In 1999, The Blair Witch Project did four things:
- 1) It had a brilliant marketing plan. The filmmakers led people to believe that it was actually footage shot by three film students that was found in the woods after the students had vanished. These days that would be a hard sell but people believed it back in 1999 before social media and when the internet was just becoming a thing. The truth wasn’t revealed until the night before the movie opened yet the belief continues for some time after the film’s release.
- 2) It introduced a new way of “guerilla” filmmaking. The actors in the film had no script, only cameras and a basic set of instructions on what to do. That fright they feel, is mostly real.
- 3) It launched the “found footage” horror genre.
- 4) It terrified everyone who watched it.
Quick refresher: The Blair Witch Project was about three film students that went into the Black hills Forest near Burkittsville, MD to shoot a documentary about the infamous Blair Witch. Things went very badly for them as they soon became lost in the woods and began to turn on each other until they happened upon a scary house in the woods and well, they didn’t make it out. That movie is told through their footage that was found in the search for them after their disappearance. Blair Witch is the third movie in the franchise (Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was just an awful movie) and does the same thing, but this time it’s the found footage of a group of friends who went in search of one of the original film students, who happens to be his sister. They modern it up a little bit with body mounted cameras, a drone, and overall better gear. It’s really not that much different than Blair Witch Project except that the filmmakers can do more stuff and we get to see a little more of the creepy house that’s not supposed to be there. It also relies just as much on audio cues as it does visual cues for its frights.
This movie is scary, for real. You know that person watching a horror movie who comments as the movie goes along? That was me this time. Luckily, when I saw it there were only three other people in the audience. The things I said ranged from using expletives to giving instructions to the protagonists. At various points, I looked down the row and saw observed that at one point everyone was watching through their hands. I even caught myself closing my eyes or looking away from the scream. Like any good horror movie, Blair Witch makes you anticipate what’s about to happen which is much worse than what actually happens on screen.
I see one scary movie a year, this was a good one.
Also in theaters this week:
Academy Award (R)-winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the fascinating true story of Edward Snowden. Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others.
The third installment of the Bridget Jones franchise finds Bridget unexpectedly expecting. After breaking up with Mr. Darcy, Bridget Jones' "happily ever after" hasn't quite gone according to plan. Fortysomething and single again, she decides to focus on her job and her friends. For once, Bridget has everything completely under control. Then her love life takes a turn and Bridget meets a dashing American named Jack, the suitor who is everything Mr. Darcy is not. In an unlikely twist she finds herself pregnant, but with one hitch…she's not sure which man is her baby's father. Bridget Jones Baby stars Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, and Emma Thompson.
Set 1965 Los Angeles, Mr. Church begins with a stranger arriving on the doorstep of 10-year-old Charlie and her single mother, who is battling breast cancer. They soon learn that the quiet man, has been hired to cook for them and help maintain the household. As Mr. Church's time with the Brodys extends from months into years, he becomes a father figure for Charlie during her formative years, nurturing her love of literature and making a lasting impact on her life. Even as Mr. Church tries to keep his own life separate from the Brodys, he eventually learns that the connection he feels to Charlie is what family is all about. Mr. Church stars Eddie Murphy, Britt Robertson, and Natasha McElhone.
In The Wild Life, a group of tropical animals live in a pure wild animal paradise until Robinson Crusoe, a marooned human, arrives in the midst of a furious storm, and their lives are forever changed by this bewildering new "creature." No matter their differences, castaway human and quirky animals embark on a hilarious new adventure, building the island's first tree-house and surviving together. But when two conniving members of the animal kingdom--the savage cats--pounce into a battle for control of the island, Crusoe and his animal friends must uncover the true power of friendship against all odds (even savage cats).
In the psychological thriller, The Disappointments Room, from the director of Eagle Eye and Disturbia, Dana and David move from Brooklyn to a once-grand southern mansion with their 5 year old son looking for a fresh start. But Dana's discovery of a secret room unleashes unexplainable events that test her sanity and slowly reveal the home's terrifying past.
Capturing the on-stage energy and off-stage hearts of the Australia-based band Hillsong United, Hillsong - Let Hope Rise is a new motion-picture genre: the theatrical worship experience. The film explores Hillsong's humble beginnings and astonishing rise to prominence as an international church whose songs are sung every Sunday by more than 50 million people worldwide.
Available on Streaming:
Bigger, Stronger, Faster
Available on DVD & Blu-Ray:
Captain America: Civil War
The Conjuring 2
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Aliens (30th Anniversary Blu-ray)
The Transformers – The Movie (30th Anniversary Blu-ray)
Zangiku Monogatari (The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums)
The Tale of Zatoichi