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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.9%
Worth A Look: 14.38%
Average: 8.9%
Pretty Bad: 7.53%
Total Crap60.27%

10 reviews, 86 user ratings

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Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
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by Erik Childress

"The Worst and Most Dangerous Film of the Year"
1 stars

Many people have questioned the reasoning behind creating a sequel to The Blair Witch Project. Supporters of the original cry “sellout!”. Others look in interest to see if the now-proposed Blair Witch Trilogy can expand upon the legend. Those who loathe the first one still can’t understand how anyone liked it to begin with. My personal thought, this sequel was created to make people appreciate how original and scary the Project actually was. For Blair Witch 2 starts as a film that just makes me angry and concludes by making me absolutely furious.

The first 2 minutes of the film give off the false promise of what part 2 could have and maybe should have been, as various media clips of talk shows and Roger Ebert talking about the impact of The Blair Witch Project. We become aware of the effect the phenomenon had on the small town of Burkittsville and why thousands of people have ascended on it to test their own will and curiosity in the woods where the three documentarians disappeared. So far, so good.

Then we meet the five characters who will be our new guide into the heart of darkness. There’s Jeff, the founder of the Blair Witch-Hunt Tour who spent time in a mental hospital drooling milk like Ash the robot from Alien. His suckers, um, tourists consist of happy couple Stephen and Tristan (not Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall), who are exploring research for a new book on the Blair Witch. Finally there’s Erica, the witch and Kim, the Goth chick. If that seems like an oversimplification of the characters, believe me that my descriptions are more complicated than the script’s.

Our new victims, um, researchers set up camp next to David Copperfield’s amazing disappearing, reappearing tree. They set up enough cameras to capture every frame of their pseudo-intellectual Stand By Me/campfire talk and then set off on a night of debauchery that could reasonably kill just about any group of campers. During their little bout with beer and pot, these five idiots have a blackout of immense proportions. They can barely remember anything from the previous night and even their video equipment has been trashed. Luckily the all important tapes have been preserved and stashed under the same rocks where they found Heather, Josh and Mike’s tapes from the first ordeal. Now it’s back to Jeff’s warehouse to search through the tapes and to see things, hear things and suspect each other. Boo Hoo, you had me, then you lost me.

The original Blair Witch Project was a horror film of unprecedented power. It’s uneasiness not only stemmed from the internet campaign that made some people question whether it was fiction at all, but we feared for the lives of Heather, Josh and Mike. Not because they were well-drawn three-dimensional movie characters, but because we identified with their fear of being trapped in the woods, sharing the same horrific knowledge that they went in search for, and seeing exactly what they were seeing through their camera’s eye. After spending 15 minutes with these five doomed characters, any sane audience member will be rooting for the Blair Witch to get herself some seconds.
There are countless questions you will be asking yourself when you leave the theater. (1) What was Jeff in the mental hospital for? (2) What is the Book of Shadows? The name of the couple’s book is The Blair Witch: History or Hysteria, but no other book is made mention of. What’s up with that? (3) Did Keyser Soze leave the character profiles of everyone in that drawer? (4) How come when real dogs finally appear in place of Jeff’s open door barking dog alarm system, that when they disappear does the actual alarm not sound with the door wide open? (5) Why is a redneck sheriff used for ridiculous comic relief then also expected to be threatening and taken seriously? (6) Why does one character bother to ask why Heather, Josh and Mike weren’t having sex? Better yet, which idiot writer wrote that line in the script? I mean I’m aware that the countless video parodies like The Erotic Witch Project and The Bare Wench Project had yet to be released, but if I was cold, hungry, lost and being hunted by an invisible stalker leaving elaborate twig figures like Gaff in Blade Runner and the bloody remains of my cinematographer, I’d be looking to stay flacid too. The fact that that question is even asked is a clear statement on the difference between good horror films and bad ones. The good ones reach deep down into our personal fears and shake us up. The bad ones are nothing more than excuses for blood and sex.

There’s nothing to care about or anything to fear in Blair Witch 2. Billing itself as a “fictionalized re-creation” of events that took place after the release of the Blair Witch Project, all the horror is represented in the time-disgraced tradition of bad scary movies with the sounds of crying children, a little gore and some ghosts that seemed to get cut out of The Sixth Sense. Naturally, only certain characters at certain times can see or hear these visions, leaving themselves confused and others unaware. Where’s Haley Joel Osment when you need him? Forgetting to scare its audience would seem like the worst sin a horror film could commit, but what proceeds from here adds up to a conclusion that makes this a very dangerous film. To skate around the ending isn’t too difficult as the documentary-style approach to flash forward and back makes us aware who the survivors are. But the more one analyzes the final scenes, the more you understand that the position the filmmakers take is scarier than anything in the previous 75 minutes.

Like the climax of the original, the final events are left up to one’s own interpretation. Were Heather and Mike struck down by the Blair Witch or by some anonymous psycho recreating events they had heard about? Part two wants to have that kind of ambiguity, yet the answer is staring you right in the face and it’s a disturbing one. With all that’s going on in the world and the uphill battle that Hollywood is facing against the lazy parents and the politicians looking to score points, Book of Shadows states that killers do, in fact, have excuses.

The director and co-writer of this film is Joe Berlinger. He is a documentary filmmaker that made the chilling examination of “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills”, the story of three teenagers who was tried and convicted of conducting satanic rituals and mutilating the bodies of three second-graders. That film presents its own case suggesting that the public, outraged and disgusted, rushed to judgement on these three boys who read up on witchcraft, dressed in black and were just a little bit different than the usual norm of society. The ending of this film echoes this sentiment, but doesn’t have the freedom to exploit such an innocent angle as it’s dealing with a supernatural element, or is it?

The hikers become aware of their own reality, but the aforementioned videotapes show an altered one. What really happened? If videotape doesn’t lie, as one character says, than what the audience sees is what the characters see and what the characters see is all in their head. The idea that killers see a skewered version of reality has been used to visual impact in Natural Born Killers and more recently in The Cell. Berlinger seems to want us to sympathize with people who have no cause for sympathy. A clear statement is suggested that the cause of these murders may be related to the countless horror films that these characters have ingested over the years, allowing them to conjure up and use the Blair Witch as an excuse. Who’s the sellout now, Berlinger?

The geniuses in Congress trying to create laws to protect the children of the world have their little blacklist of titles. They include films like Natural Born Killers, Kids and would probably include the upcoming Requiem for a Dream if they saw it. But we all know that protesters of this nature never see the films they want to ban. If they did, they might come to realize that these adult-themed films show the harsh reality in such an un-glorified way, that no child raised well and with a good head on their shoulder could be negatively influenced. This disintegration of common sense in our society and the way we coddle murderers by wielding the insanity defense like an empty gun is going to be our downfall. One critic has even commented that Book of Shadows is “the sequel that Scream 2 wanted to be.” Anyone who saw Scream 2 (one of the best sequels ever made) will remember that the killer intended to “blame the movies” in a long satire-rich rant of the very ridiculousness that Blair Witch 2 ends with. Perhaps a star or two would be in order if the film had managed to produce any scares of even the most miniscule of magnitudes. But as it stands now, it’s nothing more than a 90-minute meditation on the devil made me do it that should be burned alongside the witches of Salem. Finally, Joseph Liebermann has a film that he can get behind, if only he can get past the drugs, booze, blood and gratuitous nudity.

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originally posted: 10/30/00 15:32:25
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell not bad 3 stars
8/07/14 David Hollingsworth not even worth it 1 stars
7/05/14 Dane Youssef It's just a mainstream conventional slasher version of the first. 1 stars
11/29/09 Steve I kept waiting for something to happen and then the movie ended. 1 stars
10/13/09 Caitlin I quite liked it actually. The flashes were unnessary, but it was deep. It tried... 4 stars
4/01/08 Clark Flawed, but still a lot better than many horror flicks we see today... 4 stars
9/22/06 Pritchett Not NERALY as bad as everyone says. Actually, a pretty good little horror film. 4 stars
8/09/06 Doreen I see why they stopped after this one! 1 stars
6/15/06 Garrett If you actually understand it. You will like it. 4 stars
4/25/06 Moore Meloncholy Popping bloody pimples have more fright and entertainment value then this crap. 1 stars
1/02/06 cody a movie with kinded interesting story and beliveable characters, but everthing else stunk 2 stars
9/25/05 D Buckley What the hell is going on... 1 stars
8/18/05 ES Rebecca- don't forget the wizard of OZ that's got an evil witch too! this movie stinks 1 stars
7/09/05 Rebecca I tried counting the errors and stereotypes about Wicca. I lost count and threw up. 1 stars
4/26/05 Indrid Cold A Hollywood cash grab that is notable only because it shows how great the 1st one was. 2 stars
3/13/05 Ronin Anyone who likes this crap more than the 1st BWP is a braindead 12 years old simpleton. 2 stars
9/17/04 jeff frank better than the first but still pretty bad 2 stars
8/03/04 Anthony G This movie eats shit form carl winslow's fat black ass 1 stars
7/28/04 G not as bad as 1st but still shit 1 stars
6/30/04 Mike 5 stars
6/13/04 Jack Bourbon Dumb as it is, I like this movie. I also like the chunky girl. 4 stars
4/29/04 X They should have a bad movie burning 1 stars
4/17/04 Michael Greenwaldt A wicked mindfuck! MUCH better than the awful original! This one is a disturbing blast! 5 stars
1/06/04 George great!!! 5 stars
1/03/04 J All that gore wasted this movie is retarded! 1 stars
12/10/03 redpjas a great film I got scared 5 stars
11/25/03 Thiago Not really as bad as you think. Check it out. 3 stars
11/06/03 redpjas A GREAT FILM 5 stars
10/13/03 Jim Better than the first one. At least there was a plot. 3 stars
9/18/03 Samuel Justus way better than the first will ever be!! 5 stars
6/14/03 Alice Well, money changes everything, this is a good example of that. 1 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon Nice collection of amateur tits and ass for this one. I really dug the chunky one. 5 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby Ambitious but flat-out terrible. 1 stars
1/26/03 sam fisher it fucking rules because it has naked people in it! 5 stars
12/27/02 Charles Tatum What a dumb idea 1 stars
9/25/02 Laurian Diaconescu It made no sense. (If you wannna se my REAL rating, read this backwards! Just kidding.) 3 stars
7/29/02 Jon At least it was watchable (read: steady camera) 2 stars
7/25/02 palaboy101 much better than the first movie 4 stars
7/08/02 Croweater What the fuck...? This really, REALLY, sucked 1 stars
5/19/02 john waite i shit my pants..when i realised i payed money to go see this 1 stars
4/17/02 Veronica Foxx (The Raven-Haired Temptress) Wow! I've never seen a sequel fall SOOOOO far in quality from the first. 1 stars
3/31/02 Film Guy one little Fucked up movie 1 stars
3/07/02 Dave MacDougall How do you know if you have a low IQ? You like this more than the original. 1 stars
3/06/02 Brittany James Flawed by ambiguity: Do witches hafta eat, shit, and die or eat shit- and die? 3 stars
2/23/02 Jenny Tullwartz Best redeeming feature -- It's NOTHING like the original! 3 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden It Took The Spooky Story, Added Teen Sex and Violence, and Got This Tired Movie. 2 stars
1/23/02 chris id have left if my girlfriend didnt make me stay 1 stars
12/05/01 john linton roberson A Wiccan is shocked that she'd dance naked in the woods. That's all you need to hear. 1 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Starts off pretty good, but it ends up making NO SENSE AT ALL! 2 stars
10/01/01 sarah hey i thought it was pretty cool 4 stars
9/09/01 Jason The freakiest stuff I've ever seen. 5 stars
8/22/01 Erica I personally didn't like the first movie, but I have to say this one had potential! 5 stars
6/12/01 Crisis Management Jesus, again... Chef ADogg, you must be a fucking retard, seriously. 1 stars
6/02/01 Mephisto Worth watching for the goddesses Erica and Kim! 2 stars
5/25/01 The Moorhen S U C K S - Say it with me boys and girls.... S U C K S 1 stars
5/17/01 Jack McBee It was fucking scary. I never wanna go to a haunted house again. 5 stars
5/08/01 Rodney Muterspaw would have been better if it wasnt the Blair Witch sequel 4 stars
4/13/01 LiL This movie was a pointless piece of shit 1 stars
4/10/01 Gary This is probably the worst and most dumb sequel ever. Not even remotely scary! 1 stars
3/27/01 Jesse L It had a few moments near the end but they were not worth it 2 stars
3/19/01 Kilroy It's not what you think it is. It's a Psychological Thriller. Excellent. See it and decide. 4 stars
3/04/01 Rico Suavea I LOVE THIS MOVIE 5 stars
3/02/01 Kook Cheap exploitation of gullible consumers. 1 stars
2/28/01 lost mind the only good part is at the end when I guy said ''Thats wong'' SOME BODY F*CKED WITH THIS 4 stars
2/24/01 Eric Leehsmine It was so much better than the first one 5 stars
2/12/01 Richard Wright An unusual horror film, scary in a different way . Panned by people with no brains. 3 stars
12/07/00 Stuntman laughably bad, makes PSI Factor look like Goosebumps 1 stars
11/25/00 frank c oooohhhh how scary@!! not!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/14/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Wasted 2 hours of my life on the first one and two more on this schlocky piece of shit. 1 stars
11/11/00 Bill Farquar Most horrible piece of shit ever made, complete waste of time and money! 1 stars
11/09/00 BW2SUCKS It's like a bad episode of the X-files 1 stars
11/08/00 Matthew Bartley Not as bad as I thought it would be although nowhere near as good as the first 4 stars
11/04/00 Dan Terrible, trashy shit. 1 stars
11/03/00 InfiL00p Was good until the last half an hour, then it just started sucking ass. 4 stars
11/02/00 JOHNNY rather take a dump then see this again... 1 stars
11/02/00 Losifer It really really sucked. The entire theater was laughing instead of shivering. Seriously. 1 stars
11/02/00 :93: I liked it, then again, I like horror movies 4 stars
11/01/00 Ground Zero Cliche, absurd, and unoriginal. Need we say more? 2 stars
10/31/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Run my pretties, Run for the exits before its too late!!!! 1 stars
10/31/00 kim boyd BW1 Formula: Trapped in Woods, Relate to their deep fears, everyone dies. BW2 misses al 3 1 stars
10/30/00 Ytsejam It had to take a lot of work to make this suck as bad as it did. 1 stars
10/29/00 finalfight this is not a real movie... it's a horror movie. Don't expect academy awards achievements 4 stars
10/28/00 bullit17 A "horror" movie with no horror and very little suspense. Very disappointing. 2 stars
10/28/00 Jeff D OK, illogical script, petulant acting. But the concept of perception vs. reality is trippy 4 stars
10/27/00 AM Radio The Hair Clit Project...this movie blows. 1 stars
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  27-Oct-2000 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jan-2001


  11-Jan-2001 (M)

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