book of shadows

BLAIR WITCH 2
HOME REVIEWS FEO'S STUFF FEO AMANTE THEATER SCIENCE MOMENT UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT
FEO FEED BACK?
NEWS?
SUBMISSIONS?
Read:
SUBMISSION
GUIDELINES

MOVIES
FEO AMANTE THEATER
My Short Films
LAST CALL

THE NIGHT MY MONSTER DIED
SCIENCE MOMENT
TOP TEN SCARY MOVIES
UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT
RACIAL CLICHÉ RESPONSE
INTERVIEWS

STORY TIME

COMICS

CONS

HORRIBLE NEWS
Movies Pat Le cat Review by
Pat LeCat
The Blair Witch Project
Bookmark and Share
SHOULD YOU?
TIP JAR
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
MOVIE REVIEW
BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 - 2000
Haxan films / Artisian Entertainment
Rated: USA / R

Written by Dick Beebe & Joe Berlinger. Directed by Joe Berlinger.
Starring Kim Director, Jeffrey Donovan, Erica Leerhsen, Tristen Skyler and Stephen Turner.

Admittedly, expectations were high regarding THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT sequel and a big letdown was almost unavoidable, whether Artisan opted for another mock documentary or a more classical approach. In short, new director Joe Berlinger had a choice between being branded a copycat or a sell-out. He wisely chose the third way, creating a movie that is both classic in its form and original in its content.

You wish.

First signs of alarm came with pictures from the new project showing a female character straight out of the Addams Family. As it turns out, this character and the actress playing her are one of the very few decent things in BOOK OF SHADOWS : BLAIR WITCH 2.

The movie is not so much a sequel than an exploration of the phenomenon created by the first movie, especially its impact on Burkitisville. Tourists flock to the small town and its surrounding woods, hoping for a new kind of thrills or even some clues to the alleged facts behind the first movie. Among them are Stephen, who plans to write a book about the Blair Witch "hysteria or history", his pregnant girlfriend Tristen, movie fan Kim and amateur witch Erica ("amateur" being the operative word here) whose boyfriend Jeff, a Burkitsville resident, has been quick to cash on the Blair Witch craze. Of the five it is soon obvious that only Kim's character, a jaded goth with occasional psychic flashes, holds any hope for the audience - at least those who would take Poppy Z. Brite along to liven up a hiking trip.

Camping out on the remains of Rustin Parr's house (who murdered seven children back in whenever), the group blacks out for five hours and spends the rest of the movie trying to remember what happened in between.

Not a bad premise; unfortunately the movie never lets us forget its model (notably by an often unnecessary use of video images) and the comparison invariably plays against it. Since the opening frame explains that this is "a fictionalised account of real live events", the idea of using the actors first names (while changing their last) is puzzling and a first indication that this movie is aiming for the original's impact but has no clue how to achieve it. Neither have its characters, who wonder how the missing filmmakers kept their minds off sex (try fearing for your life?) and debate with the lucidity of potheads the power of images ("perception IS reality").

For all its tongue-in-cheek references, the movie treats its audience as patronisingly as its characters. Especially towards the ending, which gets explained over and over to make sure no one this time comes out of the theatre wondering what happened exactly. Nor will they spend any sleepless nights either. Aside from shockingly graphic flashcuts in the early 15 minutes (easily the best part of the movie) few of the jolting moments deliver something resembling a thrill and the scariest apparitions fall flat - a failure which is itself an unintentional tribute to the unseen but so effective horror of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.

What made the first movie work above all was the terrific, are-they-for-real performances of the three actors - to the point of overshadowing the directors input. Poor acting is the main element that drag its sequel down. Tristen Skylar doesn't seem to have a clear grasp of her character until the end of the movie, but that's all right because neither have we (remember, we're stupid.) Though easy-on-the-eyes Erica Leerhsen tries gamely to provide thrills other than visuals, her constant incantations make her sound less like a wannabe witch than a teenager singing along to MTV.

The only convincing performance is given by Kim Director, whose beer-guzzling, goth-to-the-black-fingertips Morticia look-alike is strangely enough the most credible and humane character. Director manages to lend dignity to what could have been the biggest cliché of all and single-handedly keeps the audience's interest in the group's fate from dying a quick and early death.

Rest of the cast proves embarrassing to watch, with a special mention to Lanny Flaherty as Sheriff Cravens, who offers one of the worst performances by man or animal since Ed Wood. To the actor's credit, it must have been hard enough to keep a straight face through some of the lame dialogue (says one character upon waking up: "We must have fallen asleep." Duh.). A good part of the movie is spent pondering whether some scenes are the result of uninspired writing or clumsy improvisations, while other scenes raise the question of clumsy writing versus uninspired impro. Who needs scares with that kind of intellectual thrill?

And yet, no matter how disappointing a sequel, BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS is not the worst film of the year by a long shot. One could even call it an above average effort next to movies like THE WATCHER, whose out and about mediocrity seems to be taken for granted. There are in BOOK OF SHADOWS, especially early on, some fine moments and hints of good ideas, that get quickly lost in the muddle. It is to their credit that the filmmaker and screenwriters tried to offer something different and original. They failed disastrously but they did give it a try, which is more than can be said about so much of Hollywood's play-it-safe output. Too bad the on-screen result conjures up less visions of horror than of Titanic. The boat, not the movie.

Rating: four negative shriek girls, because I'm such a nice guy.

Negative Shriek GirlNegative Shriek GirlNegative Shriek GirlNegative Shriek Girl
This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) on IMDb Bookmark and Share

Return to Movies

E.C. McMullen Jr. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

FEO AMANTE'S HORROR THRILLER Created by:
E.C.MULLEN JR.
COME FOLLOW ME -
AMAZON
BLOG
DEVIANT ART
ECMJR - PORTFOLIO
FACEBOOK
IMDB
PANDORA
ROTTEN TOMATOES
STAGE32
TWITTER
YOUTUBE

 

DVD-CD

As of the latest count, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
has spawned one sequel,
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT 2: Book Of Shadows,
and three PC computer games.

The sequel as well as the games received poor response from critics and audiences alike.

 

FROM
E.C. McMullen Jr.
WILLOW BLUE
KINDLE

"'Willow Blue' will burrow under your skin and stay there long after you've put the book down."
- Jeffrey Reddick, Creator of FINAL DESTINATION

PERPETUAL BULLET
PAPERBACK

"'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
- John Grant, 2 time Hugo Winner and creator of Infinityplus

ALSO

E.C. McMullen Jr.'s
short story
CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE
in the anthology
FEAR THE REAPER
PAPERBACK
"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
- Reviewer, Amazon

HORROR 201: The Silver Scream
PAPERBACK

A tome of interviews and essays by
RAY BRADBURY,
JOHN CARPENTER,
WES CRAVEN,
TOM HOLLAND,
E.C. McMULLEN Jr., GEORGE A. ROMERO, and many more.

I will take you home...Feo Amante's Horror Home Page, Feo Amante's Horror Thriller, and feoamante.com are owned and
Copyright 1997 - 2016 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
FAIR USE - PRIVACY POLICY - OWNERSHIP - CONTACT
All images and text belong to E.C.McMullen Jr. unless otherwise noted.
All fiction stories belong to their individual authors.