearing that they held out on it really kills the idea that it is the definitive version. The picture matches the original aspect ratio of 1.33 to 1 with a slight view finder like matte around the edge and the soundtrack is in Dolby Pro-logic as was the original sound track. The DVD does contain a deleted scene, the 45 minute Sci-Fi documentary, and the directors commentary, so it isnt bare, but hearing about all the stuff it COULD have had hurts the rating. Just like any other hype machine, a lot of folks are going to walk away from this movie but you have to give credit where credit is due. Blair Witch Project is an excellent movie and completely original. Dont miss it.