Movie Name: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Studio: Artisan Entertainment
Release Date(s): October 27, 2000
MPAA Rating: R
The Blair Witch Project has become a massive success and brought a lot of attention to the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland. This attention leaves openings for capitalism and Jeff Patterson (Jeffrey Donovan) is taking advantage of it. With his Blair Witch tours, he’s out to make a buck, but when his tour with Stephen (Stephen Barker Turner), Tristen (Tristine Skyler), Kim (Kim Diamond), and Erica (Erica Geerson) begins to go wrong, the tour might just make the horror real.
Directed by Joe Berlinger, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is the follow-up to the surprise 1999 hit The Blair Witch Project. The movie was released with a viral marketing campaign but did not do as well at the box office. The movie was ravaged by critics and won a Razzie for Worst Remake or Sequel with nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Screen Couple (Any Two Actors in the Movie), Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay.
The Blair Witch was a phenomenon. I saw it in the theater (already knowing it was a fake). It was a great idea with poor execution. The movie was hard to watch due to its shaky camera work and fell apart in the middle with no plot. Book of Shadows tried to rectify some of this but in the process lost anything that made The Blair Witch Project interesting.
Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch 2 blew up the format of The Blair Witch while keeping with the post-modern aspect of the story. The Blair Witch film occurred in the movie and the debate on its realism also occurred. The makers of The Blair Witch had little to do with the story (possibly a good thing), but the story also feels half-baked and rushed. It is quite dull for the most part though some of the time stuff is interesting.
The movie (like the original) goes for realism by employing unknowns for the cast. While this is a smart technique, it means that the cast isn’t great. It is still probably better than The Blair Witch Project cast who really struggled.
The movie ditched the found footage style that made The Blair Witch Project a success. In the process, it lost its edge. A second found footage film wouldn’t have made much sense, but the movie occasionally does utilize found footage aspects.
Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch 2 is has a few moments, but those who want a movie that feels like a true follow-up will be disappointed. It isn’t original or different, but it also isn’t the worst horror film you’ve ever seen. There has been talk of a Blair Witch 3 or a complete relaunch (forgetting this sequel)…Maybe we’ll get a Book of Shadows remake and relaunch as well since Hollywood is lazy.
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