Sunday, 16 December 2012

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Tom:
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,2000,USA
Director: Joe Berlinger
Stars: Jeffrey Donovan, Kim Director & Erica Leerhsen
Matthew Lillard Jeffrey Donovan in 'Book of Shadows'
                          ''The gene pool is a little shallow here. Dive in and you'll crack your skull open.''

Film #63 of The December Project

While in preparation for my first viewing of this film, I yesterday revisited 'The Blair Witch Project', which is a film I have grown to love and admire. I came into 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2' with absolutely no idea what was about to occur. All I knew was that this film is pretty much universally despised. I could have never predicted what I saw...

A year after the release of the smash hit phenomenon that was 'The Blair Witch Project', fans have flocked to Maryland, where the film was made, to garner clues to its authenticity. A local rebel runs a tour group into woods, but him and hes group find out that Blair Witch may not be just a legend.

I am not quite sure yet of what I have just watched, was it a spoof film ? a comedy ? a ghost story ? or a 2000 version of 'The Breakfast Club' ? I have no idea, but I am quite concerned and puzzled as to why I enjoyed this film so much. This is a bad film, don't get me wrong, its absolutely poor in all areas of filmmaking, but its so damn funny and so entertaining. I think my experiencing benefited from the fact that I was expecting the worst going in.

What I respect about the film, is that it did not try to replicate the style of the original film, and try to create its own experience, did it succeed ? fuck no! but the results are always entertaining. 'Blair Witch 2' is a film that continues to defy expectations and goes to places you don't think possible, its gutsy if not brainless.

Director Joe Berlinger and Screenwriter Dick Beebe pull out all the Horror film cliches they can muster, weather it be from 'The Exorcist', 'The Omen', 'Evil Dead' and even its own predecessor, the film goes to great lengths to scare you. It does not achieve this though, actually the results are quite humorous, very humorous in fact. Maybe it was the strange line delivery by the actors, or the screenplay, or the direction or possibly the worst Sheriff put on film, but 'Blair Witch 2' almost had me laughing my ass off.

The films concept and execution are just so brilliantly obscure and its baffling to think how the filmmakers decided to go with this idea. The film features plenty of tiresome allusions to witchcraft and what not, The long speeches about the origins of witchcraft and how it works were probably the only part of the film I did not enjoy.

I thought Matthew Lillard was really great in this film, but then I realized it wasn't him, which saddened me because I'm a big fan. Anyway, it was Jeffrey Donovan who seemed to be channeling Lillard's performance in 'Scream', he was the most enjoyable character on screen due to his resemblance to Lillard. To be brutally honest, the cast is horrendous, it seemed like no one knew what the hell they were doing, maybe that's the directors fault, but they could of at least improvised or something. Kim Director (great name) plays a cliched Gothic women, who the rules do not apply to. Tristine Skyler plays the women who we have to be sympathetic towards, because she had a miscarriage, her husband is played Stephen Barker Turner who is a Jeff Daniels' lookin son of a bitch, and is the most intolerable person on screen, and Erica Leerhsen plays a woman who is convinced shes a witch, see its practically the cast of 'The Breakfast Club'!. Also I above mentioned the Sheriff, either that guy was portraying the worst police officer ever, or he was just the worst actor ever, I'm not sure yet, its all guess work at this point.

'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2' is a bad film there is no escaping that fact, but it is also a really freaking enjoyable one, a guilty pleasure if you will. Its not a patch on its predecessor but its a very entertaining and funny time. I can see myself revisiting this in the future, in the same way I do 'Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2'.

**1/2

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