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Witch Project 2:
Book of Shadows"
Review written by: Alex Sandell
"Woah . . . that must've been
dropped from one hell of a big dog!"
What's the story?
It's now 1999, and the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland has been besieged by curiosity seekers interested in seeing the places where the original Blair Witch Project movie was shot. While some of the local townspeople are up in arms over the adolescent-type, gothy-lookin' vagabond newcomers, others are profiting off of the success of the film. One of these people is Jeffrey Patterson (played by Jeffrey Donovan), who has amassed a nice stash of cash by selling Blair Witch stick figures, dirt from the Black Hills where the Witch supposedly still haunts, and rocks he glues together to look like the sinister Coffin Rock, a spot talked about in the first Blair Witch Project, which has grown especially famous with Witch fanatics, due to the grotesque murders that supposedly occurred there. When Jeffrey decides to take some of the money that he's made from selling BWP merchandise through his webpage, and electronics equipment through eBay, and start giving tours of famous Blair Witch sites, he, and the 4 customers he takes along with him on his inaugural tour, are all in for far more than they had bargained for.
So how is it? (Get to the point, already)
Last July, in my review for the first Blair Witch Project movie, I asked whether or not it lived up to the hype. My answer was, "definitely not." 15 months later, I'm still here, tapping away on the same keyboard, writing a review for the same webpage, sitting in the same ergonomically correct chair, and talking about the same Witch which may or may not be fictional, and supposedly came from Blair. The only thing that I'm changing is the question: is BWP 2 really as bad as the majority of critics are saying it is? Definitely not.
Maybe it's all of the artificially flavored butter topping talking, but I thought BWP 2 was a damn fine little thriller; a hell of a lot better than the first. Sure, the acting was sub par, some of the dialogue was laughable (when the characters discover weird symbols and ancient alphabets cut into their flesh, one of them claims that they have nothing to worry about because, "it's just poison oak, or something"), and the heavy metal soundtrack is nearly unbearable. At the same time, a large portion of the movie was exceedingly clever, deeply unsettling and highly entertaining.
The film kept me guessing, and the intense visuals and sound effects kept my eyes peeled and pulse racing. (The pulse thing was probably due to the artificially flavored butter topping kicking in heavy during the second half of the film, when I began digesting the $5.75 bucket-o-lard.) I had a lot of fun with the whole "whodunit/wasiteverdun" aspect of the film, and I have always been a sucker for movies that throw linear timelines to the wind, in favor of keeping the audience trapped inside of the auditorium, holding in their $3.50 worth of pink lemonade, all in fear of missing out on an imperative clue, if they do decide to make a mad dash for the toilet.
Was the film scary enough to have people pissing pink in their panties? No. Although it pays direct homage to horror classics such as Night of the Living Dead, Evil Dead 2, The Haunting,The Omen and The Exorcist, it is obvious that this movie wasn't attempting to follow in the path of its forbearers, by using a straight-forward horror approach. Instead, director Joe Berlinger essentially recreates his Paradise Lost documentaries . . . in reverse. (To understand that comment, you'll have to see BWP 2 and the Paradise Lost documentaries. If I explain it, in-depth, I'll reveal too much about all three films.)
BWP 2 studies the effects of group hysteria on a few people who prove themselves to be a bit too obsessed with the entire Blair Witch phenomenon when they become convinced that, not only are there evil spirits working against them, but also an entire small town. Are they correct in their beliefs, or are they experiencing shared delusions? There are no easy answers in this film, and piecing it together, once it's all been said and done, is half the fun.
What does it make you feel like eating?
Bird. Any bird. An owl, a chicken . . . as long as it's fried.
What are you selling us here???
Ironically enough, in my review for the first Blair Witch, I answered the above question by saying "Horror movies really don't need MTV soundtracks to be scary." This time, it is the soundtrack, above all else, that they are trying to sell us. The music in this film is sooooooooooooo horrible, I'm starting to think that they'll be reduced down to pawning off all of the unsold CDs on one of those "music for deaf people" things they sometimes show on the infomercials that occasionally play out in my dreams.
If it won an Oscar, what would it be?
"Most critically panned sequel that Alex Sandell liked since the last time Jason donned his hockey mask" - The Blair Witch Project
On a scale of 1-10?
Agree? Disagree? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Text ©(Copyright) 2000 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, you'll be tied up and forced to listen to the BWP 2 soundtrack over and over again, until you die!
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