Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

They Never Should’ve Let You Out.

I felt that this had to happen, even if I really didn’t want it to. When I review a movie, it seems empty until I’ve reviewed its sequels, even if the sequel is well-renowned as complete garbage. And most people didn’t even like the original, so that makes this even harder. Although I was fond of the first movie (that I reviewed last week), I remember being really disappointed by today’s sequel. And that’s about the entirety of what I remember about it. But my OCD could not let me half review a series. That’s why I bring you my review of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, written by Dick Beebe, Daniel Myrick, and Eduardo Sánchez, co-written and directed by Joe Berlinger, and starring Jeffrey Donovan, Tristine Skyler, Stephen Barker Turner, Erica Leerhsen, Kim Director, Lanny Flaherty, and Kennen Sisco.

In a world where the first Blair Witch movie actually happened, the people of Burkittsville react to the movie in different ways. Some people resent the movie for the unwanted tourism, but some people – like Jeffrey Patterson (Jeffrey Donovan) – take advantage of it by starting the Blair Witch Hunt, a tour group that ventures to the big locations of the Blair Witch lore. His inaugural group includes Stephen (Stephen Barker Turner) and his pregnant wife Tristen (Tristine Skyler) who are working on a book, a Wiccan named Erica (Erica Leerhsen), and a Goth psychic named Kim (Kim Director). Their first stop is the ruins of Rustin Parr’s house, where they set up cameras and start to get drunk. They also run into another Blair Witch group. After getting drunk, they wake up to find that all of their cameras are smashed, their tapes were hidden, and their research was shredded. Also, Tristen is having a miscarriage. After they deal with that, they set upon figuring out what happened to their stuff while they were drunk with the tapes they recovered, and what they find is not what they expected.

No one’s surprised that this movie sucked. The people that hated the first movie assumed this movie sucked and didn’t have to sit through it to figure it out. We people that kind of liked the first movie had to come in and get the extra sadness that comes with the disappointment. This movie is so obviously a cash grab to try to capitalize on the success of the first movie that it’s not even funny. The way they still cling so desperately to the idea the entire world gave up on years earlier about how the first movie was real is so sweaty. They have Kurt Loder talking about the movie, for crying out loud! What’s even more sweaty is how bluntly they hit us over the head with the exposition and backstory of the characters. They’re all in the car and the guy decides to break the ice by getting on the PA system and flat out randomly announcing everyone’s backstory. There was not a lot of quality writing in this movie. At one point, Tristen has a miscarriage. I know that is sad and all, but you were just out in the wilderness for an entire night, unprotected and not even bothering with a sleeping bag, and you were also drinking and smoking weed until you blacked out. It was probably better for the baby that you accidentally killed it. It would probably have had an arm growing out of its forehead. They try to play the rest of the movie like a bit of a psychological mystery, but I doubt anyone in the audience was that intrigued, and the mystery was not mysterious. I don’t know if it was because I saw the movie before, but I pretty much predicted the entire movie and every twist and turn as I was watching it. I don’t think it was just memory because I didn’t really remember anything going in. It unfolds pretty quickly when they start watching the tapes. But it didn’t even make sense that they had the tapes to me. They eventually find out that Tristen buried the tapes, but they find out by watching one of the tapes. Where did THIS tape come from? Eventually, the “mystery” unfolds and you realize that they managed to top the first movie … in lame endings.

The blessing and the curse of the first movie was that it didn’t show us anything. The curse, of course, is that it’s relentlessly boring. The blessing is that it lets the imagination of the audience take over for what they’re not showing us. The closest thing to gore they showed in the first one was some teeth and blood wrapped up in a piece of the hippie guy’s shirt. This movie threw that right out the window in the opening credits, if for no other reason than to tell people that this movie was going to be the run of the mill horror crap. It starts with a friggin’ Marilyn Manson song and flashes of people being stabbed and disemboweled! Subtle! The rest of the movie was standard and typical. The Blair Witch, if nothing else, will probably be talked about long after its time for bringing the found footage genre to the mainstream. Book of Shadows is … another movie. Also, when they finally unlock the secret of the video, it’s meant to be disturbing but winds up being only goofy.

I’m going to be honest with you: I watched this movie a few days ago and I’m having trouble remembering anything about any of the performances in the movie. I really should type faster, or at least actually attempt to write the reviews. Either way, I don’t think that’s a good sign for the performances in the movie. They were just there. No one really blew my mind or disappointed. I guess the redhead Erica Leerhsen blew my mind a little because she got naked a lot. And Kim Director’s character disappointed a little because she generally seemed to be trying way too hard to be goth, throwing up the devil horns and throwing out her tongue every time someone was filming her, but I also have seen goth people that are exactly like that. They were also not at all subtle with her psychic abilities. Every 10 minutes on the dot it seemed that they needed her to go up to someone and say something that there was no way she could have known just so the audience wouldn’t forget that she was supposed to be a psychic.

The amount of surprises in this review equals those in Book of Shadow: Blair Witch 2. There were none. This is not a good movie and I think we’re all aware of that. The story feels like nothing more than a desperate attempt to wring some more money out of a popular movie, it held nothing by way of surprises, and it lost anything that was special about the first movie. Skip this movie. That is all. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 gets “The gene pool is a little shallow here” out of “I feel better.”

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