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Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Starring: Kim Director, Jeffrey Donovan
Director: Joe Berlinger
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: October 2000
Genre: Horror

*Also starring: Tristen Skyler, Stephen Barker Turner, Erica Leershen

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Pop quiz: What does BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2, the sequel to that indie smash hit THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, have in common with its ancestor?

Answer: The name.

To be fair, part of the crew, namely joint writers, directors and editors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, did hang around for the sequel. But this time all they get are producers' credits, which they may want to see removed from this turkey.

This time director Joe Berlinger, working from an obtuse script by Dick Beebe, Joe Berlinger, Jon Bokenkamp and Neal Stevens, creates a movie that so hard to follow that you'll be happy that it gives you no reason to care that you're confused. I wasn't a fan of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, but it is a cinematic masterpiece of originality compared to its sequel, which is a bad example of a teen slasher flick. Fright in BOOK OF SHADOWS comes only from sudden loud noises. The episodes of sliced human flesh and spurting blood are gross, not scary.

The basic premise this time is that a bunch of kids sign up on THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT web site -- a movie that plugs it's own web site has a lot of gall -- to take a tour into the woods to look for the witch. While hanging out amongst the trees, the kids babble incoherent and perfectly ridiculous lines. "I think you're being a monomaniacal reductionist!" one girl says to one of the guys as her version of a classy put-down. I don't know about you, but that would sure shut me up. (Although they might more precisely be referred to as "young adults," the characters are so juvenile that I will continue to refer to them as "kids" in the review.)

When the movie isn't trying, without success, to terrify us, it tries with even less success to amuse us with its self-deprecating humor. "Newsflash everyone! That was just a movie," Stephen (Stephen Barker Turner) says when the kids begin to take the witch story too seriously. "Video never lies; film does," says another. The sequel, you see, is done on film whereas the original was done on video with a motion-sickness inducing shakicam, so they are poking fun at their own movie. Funny huh? Not really.

The kids do find one flaw in the original movie that the film critics missed. They said it was unrealistic to expect the kids in the original to spend time terrified in the woods without having sex with each other. After all, they reason, "sex is the greatest stress reliever in the world." Ah, from the mouths of babes, ...

BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 runs just 1:30, but you'll swear it was longer. It is rated R for violence, language, sexuality and drug use and would be acceptable for older teenagers.

Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes

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