Sunday, March 21, 2010

Worst sequel ever?

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Starring: Erica Leerhsen, Jeffrey Donovan, Kim Director, Stephen Barker Turner, and Tristine Skyler
Director: Joe Berlinger
Rating: Two of Ten Stars

After the disappearance of three film students, and the run-away success of the film based on their uncovered footage (the "Blair Witch Project"), many of the citizens of Burkitsville try to cash in on the tourism. Among these is Jeffrey (Donovan) who leads four thrill-seekers (Leehrsen, Director, Turner, and Skyler) to the foundation of the Blair Witch's cottage. That's where their nightmare begins.

In concept, "Blair Witch 2" could have worked. While some attempts were made at "realism" in it--news-reports, "based on a true story" disclaimers and so on--for the most part, it doesn't try to be anything but a fictional horror movie.

There are quite a few disturbing and shocking scenes and some intriguing mysteries in the film. So far, so good. Unfortunately, no one really bothered to write a decent script to support those disturbing, shocking scenes, nor did anyone make even the slightest attempt at coming up with even a hint at possible answers to the mysteries. Hell, there isn't even an attempt at presenting a sensible plot by the time the credits roll. It's not necessary for everything in a horror movie to make sense, but here there's NOTHING that makes sense at the end. "Something creepy and witch-like happens" must have been the high concept when this thing was pitched, because there's nothing resembling a coherent story here.

To make matters worse, the characters are all unlikable, annoying, AND badly acted. Not even stripping Erica Leehrsen down to her panties can overcome the awfulness of her and everyone else's total lack of acting ability. (Leehrsen CAN act--I've seen her do it elsewhere... I can't speak for the rest of the cast--so I can only assume we need to blame the director.)

While enough random, interesting, creepy things went on in the film to keep me watching, boredom set in repeatedly, and I figured out about ten minutes before the credits rolled that NOTHING was going to be revealed. And, sadly, the movie proved me right. This was a dissatisfying experience all around, and I hope Artisan took a bath on this turkey.

(By the way, has anyone gotten the "ESREVER" 'feature' of the DVD release to work? I can't seem to get it to run. Maybe there is SOME fun to be gained from this film, although I think I've already spotted most of the "hidden" secrets; several weren't really all that hidden.)

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