Joe Berlinger - Blair Witch 2

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Interviewed by James Mottram

How do you follow up a phenomenon like "The Blair Witch Project"?

I thought "Blair Witch" was such a huge, cultural experience - a moment in time that could not be repeated. To me it represented a unique confluence of ingredients. It was a very unique, anti-Hollywood movie, marketed through misinformation - by telling people that this was a true story propelled by a new medium, the Internet. So when confronted with the idea of making the sequel, I thought that the worst thing possible would be to follow in the footsteps of the first movie. It would be very unfulfilling to be derivative. My sequel is a comment about the first movie. Here was a chance to make a movie about the impact of the original, all the while delivering a commercially satisfying horror movie.

What's your relationship with Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, who made the first movie?

They had mixed feelings about doing a sequel, but they've been incredibly gracious and respectful about my selections as a director. They really liked my documentary "Paradise Lost", but it was Artisan (who released the first film in the US) who first came to me.

How do you think the fans will react to your efforts?

There are two audiences for this movie. The "Blair Witch" fanatics, who were responding to an original anti-Hollywood movie and would not want to see a sequel. And then there were all the people - and there were a lot of them - who felt manipulated and ripped off by the first movie, that it was overly hyped. How do you get them back in the cinema? It's a tough act to follow.

"Blair Witch 2" star Erica Leerhesen on her film debut.