I know this is about a decade and a half late, but the Blair Witch Project was amazing. I just saw it last night with some friends of mine who are big into cinema. I had always thought it would be a stupid movie - I don't know where this assumption came from, but there it is. I was very, very wrong. The movie is great. The focus on the characters, rather than on the Big Bad, is what really sold it for me concept-wise. Too many movies, especially in horror, nowadays don't focus enough on the characters. Characters are what sell stories. For example, Paranormal Activity was one of the most boring movies to me of all time. I was scared, I wasn't jumpy, I wasn't entertained. The Blair Witch, on the other hand, while it didn't make me jumpy, did produce an amount of terror within me. Now I'm not saying I curled into a ball like a little child and begged people to keep the lights on, but the way the movie was conceptualized and put together - not to mention a fantastic job on the part of the actors - allowed me to feel as though I were not watching the movie, but living in it. And to live in that movie would be a frightening thing. Horror should look back on this movie and look at what it did right, and maybe learn a little something. After all, if my dreams can learn about horror from this movie, so can modern cinema.
I had a dream last night that actually scared me. Nothing really flashy happened, nothing gory, or anything like that. It was very subtle. The Big Bad was never shown explicitly. His actions were seldom overt, and when they were they were barely noticeable. In other words, he was a mystery, so all I could focus on were the characters - one of them being me. Putting myself into my dreams doesn't always work when my subconscious tries to scare me, but forcing me to be really involved with my dream by bringing back elements from previous dreams that worked (for example, a school I dreamed up months ago with an old sector that is really easy to get lost in on the second floor) and taking the villain away from my ability to criticize resulted in me waking up in a certain amount of terror in the moment of my near death. It certainly doesn't help that this is how things went down: In the middle of a sex scene (me and two other girls - I'm not sure where the second came from because she wasn't there originally) that takes place in someone else's front lawn. That someone else walks out and kinda stares in disbelief for a minute before we notice him. I don't know what possessed us to have sex in this guy's front lawn, but we did - and we got our asses off the ground fast when he walked out. Now, we're scrambling to get our clothes on in the pitch dark (for whatever reason, this neighborhood doesn't have streetlamps or suffer from light pollution) but the second girl seems kinda traumatized. She isn't moving. Me and the other girl are beckoning at her, trying to get her to move. We can barely see her. And then she disappears. No warning. No loud noise - no quiet noise for that matter. No blurred movement. She's just gone. This flips my and the other girl's shit and we take off for the school because we know Big Bad can see us - we get lost upstairs. I wake up as I'm crawling around in the old sector upstairs trying to find the girl because I don't know where the Hell she ran away from me to. The villain was heavily implied to be an old, old man who lived on the same cul-de-sac the sex scene took place.
Moving on from dreams and my own living under a rock, and yet somehow related, I've seen a few stories here and there about children going missing. There's a story every now and then about a child that goes missing and sometimes it will capture the attention of the community, but these have barely been mentioned in the news (I devour news when I can). I've seen the stories just tucked away in obscure places in the newspaper - not even in sensible places. I feel like I'm the only person noticing. Or I'm going crazy because of the Blair Witch Project and inventing stories. That'd be unpleasant - but if I begin to think that not only am I a dancer, but also a scientist, historian, documentarian, and whatever else that old lady in the movie thought, I'll let you know and then you can also dismiss my ramblings forever.