Last summer's "Blair Witch Project" was the most profitable movie of all time, and "Book" comes to the screen, expectations extremely high, with a new director, larger budget and a whole new vision. Sometimes, more really is less.
Director Joe Berlinger, who directed the truly creepy documentary "Paradise Lost: The Child Murderers at Robin Hood Hills," makes his feature film debut by taking all that was original or scary about the first "Blair" and totally trashing it in order to make a jaw-droppingly bad homage to '80s horror.
The movie's introduction starts out, promisingly enough, on the right foot. Using real clips and news footage, it recounts the happenings of the first film while highlighting its humorous effect on the small town of Burkittsville, Md., its unfortunate location. Then, the credits roll, Marilyn Manson growls the opening tune and "Book" really begins to blow.
It tells the story of a group of "Blair" film-obsessed 20-somethings who decide to trek out to the site of the first film in order to drink and smoke weed. The group inexplicably blacks out for five hours and wakes up in deep doo-doo, metaphorically speaking. Their oodles of camera equipment hold the only key to what happened.
Unfortunately, "Book" truly fails in every way that its predecessor succeeded. It is unnecessarily gory, while the first had little violence. Its characters, who also use their real names, do not carry an inkling of believability. The whole film is pretty much just the characters watching a television over and over again. Nothing really happens that would ever be interesting. It doesn't even contain one mention of a Book of Shadows. Is that allowed?
Any mystery or fright that was associated with the first film has been replaced with a glossy horror movie that is similar to a bad "Friday the 13th" entry (with the boring woods setting, stupid young people and even worse direction). The militant government wants an example of entertainment that is bad for children and adults? Look no further.
This "Book" should have been left on the cutting room floor.
The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.