Submitted by: Agent Sam Stanley
Given the fact that the internet is talking again about the Blair Witch films thanks to Adam Wingard’s new entry on the franchise, I’ve decided to take a shot on my own Blair Witch Project and recut the 2000 sequel Book of Shadows, which I’ve been a fan of since its original release.
Book of Shadows is considered one of the worst horror sequels ever made. The movie has fans but they’re very few. In my opinion it’s a very misunderstood film that tried to base its story in the hype surrounding the original film and its fans and create a psychological and ambiguous horror film in the same molds of the first one. More importantly, it tried to create a new concept and expand the franchise instead of doing the first film all over again. Unfortunately fans were not keen on the idea of establish the first film as fiction and appalled the film.
The studio behind Book of Shadows certainly didn’t help it either and ironically may be the biggest villain in this story. Despite being a major box office success, there was a lot of complains from viewers that the Blair Witch Project ‘had a terrible pace and didn’t have any really scary scenes’. The studio decided to make sure the sequel would provide those scares so they made director Joe Berlinger add a lot of gore and “on your face” scary scenes to the film during post production. Not only that, a lot of scenes that were originally meant to appear at the end were scattered through the film to make it more “dynamic” so viewers wouldn’t complain about the pacing.
The decisions ended up blowing up in their faces. The extra scenes and the weird editing made the film look weird, confusing and disconnected. The editing was all over the place intercutting nice bonding scenes between the characters with bloody murder flashbacks. Critics thought it was messy, viewers thought it was confusing. It ended up being a major bomb.
The sad thing is, behind all the mess you can see a film that had a lot of potential. The concept is still interesting and the actors were very much in their characters.
Since the chances of a ‘Director’s Cut’ getting a release are rather slim given the film’s bad reputation with horror fans, I decided to assemble my own Director’s Cut and share it with other fans like myself.
My idea is basically try to rebuilt Joe Berlinger’s original vision of the film cutting out all the unnecessary gore and cheap scare scenes and placing some scenes in their correct order.
I’ve recently uploaded a preview on Vimeo comparing my reworked intro scene with the original intro seen in the film just to show a small sample of what I’m trying to do.
I’m still not finished with my edit so I would like to hear comments and suggestions of other horror fans regarding the reworked intro or maybe the idea as a whole. Don’t be shy and speak up.
Here’s the preview with the intro comparison: