The astonishing US box-office success of The Blair Witch Project
has scared Hollywood half to death: here is a film which was reportedly made for $22,000 yet which grossed millions. It purports to be the footage shot by three film students who went missing in Maryland's Black Hills while researching the legend of the eponymous witch. The key to the film's success lies in a combination of good old-fashioned scare tactics and some very astute marketing, which suggested that the (entirely staged) footage might be genuine.
Rather than offering a straightforward re-telling of the film, D.A. Stern's "dossier" is a contribution to the Blair Witch mythology, presenting "a bizarre and notorious backstory" which unfolds after the students' footage has been found. The book details the investigations of one Buck Buchanan, presenting to the reader the evidence which he gathers. Instead of a conventional narrative, the dossier creates a plot from sources such as interview transcripts, diagrams, photographs and journal entries.
As long as the reader is willing to play along with the central conceits-- that there really is a Blair Witch legend and that the film's footage is real- -the book functions as a remarkably effective supernatural thriller. The reader is encouraged to piece together the hints that are offered, while attempting to sift out the red herrings liberally strewn throughout the dossier. It largely manages to maintain the feeling that there is something terrible lurking behind the "facts", and only right at the end does the account threaten to descend into pure hokum. Moreover, since it avoids giving away too many details of the footage, the dossier could be treated either as a companion to the film, or as an appetiser before viewing. -- John Oates
From the Back Cover
What actually happened to Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, and Joshua Leonard deep in the Maryland woods has become the stuff of legend. What they captured on film in their final days has transformed their sudden disappearance into one of America's most suggestive nightmares...
Now the complete story can be told.
In an exclusive arrangement with the filmmaker's families, noted journalist D.A. Stern and private investigator Buck Buchanan have unsealed the official police files to compile the first fully detailed and illustrated investigative files on one of the most disturbing cases in Maryland history...
- The legends, myths and facts surrounding the Blair Witch
- The uncanny connection to Maryland mass murderer Rustin Parr
- Detailed crime-scene photos
- Heather Donahue's chilling journals
- Related cult murders and bizarre disappearances
- The meaning of the strange campsite talismen, symbols and ruins
- Exclusive interviews with the victims' friends and families
- Insight into the shocking case from Haxan Films and Artisan Entertainment