An excerpt from my script review for Blair Witch 2 which will be available 10/03/22:
2.) Plot Stability
“The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn’t real. I know that, and I also know that if I’m careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle.” – Stephen King
Hands down my favorite quote in regards to the genre.
This is why we love horror!
It’s why we bound up the basement stairs at night when we’re alone.
Why we risk soap in our eyes when washing our face, to double check no one is staring at us from behind.
The reason we hesitate for the briefest of moments before opening a door into a dark room.
We know nothing is there…
…yet there’s an ancient, primal instinct buried inside that asks…”But what if there is?”
Build tension with creepy and not supernatural.
That’s what both the original and this sequel did to generate that fear and dread inside of us.
The audience didn’t see any “real” ghosts or witches onscreen, in fact it was exactly the opposite.
We feared what we couldn’t see.
That’s what this sequel, for the most part, did well.
Distant voices calling.
Characters delivering odd prophesies that are open to interpretation later.
Shit, even the giant oak tree growing out of the ruins of a haunted (and maybe tainted) house. One that was far too big and older than it should have been.
All of these things, on their own, are completely mundane, but inject them into a well thought out horror story and they build into something creepy.
With little to no “special effects” budget, might I add.
To me this was much more effective, and added to the slow burn of eventually seeing who and/or what the “witch” actually is.
(For me, this part was kind of muddled at the end. I liked that it was “explained” but the characters as they’re trying to solve the problem used forced logic.)
Now the second installment does have a touch of the supernatural.
Phantom of a dead parent. Wooden carts with withered naked bodies. Blood gushing from vaginas.
This one isn’t completely devoid of elements that increase the overall budget, but those things were less effective than say Nick trying to locate the eerie little voices giggling that he never seems to find.
Consider this when crafting your own horror spec.
Can you implement these “mundane” effects that create dread while simultaneously enhancing the story?
Do you need CGI elements like ghosts, goblins, or floating witches?
Something to think about.
Going back to the quote at the beginning of this section, this one left me jumping two feet or more out of bed, for fear of something grabbing my ankle when sole hit carpet.
Sure I’m a baby when it comes to all things scary, and I know nothing’s under there besides my summer work attire…
But me worrying about it anyway? That’s good!
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