This will mark one of a three part look at movies that were critically and publicly trashed, yet I thoroughly enjoyed. This is more than just gulity pleasures and movies so bad they were fun to criticize (like Halle Berry’s Catwoman). These are movies that were judged too harshly, in my opinion, and left me saying “well, I liked it.”
We kick off this series with Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 Written by way too many people and directed by Joe Berlinger, this movie did not try to be the original. It was an actual technical movie.
The original Blair Witch Project was one of the most polarizing movies ever made. People loved it and people hated it. It was an experiment in storytelling. It was an experiment in fear. It was an experiment in vertigo. Yet, it made an insane amount of money, sparked countless rip-offs and spoofs, and left a mark on horror.
I think it was wise of the creators of BOS:BW2 to flip things around on the “found footage idea.” There was no way they would recreate the energy of the first. So, they tell a story of fans of the first movie who gather together to explore the origins of it. Of course, they arrive in the woods and are subjected to hallucinations, unseen attacks, and confusion.
Why was this movie blasted by critics? Why was it snubbed by audiences? How was it nominated for so many Razzies?
Here is a theory. Fans of the first movie enjoyed what it was. Perhaps with 2, they were expecting more of the same. So, that might lead to disappointment. Then, we have those who did NOT like the original. So why would they go see the sequel? It was almost destined to fail, if this theory has any validity.
This is not the best horror movie ever, but I found it’s attempt at a “psychological haunting” more than adequate. Some of the acting was “off”, but we had several performances that did their job: Jeffery Donovan as the mental tour guide, Erica Leehrson as the young wiccan, and Kim Director as the goth gal. They were most memorable of the group. The biggest flaw were the attempts at showing violence (but this was due to an inept producer who should have stayed out of it). Someone wanted gore in a movie that was not known for that.
Overall, the movie unravelled much at the pace of the first one until about half way. The movie could have benefited from giving less to the audience, but I enjoyed it. It was clever, creepy, and cool (minus a handful of out-of-place moments like the camper’s death scene). It deserved a better chance.