ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

002013
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Witchboard 2 (1993)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Kevin Tenney

Starring:
Ami Dolenz/Paige
Timothy Gibbs/Mitch
John Gatins/Russel
Julie Michaels/Susan
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Tightly wound and newly single Paige (Dolenz) moves into a loft in order to draw and find herself. She eventually comes across an old Ouija board and plays it on a regular basis. The next thing you know, she begins to wear sexy cut-off shorts (NICE!) and folks around her start dropping dead (NICER!). Why won’t people just stick to drunken “Twister”?
THE LOWDOWN
This sequel to the surprise video hit "Witchboard" anteed up on everything that was slick visually and technically about the first one, but took a step back in terms of content. Having said that, I still had a horror blast while watching it.

Witchboard 2’s main assets were its involving mystery, its cute lead chickadee (Aimee Dolenz is a fox!), its creative kills, its fly directing and its swift pace. Kevin Tenney had a bigger budget to play with than he did with the original here and it showed via the slick ass production values. The stunt set pieces were mucho impressive (all about that car scene) and the tight visuals were taken a couple of stabs further than its forefather. A note on the potent images if I may: Tenney went all out here, giving the film a gorgeous glossy look that charmed the jock-strap off of me.

I was also overjoyed to see that the atmospheric spirit POV shots that I relished so much in the original were taken to the next level in this follow up. Man, can Tenney wrap his camera around anything or what? All about that “spirit through the keyhole” shot. NICE! Another device that was used in "Witchboard" and that was jacked up here were the dream sequences. I know dream bits are nothing novel in genre films, but I still dug them here like Boyardee loves his ravioli (that’s some badass ravioli BTW…I love that shite!). We get a slew of them this time around and they totally upped the “mystery” aspect of the narrative while sporting impressive set designs and eerie atmosphere to boot. Want fries with that?

On the downhill slope, although lead gal Paige (Dolenz) was endearing, the occasional “off” dialogue made her look bad. Paige’s transition from a prudish dame to a bobbling cleavage sexpot also happened way too fast to be credible. The original "Witchboard" did a better job at communicating the gradual change. Then, there was the answer behind the mystery. The flick had me reeled in throughout, but when the rabbit finally jumped out of the hat, I was let down. The motive behind the madness was fairly weak (kind of silly actually). If they would’ve at least shown us more via flashbacks as to what happened, maybe I might've bought it. Lastly, I didn’t appreciate the villain’s Freddy Krueger-like one-liners during the end confrontation. It took away from the edginess of what was going down and were quite unnecessary.

Overall though, "Witchboard 2" was a gnarly and very easy watch and should satisfy fans of the original. There’s a charm about this picture-- it’s classy, scary, yet at the same time, somewhat cheesy. I always wind up going back to it when craving a sweet bon-bon. ARROW: Will genre fiends like this sequel? OUIJA: If they went coo-coo for the first one, they damn should!
GORE
Not much red gravy in this bowl, but the violence kept me in the game. We get a burned up dude, a person getting crushed by a wrecking ball, some bloody stabbings and a kool pickaxe lesson.
ACTING
Ami Dolenz (Paige) was a cutey-patootey and she handled her character’s many levels adequately. I liked her even if the so-so dialogue played against her at times. Laraine Newman (Elaine) was a tad annoying as the chick still hung up in the 60’s. She did an okay job and at least, she was nowhere near as grating as that psychic Zarabeth chick from the first one. Timothy Gibbs (Mitch) played the tough-as-nails cop very well. He gave a subtle and charismatic show. John Gatins (Russel) rang phony to me on many occasions, his character was also too un likeable. Julie Michaels (Susan) had lots of presence, was very believable in the role and sizzled like a 12-pound steak. Too bad some of the corny lines also made her look bad at times.
T & A
See Ami Dolenz in a tight nightgown, see Ami Dolenz in her undies, see Ami Dolenz.
DIRECTING
Tenney got more room to flex his visual muscles here. He injected lots of otherworldly atmosphere via sharp angles, amazing spirit POV shots and gripping slow motion. His damn boo scares got me most of the time too! Great job again duder!
SOUNDTRACK
The creepy score by Dennis Michael Tenney (who also did the one for the original) was used again here and was still very effective. I loved the melody and those creepy moans gave me the freaking willies.
BOTTOM LINE
The two first Witchboard movies are, in my opinion, underrated genre treats. Too bad Kevin Tenney didn’t helm the lousy third one. Although I’m giving them the same rating, I did dig the original more. Having said that, this follow up didn’t let me down...it’s basically a bigger budgeted remake of the first and it delivered all that I loved about Witchboard, but in higher doss. Sure, some of the characters lacked and the dialogue was occasionally shoddy, but I guess that’s the price you pay for all the kool shite this board put out. Get some compadres over the pad, watch 1 and 2 back to back, have a couple of Buds, order some pizza and thank me in the morning.
BULL'S EYE
Todd Allen, who played Jim in the original, has a cameo here as Jim the garbage man. Linda is even mentioned (the lead chick in the first). Tenney’s winking at us. Silly rabbit.
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