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Blair Witch Experience

Artisan Entertainment, DVD + CD

The Blair Witch Project - Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 - The Blair Witch Series

The Blair Witch Experience is a new special limited edition boxed set available from Artisan Entertainment. It combines both of the Blair Witch movies as well as all three of the Blair Witch video games. Release of the boxed set seems to squelch rumors of a Blair Witch III any time in the near future.

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 takes place in present-day Burkittsville, after the events chronicled in The Blair Witch Project. Four young people have signed up for a tour of the Black Hills, the latest Blair Witch-inspired moneymaker dreamed up by Jeff Donovan, a black sheep townie with a murky past.

They set up camp near the foundation of the house that belonged to Rustin Parr, the old hermit who was hanged for the murders of seven children, a crime that bore the mark of the Blair Witch. In the morning, the campers awake with no memory of having gone to sleep and five hours stolen from their lives. They return to Jeff’s residence, an abandoned 19th Century warehouse at the edge of Burkittsville, to try to piece together what happened. But the strange occurrences haven’t ended with that night, as legend and reality become frighteningly entwined. Bizarre symbols appear on their bodies, children’s plaintive crying is heard, phantasmagoric visions confound their eyes, and fleeting apparitions suggest the villainy of the distant past. In the woods, a grisly discovery at Coffin Rock recalls a deadly chapter in the history of the Blair Witch. No longer sure what is real and what is imagined, the five young people start to unravel psychologically, eyeing one another with suspicion and edging ever closer to mass hysteria. Too late, they realize that when they left the woods, they didn’t leave alone …

After watching The Blair Witch Project (BWP) and anxiously waiting for its sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 many were let down with the final product. Comparing the two films isn't really fair though as they are a quite good example of apples and oranges. As a stand alone film, Book of Shadows isn't bad. In fact I enjoyed seeing it this time around much better than I did when it came out in the theater. However, It's when compared to it's outrageously popular predecessor that many people feel let down. BWP remains the single most successful independent film of all time. Low production values, shaky camera work, limited budget for sets and special effects all characterized the film. Book of Shadows is exactly the opposite. If it weren't for the BWP existing and the in movie references to BWP the film could have done just fine as the beginning of a series.

The selection of characters, while showing the broad appeal the first movie had with audiences, seems a tad cliché and flat. The acting is not great, it's almost there but misses the mark. The actors seemed uncommitted to the roles or perhaps didn't understand the characters themselves. However, the mish-mosh of characters isn't as distracting as the soundtrack though. The creepy silence of the first Blair Witch has been replaced by a cacophony of hard rock riffs. Again, comparing the two films is perhaps a little unfair. The music is completely fitting in the style for Book of Shadows.

A unique feature of this DVD is "The Secret of Esrever". I won't be giving anything away by telling you the Esrever is reverse spelled backward. The producers of the BWP2 have hidden secret messages throughout the film in the form of images and text that will help you solve the mystery of the Blair Witch. While I'm not sure exactly how they help solve the mystery (they didn't for me) it's a pleasant diversion to try and spot all of the hidden messages. In fact, without help, you may never find them all as some are so subtle I didn't see them until they were pointed out. In fact, some of them I didn't see after they were pointed out.

Tour group at the Burkittsville cemetery Tour group at the Burkittsville cemetery

Kim Kim

Tristen Tristen

Erica Erica

Jeff Jeff 

Stephen Stephen

Strange markings appear Strange markings appear

Erica is found Erica is found

Suspicion and fear make them turn on each other Suspicion and fear make them turn on each other

Another unique feature of the DVD is that it's both DVD and CD. The front of the disk is DVD with the movie and special features while the back is a CD containing the soundtrack and is playable on standard CD players. A confusing choice on the part of Artisan considering they are also trying to sell the soundtrack separately.

For those of you who were disappointed when you first saw this movie in the theater, like me, it's time to take a second look at the film. This time, watch it before you take a second or 100th look at the original. I think you'll change your mind and enjoy it this time around.

For fans of the Blair Witch movies The Blair Witch Experience is an excellent buy. Two movies and three games plus and neat Blair Witch pendant for less than the price of one new release game. However, for the majority of people, it might be a better value to purchase or rent The Blair Witch Project and skip the sequel and games.

The DVD special features of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 include:

  • The Secret of Esrever
  • Audio Commentary by Director Joe Berlinger
  • Select Scene Commentary with Composer Carter Burwell
  • Live Performance by the Band Godhead
  • Widescreen Presentation
  • English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
  • French & Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio
  • Weblink Access to Exclusive and Never-Before-Seen Footage and Other Extras
  • Cast and Crew Information
  • Production Notes
  • 17 Song CD Soundtrack on back

The Blair Witch Experience Special Limited Edition Collector's Set includes:

  • The Blair Witch Project DVD
  • Book of Shadows Blair Witch 2 DVD
  • The Blair Witch Series Video Games:
  •    Volume I: Rustin Parr
  •    Volume II: The LEgend of Coffin Rock
  •    Volume III: The Elly Kedward Tale
  • A neat Blair Witch pendant on twine necklace

Do you think we got this movie totally wrong? Agree with us? Or just want everyone to know your thoughts? Then start a discussion of this movie in our forums!

QUICK FACTS

Studio

Artisan

Genre

Horror

Rating

R

Length

90 Minutes

Color

Yes

Sound

Yes

 

CAST

Actor / Actress

Character

Jeffrey Donovan

Jeffrey Donovan

Tristen Skyler

Tristen Skyler

Stephen Barker Turner

Stephen Barker Turner

Erica Leerhsen

Erica Leerhsen

Kim Director

Kim Director

 

CREW

Joe Berlinger

Director

Bill Carraro

Producer

Dick Beebe

Screenplay

Joe Berlinger

Screenplay

Carter Burwell

Music

 

Reviewed by: Hauntmaster 5/03/2002 - Parts of this review were provided by Artisan Entertainment

         
 
   

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