by Kristin "Averah" Thomas
When I first heard about The Blair Witch Project, it was from a casual reference on Dustin's web site. I was aghast when I researched it more and discovered that the movie would not open in Canada, as they were saying at that time, nor did it seem that it would be shown in Seattle, the closest large US city to my hometown in British Columbia.
Six months later, after marrying an American man on our first date and moving with him to Chicago, I watched him opening his mail after work. He waved the contents of one of the envelopes in front of me: it was an advance screening pass to The Blair Witch Project, and I reflected that marrying him was proving, once again, to have been a very good decision.
It took an hour to seat the theatre, and even after it was full, there were about 500 people outside, hoping for a chance to get in. Inside the theatre, people seemed genuinely excited about seeing this movie, with an energy I have never seen in an audience before.
What suprised me most was the laughter near the beginning of the movie. Looking back, I realize now that it is the somewhat light-hearted beginning to this film that makes the ending all the more disturbing. And it is disturbing: the woman next to me was hyperventilating for the last few minutes of the film, while I held my breath.
What unnerved me most, aside from the ending of the movie, was the way Heather screamed. It wasn't your typical hollywood girlie scream. Instead, it was real; the way you or I would be screaming, had we been in the same situation. It was loud, and incoherent, and raw, and it went on, and on, and on. It was the kind of sound a good director would have cut after just a second or two, but there was no director around to do so.
Later on that night, Brian and I lay in bed, both a bit unsettled by what we had seen. At one point, when he got up in the middle of the night, I was struck by the idea that I ought to get out of bed,
and go stand in the corner before he got back to our room. Luckily for him, I was too afraid of the dark to get up out of bed.