The case of the West Memphis Three, its questionable circumstances and the parties involved are followed up years later.The case of the West Memphis Three, its questionable circumstances and the parties involved are followed up years later.The case of the West Memphis Three, its questionable circumstances and the parties involved are followed up years later.
It's sad that Berlinger and Sinofsky decided to take such a manipulative approach to the sequel, as although Byers is clearly an unhinged and simple-minded hick, there is no evidence against him killing the three boys (Michael Moore, Stevie Branch, and his stepson Christopher Byers) aside from the fact that he comes across as scary and strange. The first film was an intense study of mob mentality and the dangers of pre- judgement by appearance, and how the West Memphis Three managed to get themselves convicted simply for being black-wearing outcasts. So Revelations comes across is hypocritical.
When new evidence is presented, suggesting teeth marks on the head of one of the victims, tests prove that none of the WM3's teeth match. When Byers is confronted, he reveals that he had his teeth removed but keeps changing his story as to when this took place. He is repeatedly confronted by a support group that help fund and promote the case against the WM3, but they come across as equally strange as Byers, following Echols like groupies as if he was some kind of prophet, and they berate Byers into handing in his dental records voluntarily to prove himself innocent. Byers refuses, stating that there is no case against him, and this is shown in the film as if an admittance of guilt. The film-makers never take any time to explain the reasoning behind Byers' behaviour, clearly convinced of his guilt.
In the end, it's a case of there being too little here to warrant a two hour-plus movie. The new evidence is flimsy to say the least, and as revealed in West of Memphis (2012), is probably completely wrong. Yet when the film gets back down to cold facts, it becomes as riveting as the first film, unveiling a justice system that seems unwilling to open the doors to the possibility that they simply got it wrong. It's just a shame that too much time is spent on a personal witch-hunt, and even when Byers passes a voluntary lie-detector test, the film suggests that Byers was on so much prescription medication that the results of this cannot really stand up, yet fails to ask to conductor of the test of his views regarding this. It's certainly a confused film, and one that works best when it stays on topic and documents the facts rather than revelling in propagandistic speculation.
- Sep 28, 2013