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Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000)

Unrated | | Documentary, Crime | TV Movie 12 March 2001
The case of the West Memphis Three, its questionable circumstances and the parties involved are followed up years later.
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Himself
Melissa Byers ... Herself (archive footage)
Norris Deajon ... Himself
Tim Sullivan ... Himself (archive sound)
Chris Worthington ... Himself
... Himself
Kathy Bakken ... Herself
Burk Sauls ... Himself
... Himself
... Himself (as Jessie Miskelly)
Debra Shue ... Herself
Grove Pashley ... Himself
Anna Masek ... Herself
Ruth Carter ... Herself
Bill Pritcherson ... Himself
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Storyline

In 1994, three nonconformist boys in West Memphis, Arkansas were convicted for a horrific triple child murder. However, the original film shows how questionable evidence and a prejudiced community instead led to an apparent miscarriage of justice. The producers return to West Memphis to meet the Three again and the grassroots movement that has arisen to exonerate the Three. However, the father of one of the victims, John Mark Byers, is profiled as well as he belligerently asserts the three's guilt even as new evidence and his own criminal record draws suspicion on himself. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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Documentary | Crime

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

12 March 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Revelations: Paradise Lost 2  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only film of the trilogy to be a TV project instead of receive a theatrical release. See more »

Goofs

At one point the on-screen date for a trial scene is listed as January of 1993. The murders didn't occur until May of that year. See more »

Connections

Followed by Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Poor Twisted Me
Performed by Metallica
Written by Lars Ulrich and Lars Ulrich
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User Reviews

 
Rather hypocritical sequel
28 September 2013 | by See all my reviews

After the storm kicked up by the first film, film-makers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky returned to West Memphis four years later. Whereas the first film seemed to simply document the case in as much detail as possible and allowed you to make your own mind up, with Revelations, they seem to have their own agenda. New 'evidence' has been discovered, and perhaps the real killer still walks the streets, and it's clear who Berlinger and Sinofsky believes it to be. That crazy bastard John Mark Byers, who took so much pleasure in giving Biblical rants to camera, hardly covers himself in glory, and he's back here to build fake graves for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley at the crime scene, only to set them on fire amidst his demented monologues.

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.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


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