Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1999. Haxan Films. Screenplay by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez. Cinematography by Neal Fredericks. Produced by Robin Cowie, Gregg Hale. Music by Antonio Cora. Production Design by Ben Rock. Film Editing by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez. Independent Spirit Awards 1999. Online Film Critics Awards 1999.
Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick took the Cannes Film Festival and subsequently the entire cinema-going world by storm with this low-budget independent horror flick which was shot with handheld cameras and produced on a shoestring budget. Sending their three leads into the woods with materials on a fictional witch that supposedly haunts the forests near the fictional town of Burkittsville, Sanchez and Myrick harassed the trio for days by frightening them in the middle of the night, depriving them of food and insisting that they get all their improvisations (and natural reactions) on film. The result? The scarefest of the century! Though it doesn’t have much going for it as a narrative, there is something chilling about the legends and myths that were invented for the purposes of the film, and when it finally boils down to the last five minutes the movie is intensely frightening. Some might find the wait for the climax to be boring, and others still might be made ill by the shakiness of the handheld cameras. The natural performances of the actors and the increasing feeling of inner terror that builds, however, is unshakable.