Da Hip Hop Witch (2000)

As a movie reviewer, a lot of times it’s more fun to watch a bad movie than a good one because they’re easier to write about and are more susceptible to wacky critical zingers (“Fantastic Four? More like Not-So-Fantastic Bore. Burn!”), but there’s nothing enjoyable about Da Hip Hop Witch. It’s a chore to watch, like an improv act performed by people from the audience. It’s one of the many spoofs to emerge in the wake of The Blair Witch Project (see also The Black Witch Project, The Bogus Witch Project and Bigfoot Caught on Tape) that interpreted that film’s success to mean that anyone can create a hit movie with no budget, a bare-bones script, a camcorder and no conclusive ending. Da Hip Hop Witch might be the bottom of the barrel, though, and worst of all, it’s not really even a horror movie.

Unlike other Blair Witch spoofs, this film doesn’t claim to be “found footage,” so why does director Dale Resteghini insist on such ridiculously amateurish camerawork (crazy zooms, jittery movements, peeking over tabletops, shooting up people’s nostrils)? Maybe because he’s a ridiculous amateur. The best thing that can be said about him is that he has contacts — or maybe compromising pictures — within the rap industry, which he parlays into appearances by the likes of Eminem, Pras, Ja Rule, Killah Priest, Mobb Deep, Rah Digga and…Vanilla Ice? Vitamin C? Beverly Peele???

They all appear as themselves in the film, giving ad-libbed testimonies of their encounters with “the Black Witch of the Projects,” who’s supposedly terrorizing rappers all along the East Coast (She must be from Compton. Westside!). Weeded-up rappers ad libbing? What could possibly go wrong? As you’d expect, the monologues are stammering messes that test the limits of how many “knowwhatimean”s and “y’knowwhati’msayin”s one human can ingest, and more than once, they end with the witch sticking a finger up the rapper’s ass. These segments, incidentally, account for HALF OF THE MOVIE.

The rest of the film is only slightly more scripted, involving some garbage about five white suburban kids (including Resteghini) looking for the witch, while a reporter (Stacii Jae Johnson) goes undercover to expose the witch, and a couple of music producers (Tony Prendatt and Elijah Rhoades) exploit the legend and plot against a rival rapper (LA the Darkman). With the interspersed monologues, Da Hip Hop Witch has the feel of a mockumentary, although that term would imply that it’s remotely funny, which it’s not. It’s not even in the “so bad it’s good” category; it’s more like “so bad it should be shot in the face and buried in a shallow grave so dogs can eat its carcass.” This is sub-student film level, because student filmmakers would at least be learning HOW to make a film and could put some level of aptitude into the project. This is, from start to finish, how NOT to make a movie.

At some point, the filmmakers redesigned the DVD cover art to feature Eminem (he tried unsuccessfully to have himself removed from the film altogether), which is deceptive to say the least, but I say anyone who’d rent an Eminem movie deserves what they get. Unfortunately, Da Hip Hop Witch represents a growing portion of the direct-to-video horror market: interloping non-horror opportunists looking to get over by tricking people into renting (or God forbid, buying) movies with snazzy or misleading box covers.

Considering it was “written” (as it were), produced and directed by a white guy, I move to declare Da Hip Hop Witch officially a hate crime.

“I think I’m in Little Italy.”
Eminem took time to reflect on his douche baggage.
There’s nothing sadder than solo patty cakes.
“Alright man, that’s YOUR ASS!!! …Somebody hold my baby.”
Life is a highway…I hope your airbag malfunctions.
Take A Blood To Work Day ran smoothly until it fell on Casual Crip Friday.
When Vitamin C’s 15 minutes of fame ended, scurvy ran rampant.

What do you think?