Friday, October 16, 2015

31 Days of Halloweeen 2015: Day 16

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Joe Berlinger

Sometime after the events of The Blair Witch Project (1999), the tapes of the doomed filmmakers has made the town of Burkittsville  into a tourist attraction, complete with competing tour bus companies.  Jeff (Jeff Patterson) is the owner and operator of one such tour company and he is taking a group of kids to visit the legendary grounds of the Blair Witch. The group camps out near the ruins of Rustin Parr’s house, where the original film ended. Everyone begins to have strange experiences. As everyone returns from the trip their hallucinations on get worse, and soon it becomes apparent that their night in the woods was a little more active than they remember.

Book of Shadows had the deck stacked against it from the start. It was following up a hugely popular film that was the first to successfully use the internet in a promotion campaign. Coming out only a year later it was rushed into production. What was initially going to be a more meta-textural look at the public reaction to The Blair Witch Project being real, was instead re-cut by the studio into a more by-the-numbers horror film. It was a critical and financial failure, and for better or worse killed the Blair Witch Project off as a franchise. Despite all that, I find myself liking this movie. It’s a fascinating what-if, and just enough of Berlinger’s original vision filters through to tantalize. Much like the Blair Witch itself, what we don’t see is the interesting part of it all.

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