Movie Review: "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" (2000)
When we last saw the Blair Witch (although 'seeing' her was far from the actual truth), she possessed a camera man to take a pee-pee in a corner. Fast forward to the anticipated sequel, "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2". But wait a second, this is not really a sequel to "The Blair Witch Project". No sir, what we have instead is a sequel to the media explosion that resulted from "The Blair Witch Project".
A bunch of idiots (a former mental patient, a hot wiccan, a goth chick, and a couple writing a book) set out on their own Blair Witch tour, visiting and documenting all the locations from the movie. They set up camp within the ruins of what used to be Rustin Parr's house and wake up the next day with no memory or what occurred the night before.
There's a tree standing in the middle of the ruins, the couple's research papers are torn to shreds and flying all over the place, the characters have strange carvings on their bodies, and another group of people conducting their own tour are found dead at Coffin Rock. And so they set out to piece together the puzzle. But when it's all said and done, maybe this movie would have worked better if it weren't written as a sequel to "The Blair Witch Project".
Book of What?
Let's begin with the problematic title of the film itself -- "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2". What exactly is the book of shadows? Being that it's part of the title, one would assume that it must hold some kind of importance within the story. However, the truth is that we never do find out what the book of shadows is.
I was thinking maybe it's the title of the couple's book that they were doing research for, but no. The film doesn't even imply that. Nice going with giving a sequel a title that has nothing to do with the film itself. I guess they just needed something to call it other than just "Blair Witch 2" or "The Blair Witch Project, Part 2".
The Almighty Meta-Film
"Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" makes its second biggest mistake by taking on the guise of a meta-film, meaning that "The Blair Witch Project" exists as a film within this film. Generally speaking, meta-film can be clever, depending on the subject matter. For instance, it worked for the "Scream" films. But something like the 'Blair Witch' doesn't really bode well with the concept.
The main running theme of the movie is that it wants us to keep guessing whether the original film is having an effect on the characters' paranoia or if the Blair Witch is actually real and is playing mind games on them. It's kind of redundant when you think about it. Of course it's not the Blair Witch, the filmmakers already made this clear by going the meta-film route to begin with (duh).
Let's compare this with another meta-film, "The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)". The concept worked for this film because there's no supernatural element. Any sicko could perform a sick operation like that, with or without medical skills (apparently). The Blair Witch is supernatural; unless the original movie was based on a real life witch (Bell Witch anybody?), then it might have been a bit more acceptable.
Heavy Metal Vision
Another contributing factor that holds this sequel back is the unnecessary heavy metal soundtrack, which goes hand in hand with the senseless editing, thus creating what I call 'Heavy Metal Vision'. Because the reckless editing matches quite well with the reckless soundtrack. This was like watching a Marilyn Manson music video.
I don't know who told these people to put heavy metal music on the soundtrack, but it really does take away from the psychological horror aspect (an outfit which the first movie wore so well). It completely diminishes any hint of tension or suspense. Then we have the editing. At one point during their crazy night, the characters kill the opposing tour group at Coffin Rock. All throughout the film, we are shown repeated flashbacks of this sequence, even *before* it actually happens -- WTF!?
Random Things That Make No Sense
- In one scene early in the film, we are given a flashback to a loony bin where our lead character previously spent time in. The scene involves a pair of doctors pouring feeding liquids into the character's nose while he's unconscious. The problem is why is one of the doctors smoking while doing this?
- When the characters wake up after their 'crazy night', they find what appears to be Steven's ripped up research papers 'snowing' down on them from above. Also bare in mind that this scene lasts a good ten minutes or so and it is implied that the ripped pages are falling down on them long before they wake up. So how is it possible for 'paper' to do this?
- The lead character informs us that an civil war factory, which is now his home, was sold to him for only a buck. Really!?
Remedies for "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2"
- There's only one solution to this poor excuse for a sequel. Take the DVD out of the case. Place the DVD in a corner and destroy the case. Then go to the corner and destroy the DVD. It works like a charm, just ask Rustin Parr.
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