I know this is an older movie (1999) but this has always seemed to me to be a very interesting one.
People I talk to either love it or hate it. I have always wondered why that is. Is there some quality that some people have and others lack that made this movie so hit or miss? All I've been able to come up with is "overactive imagination". By that I mean, the ability to imagine things that scare you, to interpret any noise or shape in the dark as being potentially threatening, and having this fear feed on itself. There are some people that I know that are simply not scared of the dark. They have never imagined a monster/scary entity lying in wait outside their window or bedroom door and find the idea ridiculous. Others (like me) will usually have no problem in the dark, but when the idea creeps into their head, the imagination and fear will feed on itself and all sorts of scary scenarios will create themselves in their heads.
This movie seems to me to be a litmus test for this "ability." Some people use their own imagination to carry the movie along, while others will be bored and turned off as the developments never seem to get scary.
This dialogue is a good example of asking the audience to imagine a "what if that was me camping and hearing these sounds" scenario:
Joshua Leonard: I heard two noises coming from two seperate areas of space over there. One of them could have been a deer, but the other one sounded like a cackling.
Heather Donahue: No way!
Joshua Leonard: Yeah, it was like a serious cackling.
Heather Donahue: See, my problem is that I sleep like a ******* rock.
Michael Williams: If I heard a cackling, I would have **** in my pants!
This obviously has more impact if you have heard of the witch and its legend, but merely imagining myself in Josh's situation really scared me.
Anyhow, I was wondering if any of you had noticed this "hit or miss" phenomenon about the movie and if you did, whether or not you attributed the presence or lack of active imagination in some people to that phenomenon. Also, ignoring the hype and looking at it on its own terms, did you like or dislike the movie?