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Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000)

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Overall Rating 75%
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Ranked #4,704
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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. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: June 12, 2008
Four years had elapsed since "Paradise Lost" when its sequel was released in 2000, also on HBO, the cable network that had released the original picture. "Revelations" picks up four years later and re-focuses on the same individuals it chronicled in the original. We get to see what prison time has done to the three former teens who have now turned into young adults behind bars. We get to see what has happened to their families as a result of their being away and the national attention. Some of the parents have resigned themselves to the fact that their children are gone forever while others have joined up with the musicians and celebrities who want them freed. And, we see what has happened to the parents of the deceased children who were viciously murdered.

The most interesting aspect of the film is the growth of Damien Echols, the young man who wore black and did nothing but listen to Metallica. Prison has changed him. He has a son on the outside who visits him in prison. He looks different, speaks different and seems to be far more mature than someone his age usually is. All three of the boys maintain their innocence, but nothing seems to be being done about it. "Revelations" also covers another trial of the boys, with new evidence presented, though the outcome turns out to be the same. The film follows Christopher Byers and even further indicts him as a possible suspect in the original murders. We learn that, during the shoot of the first film, Byers gave director Joe Berlinger a small knife as a gift. Berlinger realized there was blood on the knife. After analysis, it was revealed that the blood belonged to one of the dead children.

What makes this film so sad is that it shows how this tragedy has devastated so many lives, for the long haul. One of the mothers of the boys has committed suicide. Her husband, Christopher Byers, visits her grave in one of the most bizarre, fabricated and frightening scenes in the entire film. It's also sad to see these three boys in prison, trying their best to not let it get them down. Some of them succeed and some do not. By the end of the film, I was even more convinced that the wrong people were in prison and that the real killer had already been interviewed by the filmmakers at some point. "Revelations" is just as powerful and just as informative as the first film, though they have different moods to them. This one ends with a tiny bit more optimism than the original. It's rare when a sequel to a documentary is this affective.

10/10.
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