Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2October 27, 2000
College students at a Boston college become fascinated by the events of the three missing filmmakers in Maryland, so they decide to go into the same woods and find out what really happened.
Release Year: 2000
Rating: 4.0/10 (19,620 voted)
Critic's Score: 15/100
Stars: Jeffrey Donovan, Stephen Barker Turner, Erica Leerhsen
To cash in on all of the "real world" hype of the events in the first film, a man from Burkitsville, Maryland opens a "Blair Witch Hunt" tour, which shows patrons various locations from the original film. A bunch of college students decide to take the tour, and wind up in Rustin Parr's house. There, they decide to camp for the evening, but in the morning, they realize they didn't sleep and they don't remember anything that happened the previous night. From there, they go back to town, and discover that something…or someone has come with them.
Writers: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
(as Tristen Skyler)
Stephen Barker Turner
Stephen Ryan Parker
Bruce D. Reed
Burkittsville Resident #1
(as Bruce Reed)
Burkittsville Resident #2
Burkittsville Resident #3
Burkittsville Resident #4
Burkittsville Tourist #1
Burkittsville Tourist #2
MBI Man #1
Evil Doesnt Die.
Release Date: 27 October 2000
Filming Locations: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $13,223,887
(29 October 2000)
Did You Know?
An owl appears in several scenes. In some cultures, an owl is a sign of death.
Crew or equipment visible:
When Jeffrey answers the door to his house and the dogs are barking on the other side of the broken walkway/bridge a thin wire can be seen attached to a dog to keep it from falling.
[Erica finds a cache of video cameras at Jeff's house]
I thought all your cameras got trashed.
Yeah, well, you can never have too many.
Uh, Jeff, I think we've had enough videotaping for one weekend.
Yeah, dude. Tour's over.
Well, maybe the tour's just begun, Erica, because you're walking into the official Blair store. Come on in, everybody. This is where it all begins. This is the epicenter of the Blair Witch Hunt website. Uh, let's see now… I got my sticks. You can touch these, they're for the stick men. Don't touch those, those are drying. What else?
wan sequel to a true original
In all the print that has been devoted to the original `Blair Witch
Project,' most of the discussion has been centered around the remarkable
advertising strategy that managed to parley a quirky, low budget independent
film into a multimillion-dollar box office success story. Of far greater
interest actually is the arc the film traveled in terms of its critical and
audience reception. Actually, this phenomenon can be easily charted by
scrolling through the reviews of the film found on either imdb.com or
amazon.com. If you look first at the earliest evaluations of the film –
when it was still an unknown entity riding the film festival circuit – you
will note the almost universally rapturous response the movie received from
viewers caught off guard by the originality of its concept and the
uniqueness of its execution. However, if you continue to scroll through the
reviews with the passage of time, you will notice a rather extraordinary
development that occurs. At about the time the film officially opens to
immense media scrutiny and unprecedented box office success, the reviews
suddenly undergo an amazing change in tone. Due to the buildup of
expectations resulting from the above elements, viewers begin to tear the
film apart, mercilessly declaring it to be cheapjack, annoying, hopelessly
overrated and totally lacking in terror or suspense. Rarely have I ever
seen such a violent backlash against any film (though just try to find
someone who will admit to liking `Titanic' nowadays – one begins to wonder
just who were all those people who collectively managed to fork over all
that cash to the tune of $600,000,000 in the United States and Canada
alone). In many ways, though `The Blair Witch Project' may have made a ton
of money (it is easily the most profitable film ever made), it may
ultimately have been a pyrrhic victory for its makers since an audience that
feels it has been `ripped off' once is not one who will be favorably
inclined towards your next project.
Perhaps this helps to explain the dismal box office performance of the
sequel, awkwardly entitled `Book of Shadows: Blair Witch Project 2.' As one
who actually liked the original film (and, yes, I saw it long after the
initial media hype had died down), I can't say that I expected much from
this newest addition to the franchise. The first film was such a unique
work stylistically that, even less than most films, it definitely did not
cry out for replication. Actually, this new film starts off rather well,
choosing to acknowledge the reality of not only the original project but
also the media ballyhoo and frenzy that attended it. The film cleverly
lampoons the cottage industry that sprang up around the first film, catering
to tourists who descended in droves on the once-peaceful town of
Burkittsville, Maryland, where the original fictional `documentary' was set.
Taking over the reins from the first film's creators, writer Dick Beebe
and writer/director Joe Berlinger create a scenario in which a group of
fans, obsessed with the original film, embark on a `Blair Witch' tour that,
naturally, turns out to be more than they bargained for. By eschewing fancy
special effects of any kind and hewing closely to the `reality' conferred by
its documentary style approach, the original film managed to convey a real
sense of mounting terror as the people involved became more and more
terrified and confused by what was happening to them. The makers of the
sequel attempt to create essentially the same impact here but with far less
effectiveness. Part of the problem is that the demands made on a big budget
studio production are obviously worlds apart from those made on a small
independent film in which experimentation and imagination are often allowed
– and even, at times, encouraged – to flourish. As a result, the makers of
the new film violate the very less-is-more credo that made the original film
work in the first place. Thus, as these new characters begin to spiral down
into confusion, terror and madness, we are offered a plethora of quick cut
glimpses of demons, ghosts, flashbacks etc. that are more distracting than
terrifying. We could believe what was happening to the characters in the
original film because the single-camera technique made it all seem so
plausible and real. This film just feels like the typical stock horror
film, filled with fancy techniques but little of the stuff that true
nightmares are made of.
More often than not, the viewer feels more like laughing at the silliness of
the proceedings than gasping. Eventually, even the dialogue seems to be
providing an almost subconscious running commentary on the film itself as
the characters yell out at various points such pearls of wisdom as `This is
too weird' and `This makes no sense.'
The story does a nice job at the end showing how what is captured on film or
tape may not necessarily correlate with the facts of history. And, I guess,
we are also encouraged to read the film in two ways – as both a genuine
horror story in which the Blair Witch is somehow exercising her supernatural
powers or as a study of mass psychosis playing havoc with a group of
emotionally off-kilter people. Yet, in the long run, `Book of Shadows' just
doesn't seem worth the effort. Any way you slice it, a horror film that
doesn't horrify has failed to live up to its calling. Stick with the
original model this time around.