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Thing of the week:
The Blair Witch Project
By Ian Grant
"Is that it???" squeaks an irritated voice in the rows in front as the credits roll. Yeah, that's it...if you've got no imagination.

See, The Blair Witch Project is that most wonderful thing - a blank canvas and an unlimited supply of (mainly black) paint. It has nothing to say and no explanation to make, it's just there. It leaves you with enough info that you'll want to try to figure it all out, and yet you'll be simultaneously trying to forget all about it. It does nothing so crass as to f*** with your brain, because it knows that your brain can f*** itself best of all.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether it scares you. It's pretty difficult to be truly terrified in a room with comfy seats, emergency exits and three hundred people, anyway. What it does so brilliantly is to reclaim horror films from their dreary dependence on special effects and half-arsed Stephen King short stories. It staggers and stumbles into the realm of great movie-making in the process.

Anyone can edit a film to make the audience jump out of their seats occasionally, but there's none of that here. More than anything, it's a brave film. By not shouting but whispering and by suggesting rather than showing, it lowers all its defences against cynicism - it needs you to participate, to accept the fiction as reality. No amount of wobbly camera work can achieve that.

It could so easily be laughable. It's not, it's riveting. It's the best film of the year, with possible competition from Tim Roth's "The War Zone", and it needs no "horror" ghetto to hide in.

Three complex, messy characters lost in the woods, deprived of sleep and food and terrified out of their minds. In close-up. That's it.