Blair Witch Project [1999]

This thoroughly second-rate follow-up to the groundbreaking (and highly profitable) horror flick The Blair Witch Project--produced by Blair Witch directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez--plays with the notions of reality and fantasy that surrounded the hype of the original movie, and attempts to throw in some scares along the way. A year after the release of the original film, a group of five Blair Witch aficionados--four out-of-towners led by one seriously unhinged "tour guide"--venture into the woods outside Burkittsville, Maryland, on a tour of the sites made famous by missing documentarians Heather, Mike, and Josh. After a drunken night of camping out in hopes of communing with the spirit of the Blair Witch, the five wake up to find that their seemingly innocent sleep may have been disturbed somehow. But what exactly happened? If you're expecting suspense of the first degree and a horrifying payoff similar to the one that climaxed the first film, you'll be sorely disappointed. After retreating to an old, run-down broom factory (get it? Broom factory? Blair Witch? Oh well...), the five go over their videotapes of the night in question to get some answers, and basically wind up screaming at each other for the remainder of the film, and shedding some blood along the way. Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger (of the highly acclaimed Paradise Lost and Brother's Keeper) proves that he should definitely stick to nonfiction filmmaking, and the entire cast is grating and unpleasant, aside from a scene-stealing turn by Kim Director as a goth chick with attitude to burn and a no-nonsense approach to this Blair Witch stuff. Strictly for hard-core Blair Witch fans only, and even then this sequel may prove to disappoint. --Mark Englehart

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