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Is ‘The Blair Witch Project’ Actually Scary?

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Chill, Heather…

Nothing is original in Hollywood anymore. Even when a project isn't based on a book, play, or "real-life" event, it usually references other movies. (See: critically acclaimed but not yet released La La Land.) This week, however, one of Hollywood's most original stories of the last couple decades, The Blair Witch Project, is getting the 2016 update. This time around, there's a bigger budget and more experienced actors than the 1999 phenomenon. It's gotten decent reviews so far; Ben Travers says it's "downright inspiring" and The Verge says it delivers the same scares as the original and uses similar techniques in order to do so. While, on the one hand, too many similarities could be a problem for audiences wanting innovation over old tricks, but when those old tricks helped make the original Blair Witch Project one of the scariest films to ever be released, maybe that's a good thing. 

All of which is to say, having somehow lived under a rock for most of my life and never seen the 1999 movie, I decided it was time to watch all 81 minutes of it. 

Turns out, I'm pretty desensitized. That, or The Blair Witch Project just isn't scary. 

I watched the movie in my living room on an oddly free NYFW Saturday night. My boyfriend, who hates scary movies and tried to get out of coming over that night, was there, too. He had never seen it either, but we both knew about the movie's ending and all. "Still," I thought, "the story could surprise me." It didn't, but I can see how it would have in 1999 because the internet was so young and found footage wasn't yet a gimmick.

But it's 2016 and the only things that did surprise me were the facts my boyfriend kept spitting out throughout the movie and that I read up on after. Like: The Blair Witch Project is essentially one big (fake) reality show. It is the “true story” of three strangers, picked to go into the woods, make a movie together, and have their lives taped, to stop being polite and start getting real. The entire script was 35 pages long, and each of the three unknown actors was given individual instructions each day, instructions that the directors and producers intentionally designed to cause drama. The production team built the rock formations at night so the actors would wake up and react to them. They played tricks and mind games and even blasted creepy children's voices through a boombox to add new layers of horror.

In its way, it's brilliant because no one knew who these people were and the found footage aspect made it all the more believable. (Apparently, some people actually thought they had all died.) On the other hand, it sounds like total torture for the actors. It paid off, though. The movie raked in $248.6 million. That's crazy for a movie made with a $60K budget. The new Blair Witch opens Friday, September 16. No film can recreate the suspense of the original, but it could come close. Let's hope it'll have audiences screaming out of fear and not something else.

Below, is a selection of my notes taken throughout the film.

  • Why is Heather so earnest? I don't believe her.
  • Heather is such a film student.
  • How much did they pay these townies to be in this movie? 
  • Mary Brown...?
  • I hate scotch, too, Heather.
  • Patton Oswalt is in this movie? (He's not, but someone who looks like him is.)
  • These poor kids were tortured.
  • What is "dat"?
  • Who would I be in this situation? Probably Heather, honestly.
  • Mike is a weak plot point. This map business is so extra. Heather needs to chill.
  • What is "dat" again and why are they looking for it?
  • "IT'S...THE...SAME...LOG...!!??"
  • Am I too jaded for The Blair Witch?
  • The final scene looks like a Crystal Castles album cover. 
Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.

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Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.

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