9/16/2016

BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 (Review)

Title: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Director: Joe Berlinger
Writer: Dick Beebe, Joe Berlinger
Cast: Tristine Skyler, Stephen Baker Turner, Erica Leerhsen, Kim Director, Lanny Flaherty, Jeffery Donovan
Min: 90
Year: 2000

Following the cultural phenomena of the original The Blair Witch Project, a crew of young people decide to take a tour of the movie location ran by Jeffery (Jeffery Donovan) in Burkittsville, Maryland. The next morning they wake up, after having passed out, and their papers and cameras are rip and trashed. They don't remember anything that happened. The tapes remained intact, though, hidden under rocks. But, what happened during their lost time, and what is up with the increasingly weird shit they are seeing? Are they haunted by their delusions or the witch, herself?
Released a year after the first film this is the much maligned sequel to one of the most successful indie movies of all time. Of course, a sequel was to be made, it's an unwritten rule in cinema, maybe more so in the horror world. But, this movie took fans for different all together ride, and that in their eyes, at least, partially hurt the movie. It is certainly flawed, but it doesn't deserve all the hate it gets.
One of the major saving graces is the fact that it had the balls to go against the grain. This could have easily been another found footage, shakey cam, kill some young folk in the woods affair. Instead, co-writer/ director Joe Berlinger went for a meta/ psychological horror flick. Berlinger who made the excellent Paradise Lost docus about kids wrongfully accused of murder for being metal, in particular Metallica, fans, could have given us a faux-docu style turd. Then he have just collected a pay check, and called it a day. Instead, he thought of outside the box.
Studio interference occurred though, and as is often the case, it hurt the movie. They made him shoot unneeded gore which really is out of place and does the movie no good. They also reordered and cut more crap in (IE the gore). A lot of the ambiguity that he was going for is totally lost. Shit, they even switched his music choices adding Marilyn Manson to the opening title scene. The director admits to loving Manson, but that is not what he is going for (if you wanna learn more listen to his excellent DVD's running commentary).
Still, the ideas presented are really smart. Perception vs. reality, media influence, mass delusions, etc. all play a role in the film's plot. It's fairly well paced, except when the random gore inserts are sliced in and make the movie feel uneven and wholly stick out. Still, it actually leads to a fairly well handled climax. The ending itself is not bad, but I can easily see where fans might be like, "That's it?!"
The acting is really good. The cast are mostly unknowns but deliver performances far beyond the usual cash grab sequel, shit. The characters, themselves, serve as archetypes of the audience that the original movie caught the interest and obsession of. Most of the said characters, other than Jeffery, who is admit ably a dick, are pretty likable. All this thought of characters, again goes against the horror sequel mentality.
My two favorite actors and characters come from two very lovely ladies. Kim Director as Kim (all the cast played characters which had the same first name as theirs) is the gorgeous, voluptuous, blue-eyed goth girl of our dreams. She has a little bit of a kick ass attitude and is believable and likable. Erica Leerhsen (who would go on to play a victim in the underwhelming The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) is great as the Wiccan pissed at the way the first movie represented witches in the first. She also appears almost topless and has an amazing body. Worth mentioning is an all too brief kiss between both these goddesses.
I recall all the hate Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 got when it came it out. Yet, I recall it not being that bad. I hadn't watched it since it was in the movies, until last night. And, it really is not that bad. Most of the issues are studio related, like calling it Book of Shadows. I mean there is no fucking book in this movie, so what the fuck were they thinking?! But, it still remains a bold, interesting, well acted movie. It is not great, and won't please everyone, but I have noticed some nice write-ups and videos pop-up. Is perception changing? I don't know, maybe, those who liked it are finally becoming more vocal. Like me, for example. With Blair Witch, the third installment which will serve as a direct sequel to the classic, coming out this weekend, now is the perfect time to revisit this movie.


3 out of 4

0 comments: