Not Knowing is the Worst Part

I recently decided to watch “The Blair Witch Project” for a second time, thanks to a gameplay video of “Slender: The Nine Pages” I saw on Youtube that got me in the mood for something scary. That game thoroughly freaked me out and made me turn on a lot of lights in the house once nighttime came. And I did a lot of running down the hallway whenever I was forced to go down there to use the bathroom. Seeing a dark room at the end of a long hallway makes me suspect too much the Slender Man’s going to show up and…do whatever it is that it does. Whatever that may be, I’m certain it will be something I won’t like.

Unfortunately, “The Blair Witch Project” did not scare me this time. Sure, it was a bit creepy, but it wasn’t scary. Like how seeing a spider on TV is creepy, but I’m certainly not going to start shrieking and tossing shoes at it. (That is not to say that I typically behave in such an erratic fashion when spiders trespass on my property for real….) And I was quite disappointed because I really enjoyed the movie my first time seeing it. Even if I didn’t sleep that night. Nope, I didn’t sleep at all. At least it was impossible to get nightmares that way.

I guess the problem is, I already knew what was going to happen, so even though what takes place is spooky, there was none of the surprise like there was last time. Nevertheless, for some bizarre reason, I decided to write a post about it, which will contain some spoilers. Spoilers of terror.

As you all probably know, as everyone’s probably already seen this movie, even though I didn’t until just a few years ago (just as I was very late on seeing “The Matrix”), the movie is about three people who want to make a documentary about the so-called Blair Witch of Blair, Maryland. I won’t bore you too much with details, but they start off by interviewing some people about the witch and hear several different stories, along with a story about a murderer that doesn’t seem terribly related. After that, they embark on a little trip into the woods that quickly turns frightening when they keep hearing strange sounds and can’t find their way out. And one of them…spoiler…even goes missing, never to be seen again, but perhaps heard….

What’s great about this movie (which is why “Slender” made me think of it) is that so little is seen, which always makes things so much scarier. Nothing is ever explained, either, and while the movie wasn’t scary the second time around, I still love that the mystery remains. I still haven’t a clue what was supposed to be going on, and no matter how many times I see it (not that I’ll likely be seeing it again now that the fear’s gone away), I’ll always wonder and be able to speculate about it. I’ll never know what the piles of rocks meant or what the strange figures made of sticks hanging in the trees were. I’ll never know what made the sounds they heard at night, either, or even what happened to the friend that disappears.

And the spookiest part of all was the abandoned house the remaining two go in at the end. It’s dark in there, and the walls are rotting, and they get split up running up the stairs when they think they hear their friend, only to run down again when it sounds like his voice is coming from downstairs, and you catch glimpses of children’s hand prints on the walls, and it’s not much longer before the remaining two meet their end in a fashion similar to how the murderer mentioned earlier in the movie killed his victims, though very little is seen. Seeing one of them facing the corner was one of the scariest scenes in the whole movie (a detail mentioned by one of the people they interviewed), and once you see that, you know the last person is doomed, which is pretty darn freaky. Pretty darn.

I just loved that so little was seen in the movie, and I loved the way it was filmed through the characters’ own cameras, so you see (or as most often is the case, don’t see) what they see, and you feel as exposed as they must feel, that anything can come up behind you at any moment. And another reason the movie scared me, personally, was because I used to live around the general area where the movie was filmed, and while all forests really look the same pretty much, the location still looked so much like woods I myself have walked in, and I am familiar with the abandoned houses that are common in the area. I’ve actually seen a good number of these old, decrepit houses that look so out of place amidst the trees. Fortunately, I’ve only seen them from the safety of my car, as you can see them when you’re driving through the woods, but they are still pretty creepy, and there’s no way I’d go into one. Especially at night. In a place where there are witches. Or murderers. Or witches with an aptitude for murder. I wouldn’t go in them during the day with a money-back guarantee that it is entirely lacking in murderous witches. That’s how little I’d go in there.

Anyway, I was pretty disappointed the movie didn’t scare me like it once did, but it was still a pretty great movie the first time, which still counts for something. I just love things that you see very little of. If I knew what was happening in the movie, or if they showed you anything, it would’ve been much less frightening. Because you really never see one, single thing. There is some evidence of something out in the woods, but never do you ever catch any glimpse of whatever it is that’s doing it. And if anyone can think of any other movies or games that are like this, please tell me, because I’d love to check them out. I need my “Blair Witch” fix, but I can’t get it from the movie itself anymore. (That’s why I’m trying to work up the courage to play “Slender”. Even though, I wonder if scary games are even more frightening than scary movies…. I guess I’ll see…)

The Blair Duck Project

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2 thoughts on “Not Knowing is the Worst Part

  1. That’s the thing about fear; its the unknown elements that frighten us. You can’t understand that which you don’t know, and the things we don’t understand are invariably the same things that frighten us (aside from irrational fears of course). It’s why psychological horror is considered so superiors to slashers or games that rely on jump-scares: you can used to the jump-scares and even the bloodiest scenes (well, to a point at least), but a scary idea will always be scary.

    This is why Silent Hill 2 is so good, and also why I’m really looking forward to Alien: Isolation. They claim to have built it in such a way that every encounter, no…every moment, will play out differently each time a checkpoint is loaded. The AI isn’t scripted, its behavior is based on virtual senses. There’s going to be no planned happenings and no patterns to predict!

    If this holds true, we might looking at a major breakthrough for video games, and the horror genre in particular!

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    1. That’s why I like “Slender: The 9 Pages”. It’s the same concept, but you never know when Slender Man will show up, or where, or how aggressively he’ll stalk you. You know he WILL appear, but he’s still not easy to predict. Yeah, maybe we’ll get some even scarier video games in the future. The question is, will we be able to handle it?…

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