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By Scott Von Doviak | July 4, 2000

At the risk of sounding like Charlton Heston, what the hell is this country coming to when you need a permit to purchase a semi-automatic weapon, yet any maniac off the street can walk into Best Buy and pick up a digital video camera? We’ve got to start licensing this stuff, people! There need to be some stringent guidelines in place or we’re just going to end up with more and more crap like “The Brier Bitch Project.”
If you haven’t guessed – say, if you’ve been lost in the woods for two years – this is yet another quickie spoof of “The Blair Witch Project.” I wasn’t particularly enamored of the original, but even its harshest critic would have to admit it deserves better than this witless, pointless waste of pixels. The premise: three men who share a common ex-wife plan a “reconciliation retreat” in the woods. The true purpose of the retreat, of course, is for the trio to dispose of their shared source of alimony payments by getting her out into the middle of nowhere and putting her out of their misery. The hapless campers set out with tents, sleeping bags and video equipment in tow and promptly vanish. A year later, reporter Warren Ethridge and his braindead cameraman head into the woods to investigate the disappearance and discover a videotape. A very long and boring videotape.
Apparently, the guiding æsthetic principle here was “turn on the camera and let it run while we dazzle each other with our nonexistent improvisatory skills.” One campfire scene in particular is interminable; the sort of thing most people would be embarrassed to show their closest friends, let alone send out into the cold, cruel world. In fact, there’s very little going on here that could be mistaken for acting. Worst of all is the Brier Bitch herself, who wouldn’t have passed a John Waters audition circa 1973 (though she probably deserves a special Oscar for putting up with all the abusive fat jokes aimed in her direction). Eventually, director David De Lay even seems to forget he’s making a parody, as “Brier Bitch” turns into a straightforward and deadly dull running monologue by the last surviving ex-husband. Anyone who makes it this far into “The Brier Bitch Project” will be praying for it to turn into an episode of “When Animals Attack.” Send in bees, bears – hell, even Bigfoot. Anything to make it stop.

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