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Artisan Entertainment
Official Site

Director: Joe Berlinger

Producers: Bill Carraro, Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez

Written by: Joe Berlinger & Dick Bebee

Cast: Tristen Skylar, Stephen B. Turner, Jeffrey Donovan, Kim Director, Erica Leerhsen, Lanny Flaherty

Rating: *** out of 5

BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS is a psychological suspense that combines the comedy of SCREAM and the fear of THE EXORCIST to produce a piece of intelligent filmmaking.

After the success of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT movie, a young, entrepreneurial Burkettsville man sets up a Blair Witch tour guide service (Blair Witch-Hunt) in hopes of cashing in on the movieís success. His inaugural tour group (a Wiccan, a "Goth chick," and girlfriend and boyfriend aspiring filmmakers) heads into the Black Hills forest to camp where notorious child killer Rustin Parr claimed the Blair Witch told him to commit murders. The next morning, after a long night of campside partying, the campers awake unaware of what went on the five hours prior, as they have no memory of going to sleep. Could this be the effects of the previous nightís drug and alcohol indulgence or something they would rather not consider ó a supernatural occurrence? When they return to town, they discover strange markings on their bodies, experience delusions, and begin to exhibit frightening behavior. Is there a chance they did not leave the woods alone? Discerning the real from the imagined becomes increasingly difficult in the groupís efforts to figur out what happened in those five lost hours.

Since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT seemed to receive a love it or hate it reaction, I would like to establish that I am a fan of the first film. I loved the experience and the startlingly amateurish indie feel of the film. Those that had more of a "hate it" reaction, however, will find comfort in knowing that the sequel offers something entirely different. At many levels, BW2 is not even close to the same genre as the first film. Audiences need not worry about the potentially nauseating "shaky-cam," or the incessant screaming and whining of the cast. Instead of approaching the film in the faux-documentary style of the original, Berlinger opts for a more commercialized production ó complete with special effects and enough blood and guts footage to leave you ducking for cover.

I emphasize that audiences should not expect to see a horror, but a psychological suspense. The only truly horrifying aspect of the film is the atrocious acting. What I find to be most appealing about the film is that Berlinger gives the audience a "choose your own adventure" ending. When all is said and done, you are left to decide whether the psychological or the supernatural is culpable for the culmination of events.

óKate Theis

HYBRID Ratings Guide:

***** Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

**** Itís worth a full-price ticket.

*** Itís worth a matinee ticket.

** Wait for video rental.

* Check out the video from the library, if you must.

0 While I would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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