The creators of “The Blair Witch” phenomenon are nothing if not masters at marketing, which allows them to get away with this long and frequently gruesome trailer. Though the horror factor diminishes greatly as each layer of the fabricated tale is exposed, this special, airing prior to the theatrical release of “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,” opening Oct. 27, proves that there is more publicity to be milked from the franchise.
As with the original film, Sci Fi is airing a companion mockumentary, hoping to add to the myth and re-create the frenzy that surrounded the release of the first movie.
In the mold of an extremely polished episode of “America’s Most Wanted,” “Shadow” briefly recounts the story of “The Blair Witch Project” and then feeds off into the buzz it created at theaters and on the Internet.
Premise displayed here is that in the wake of all the movie publicity, Goths, Wiccans and folklore fanatics besiege the town of Burkittsville, Md. The most fanatical among them is Jeffrey Patterson, who created an elaborate Web site in homage to “Blair Witch Project” and recruited a group of fans to retrace the steps of the three missing filmmakers in the Black Hills. His odyssey and those of his four group members makes for the spooky events depicted in “Book 2.”
Writer and director Ben Rock cleverly re-creates the real media hoopla surrounding “Blair Witch” as well as an ensuing backlash by the besieged residents of Burkittsville. His script weaves in bogus history and legends, but deftly adds nuances of infighting between the FBI and the local sheriff’s department as well as the town residents themselves.
Carefully crafted and slickly edited by George P. Rizkallah, this special could easily prove more entertaining than the film it promotes.