Scare flick fans either love or loathe “The Blair Witch Project”. Personally, I can’t ever get enough of it. Outside of the fact that it was the first real cultural happening/marketing miracle centered around a found footage horror film (pre-dating the “Paranormal Activity” phenomenon by about 8 years), it also spawned a killer companion book and documentary further exploring a myth that remains, in fact, bogus.
That’s always kinda been a bummer for me. I mean, I know that’s a really awful thing to say, but the Blair Witch is SUCH an ingeniously diabolical creation, it almost sucks to have to surrender to the fact that she’s not real. See, I’m one of these idiots who kind of chooses to believe in a lot of non-human entities. Probably more than I should cop to. Aliens. Gnomes. Leprechauns. Banshees. Bring ’em. WHY not, I say. I mean, what’s the fun of denying myself the possibility that a Chupacabra could actually exist? I remember when my wife and cousins and I went down to Bahia de los Angeles to swim with whale sharks. Day 4 of our trip was a “land” day and we drove waaay out into the desert outskirts to explore the terrain. It was there I was CERTAIN that an otherworldly “goat sucker” was going to pop out from behind a giant cactus and do me in.
It never happened.
Eduardo Sánchez, who directed “The Blair Witch Project”, is back with a new found footage film called “Exists”, which concerns another group of young people (FAR more annoying personalities than Blair Witch documentarians Heather, Mike, and Josh, btw) who go into the woods to hang out in a remote cabin for a few days. The menace this time is none other than Bigfoot. Okay, maybe not the EXACT Creature of the North we’ve come to know and fear (“Exists” takes place in East Texas), but a Bigfoot-type creature hell-bent on revenge. Word is, these Bigfeet things will leave you alone if you leave them alone. Well, guess what…leave it to the idiots in this movie to make life much worse for themselves by being such disrespectful assholes and not leaving ANYTHING in their wake alone.
Isn’t that one of the more fulfilling aspects of the horror genre? Watching awful people get what’s coming to them? So much catharsis to be had. Believe me, nothing beats coming home after a full day of DRIVING in Los Angeles, pouring myself a chilled Prosecco, drawing the blinds, and dialing up a horror film. Horror is a real STRESS reliever! You get to watch fake people perish in extremely creative ways (the “Wrong Turn” franchise comes to mind), and YOU come out healthier and happier as a result! Best of all, you witnessed killings that didn’t really happen, so you’re morally off the hook there, too.
“Exists” is a very well-made found footage scare flick that, at times, truly gets your heart racing. I never considered Bigfoot inherently scary (although “The Legend of Boggy Creek” freaked me out as a kid). But the frights are abundant here. At 81 minutes, it flies.
What’s funny is, “The Blair Witch Project” is so strong, Sánchez even pays homage to HIMSELF in “Exists”. Without giving anything away, there is one scene that, if you are a “Blair Witch” fan, will make you go, “Oh my God, what’s happening now SO happened in ‘Blair Witch’…!”
Look, this movie isn’t going to change your life. But it’s better than most other recent entries in the genre that I’ve rented. What I loved so much about the Blair Witch was how the filmmakers left it up to ME to imagine what she must have looked like out there in the dark woods of Burkittsville. And I’m pretty messed-up in the noggin, so you can ONLY imagine the monster I made her out to be in my head (I should seriously draw that sometime…). Sasquatch in “Exists”, however, is very visible and VERY convincing. If this was a super low-budget production, you wouldn’t know it. And all the young actors are game.
‘Tis the season! Happy Halloween! Check out “Exists”! I found it on iTunes.
WINE PAIRING: Listen, I’m going to make this SO easy for you. While I couldn’t find any “Bigfoot wine” in my internet search, I did, quite naturally, happen upon the hugely reliable BAREFOOT wine. As far as the super-cheapy wines go, I’ve always counted on Barefoot to provide in a jam. AND you can find them anywhere. Go for the Barefoot Bubbly!