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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Witchouse II: Blood Coven (2000) Horror Evil Ghost

Witchouse II: Blood Coven (2000) - Change directors, and actors and move the shoot to Romania, add a cinematographer who creates real shots and you have a substantially better film than the first int the series. It is not great, but the 2.3 rated Witchouse was a target it can easily do better than. Adding director J. R. Bookwalter a veteran of low budget horror, certainly helps he seems to have a sense of how to make a film and use his crew. Gone are the obviously amateur glitches in story and execution that plagued the first film. Side note is one of his early works was the laughable Galaxy of the Dinosaurs, reviewed right here on Soresport Movies. This film is a fairly decent effort by him and he used Romanian cinematographer Gabriel Kosuth (Wolf Girl, Mirrors, The Glass House) who really created some fine looking shots on location.
Revamping the story from the first to the second film was done without slashing up the mythology of the first story. Instead of a spell to summon Lilith Le Fey from the other side this time we have DNA contamination. In the Blood Coven story we are at the same house. It is years after the events of the first film and the town wants to tear the old mansion down and build a mall on the location. Unfortunately construction workers found some unmarked graves and the project has to stop until the remains are identified and any anthropological significance is determined. The town brings in a team headed by Dr. Sparrow (Ariauna Albright who also plays Lilith) and her team of students and assistants, Stephanie (Elizabeth Hobgood) and Norman (Nicholas Lanier) who team up and go off doing the research that teaches the audience the story behind the unmarked graves. They have a very Blair Witch Project (1999) approach to the work they do. Running a camera in interviews with town folk the relay how the town feels about the myth of the house and the historical elements important to the plot. There was a lot of common video camera work between this film and the earlier mentioned BWP, it came out the year before and was a really big hit for an independent film. In fact Witchouse 2 starts with a couple exploring the house in a direct rip off to the BWP style of filming. The guy films while Dementia (Angela Womeldorf) narrates their exploration of the haunted place. We even get the panicked running cam as they attempt to flee danger and ultimately coming to a horrible end.
The rest of the research crew all possible Red Shirts are Angela (Kaycee Shank), Clark (Alexandru Dragoi), Jodi (Adriana Butoi), and Wilson (Claudiu Trandafir). The last major character is Sheriff Jake Harmon (Andrew Pine). Pine is a veteran actor who has been working in Hollywood since the late 50's. In both film and television I remember him most as Don Stober in the movie Grizzly (1976). In this film he is the sheriff who wants to see the research team leave as soon as possible because the mall will bring a lot of jobs into the community. He also has a dual role but I will forgo that reveal because I don't want to give too much of the plot away. He does have the best line in the three films, it is pertinent to anyone coming across and watching this series. "Sometimes the innocent suffer for the all." I am sure the viewers out there feel they have suffered enough to warn people away from these films.
What I can say is that when some bone dust gets into a cut on Dr. Sparrows finger, Lilith is back and like in the first film she is looking for revenge against the town. Soon she is turning researchers into acolytes and looking to get all those families that harmed her so many years before. What? Sounds like the same plot from Witchouse, well to an extent it is. Added though is a entire back story of Lilith's origin and those of the town. There are specific details telling why she wants revenge and why their are people charged with making sure she never rises from the grave. There is the expected badness in this film, with characters exploring alone. Low budget special effects and needless plot holes but over all and in comparison this is not totally horrible. While writing this review I am still not sure it is a recommend but this reviewer has seen many worse movies. Still in doing screen captures for this film I relived some really painful dialog. There was also a music montage of driving which is intolerable filler, and just corny screen writing so I have to take some of my earlier praise away.
It gets bonus points for the Scooby Doo reference. Plus there is a fair amount of tension in the later scenes as Westmore and the remaining two researchers try to destroy the bodies of the witches before Lilith can get them. The ending which seems very final left me thinking that they were really going to have to jump through hoops to bring Lilith back again in Witchouse 3: Demon Fire.
Rating (3.8) 5.0 and up are recommended in the Zombiegrrlz system Skip It!

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