Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (SPOILERS)

A friend of mine works for the local alt-rock station here in Atlanta, and he gave me passes to a preview screening of the sequel last night. The screening was sponsored by Pete’s Wicked Ale®.

Briefly, it was a bad movie. More lengthily:

Like the first movie, Book of Shadows names its twentysomething characters after the actors who play them, they have a supernatural experience in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, and they make obsessive use of videotape.

Unlike the first movie, there is no pretense of its being a documentary. The premise, in fact, is the one truly inventive idea in the movie: it acknowledges the original movie as fiction. One of the characters in the new movie is a Burkittsville huckster, Jeff, proprietor of “The Blair Witch Store” on the Internet, who organizes a tour called “The Blair Witch Hunt” to the foundation of the house where Heather Donahue’s “footage” was “found.” The rest of the principal characters are Jeff’s tourists.

So you see, already we’re in trouble: in the world of the film, the first movie was fiction, but apparently some of the “mythology” made up for it was real. This is the first of many things never sorted out in Book of Shadows.

Too many things. After the night in the woods, the tourists go back to Jeff’s home, where mayhem ensues. One of the characters, Kim, has several psychic flashes of insight during the movie, as when she guesses another woman’s new pregnancy without being told. She seems as surprised by these as anyone else, and we wonder how this will become relevant to the story. As it turns out, it isn’t. Kim could have been named Exposition Girl.

It’s established early on that Jeff is a former mental patient. We wait to see how this is relevant to the story. As it turns out, it isn’t.

From the git-go we wonder what a “Book of Shadows” is, and what it has to do with the story. As it turns out, we never do.

The sheriff of Burkittsville is a ridiculous Barney Fife cartoon of a character.

Jeff has an alarm on the front door of his home that makes the sound of angry barking dogs when it’s opened. As soon as this is brought up, I knew we would have a scene where the door is opened and actual barking dogs are outside. The movie didn’t let me down.

In another painful clichè, the sheriff calls Jeff and tells him to turn on his television. Jeff complies and the first thing we see on the screen is the words “Special Report” followed by the exact bit of news the plot needed at that point. The sheriff didn’t even have to tell Jeff what channel to tune to. I’m surprised they didn’t hire the guy who played the radio announcer’s voice on Gilligan’s Island.

Besides all that, this movie has “Hollywoodized successor to indie phenom” written all over it. The actors are clearly, [stage voice][sweeping flourish]Acting![/sweeping flourish][/stage voice]. The cinematography is bright and colorful. The shots are edited. Product placements of Pete’s Wicked Ale® are all over the place. Ugh.

Save your time and money, folks. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is yet another bad movie in a very bad year for movies. If you liked the first movie, you won’t like this one at all. If you didn’t like the first movie, you’ll dislike this one in a completely different way.

FYI, a Book of Shadows is a witch’s book of spells.

Hey, just wanted to share of my random obscure knowlege with y’all.

On the other hand, I did like the revelation that the witch was actually Blair from “The Facts of Life.”

<Anime Fan Injoke> The Blair Witch: Do You Remember Love? </Anime Fan Injoke>

Those guys are not getting any more of my money. The half-rental price that I paid for the first one was about a buck too much . . . I think they still owe me 20 bucks for my time.

“The very model of a modern man-made werewolf . . .”

Word of advice. Do NOT ask Ura what he thinks of the original “Blair Witch.” :smiley:

Nah. Got all that out of my system with the Matrix thing.

“There! That was Terror! Did I lie! Here’s a cupon for more Terror from the Year 5000!”

“FYI, a Book of Shadows is a witch’s book of spells.”

So that’s a generic term? I was beginning to wonder when Warner Brothers was going to go after the Blair Witch people for ripping off “Charmed”. :slight_smile:

FWIW, I loved the original Blair Witch. It was different. It didn’t really scare me, but it was creepy and suspensful and it had a good story line. Yes, it was overhyped, but so what? It was a damn good, original story.

I saw the Sci Fi Mockumentary on Shadows of the Blair Bitch…blech. It looks more like some stupid Teen horror flick, like Scream, or I Know What You Did Last Summer…I think I’ll pass.

Just saw it myself, and I agree with the OP. I have a few other observations to add:

The sheriff is a typical “southern sheriff” caricature. The movie takes place in Maryland. Huh?

The soundtrack was obnoxious. Three blaring, inappropriate songs in the first 15 minutes. You know, if you want to increase tension, you should turn down the volume.

The filmmakers forgot that horror movies have to be scary. They gave us nothing to fear.

The editing was an absolute shambles. The movie jumps from past to present to aftermath at random times, often for only a few seconds of film. Just cuz you have scissors, that doesn’t mean you have to cut.

I believe I’ll employ the Highlander strategy, and pretend that the second film of the series doesn’t exist.

I haven’t seen BW2 yet, but I’d been sort of planning to take the BF for his birthday (BW1 was our first date movie). All the bad reviews are bugging me, though… I mean I think we’ll still go, but I’m not going to make a big deal out of connecting it to his birthday, since if it sucks, it equals a sucky present.

That said-- if you go to the IMDB, you’ll find that they’re already listing Blair Witch Three. Perhaps, if it actually gets made, it’ll be the prequel Two was rumored to be early on? Now that could be incredibly cool, a colonial era horror movie… if only they don’t go and take themselves too seriously and screw it up.

Maryland certainly isn’t “Deep South”, but rural Maryland at least tends to have more in common with the South than it does with, say, New England.

Forgot to mention something that bugged me continuity-wise: all of their cameras are stolen. They find the tapes under some rocks. When they finally figure out how to view the tapes properly, one scene includes a member of the party hiding the tapes under the rocks. So, there’s an image on the tapes, of the tapes being hidden. Gabba-gabba-WHA?

Something else that’s interesting: My cousin is a cop in Burketsville.

  1. My roommate is from Poolesville, MD where they REALLY filmed this one.

  2. The makers of BW 1 refused to have anything to do with this sequel - Artisan just wanted to capitalize on the franchise so went ahead without them. However, the directors will come back for BW3. There is a story in Entertainment Weekly from a few weeks ago where they talk about the making of BW 2 - even the director admits that it’s a mess. Not promising stuff!

Saw BW2. I liked it, but it was pretty much standard horror fare. But the continuity can be easily explained away (if you buy the premise). What they saw on the tapes, and what they see in the house, do not really reflect what occurs. The one guy thinks he tried to save his girlfriend while she ‘seemingly possessed’ when the opposite was true.

So, they saw only what ‘The witch’ wanted them to see. I think.

Just a thought.

So, not wanting to see this movie but curious none the less,
do you ever get to see the witch and what does she look like?
Monster? Long green nose and a pointy hat?

Actually, a Book of Shadows is a Wiccan thing. It has nothing to do with historical witchcraft. While witches have kept journals, not every witch considered their journal a Book of Shadows.

For anyone who’s interested, it seems that Mr. Cranky hated Book of Shadows so much that he created a new rating, the nuke. He defines this as “an abomination of human endeavor.”

Previously, the worst rating a movie could get on the Mr. Cranky scale was the ka-boom, or “so godawful that it ruptured the very fabric of space and time with the sheer overpowering force of its mediocrity.”

I think I’ll pass on this one.


Okay, fine. But the sheriff is a “typical ‘Southern sheriff’ caricature” with a long hippy ponytail. It didn’t make sense no matter how you parse it.


Did you mean Burkittsville? Are you sure? My understanding from the Entertainment Weekly article is that Burkittsville is a town of 200 with no cops of its own.


This is incorrect. Myrick and Sanchez, who wrote/directed the first movie, weren’t interested in writing/directing the second, but they were the executive producers and they did choose the director who did make it.