Friday, September 16, 2016

Movie Review: "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" (2000)

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Movie"Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2"
Director: Joe Berlinger
Year: 2000
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

A group of people go on a tour of the filming location of "The Blair Witch Project." After making camp, the group starts to party and wakes up with all of their equipment destroyed and no memory of what happened. They return to the home of their tour guide to check out the video footage of the night, which begins a downward spiral of delusion and death.

"Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" is directed by Joe Berlinger, who also wrote the film along with Dick Beebe. Though this is marketed as a sequel to "The Blair Witch Project," it is really more of a spin-off. This is not a found footage film. It is a standard movie that has a bit of a mockumentary feel at the beginning. It claims to be a reenactment of true events, though it is absolutely not. It does not take place in the same movie universe as "The Blair Witch Project," but rather exists in a world like our own where "The Blair Witch Project" is merely a movie. This film focuses on the fandom that followed the original film and the phenomenon where people believed it was actually a real life documentary. "Book of Shadows" revolves around Jeffery Patterson, played by Jeffery Donovan, who runs a Blair Witch online store and tour company. He takes a group of tourists into the woods to the site where the previous movie was filmed. The group he takes is comprised of a couple named Tristine and Stephen, played by Tristen Skyler and Stephen Barker Turner, who are writing a book on the event, a Wiccan named Erica Geerson, played by Erica Leerhsen, and a goth named Kim Diamond, played by Kim Director. Hell, at least they kept the theme of the actors and characters having the same first name. This tour group goes out into the woods and stops at the spot where the tapes of the original movie were said to be found, though they all know the original was just a movie. They proceed to get high and drunk and to party late into the night. After a conflict with another tour group, they continue to party, black out, and wake up with no recollection of anything that happened. All their notes and documents have been shredded, all their camera equipment has been smashed, and all that is left are their tapes. They head back to Jeffery's house to watch them as a group, and from there, everything spirals down into a mentally deranged abyss of hallucinations, odd flashbacks, small children being murdered in rivers, lots of blood, and general ball tripping. The other tour group is found murdered that night, and they are all the prime suspects.

Unlike it's predecessor, "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" is a very formulaic, by-the-book horror film full of gore and ghosts. Virtually nothing is shared with the original and there is no real connection to it other than using it as a pop culture reference point. The acting is pretty terrible all around and the writing is just as plain bad. There are a few concepts in this movie that wouldn't have been bad as a standalone horror film if they were executed better, and we appreciate what the filmmaker was trying to do by exploiting "The Blair Witch Project" and its after-the-fact success to make an entirely different film, but "Book of Shadows" flat out sucks. As a standalone film, this would have still be bad, but as a sequel to "The Blair Witch Project," its even worse, abandoning the entire spirit of the original in favor of cheap gore and thrills. Avoid this one if you can.

My Rating: 3/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 13%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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