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The Blair Witch Project
Time Out says
Heather, Michael and Josh (Donahue, Williams and Leonard) disappeared on 21 October 1994 while shooting a documentary in the forest of the Black Hills, Maryland. A year later, their footage was found. This movie is the last trace of them. This is a horror film made against the grain, in defiance of the genre as it has evolved over the last three decades. After a handful of interviews with the natives, the trio starts to trek through the woods to check out the 'cemetery' rumoured to mark the graves of missing children. At first, they joke around. Then, as they come across strange talismans made of twigs and stones, the mood becomes apprehensive. At night, inexplicable sounds disrupt their sleep. They lose their way in the trees, and the next night, the sounds are closer, stranger, much more frightening. This is back to basics horror: we're in deep dark woods among things that go bump in the night. The actors never put a foot wrong; the video diary form allows no artifice, so that as terror mounts, the dread is infectious. Indeed, the gradual social and psychological breakdown which ensues is often painful to watch. And to listen to, the sound design being extraordinarily evocative. Worse, it stays with you: the film issues a kind of shadow horror that only comes into play later, at night, when you want to forget it.