Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
|Writers:||Joe Berlinger and Dick Beebe|
|Artisan Entertainment; 90 minutes; R|
|Cast:||Jeffrey Donovan, Tristen Skyler, Erica Leerhsen|
Love it or hate it, The Blair Witch Project did something different. It garnered huge success on a shoestring budget. It was shaky, dark, and had no real script. It was a horror movie where nobody saw the perpetrator. By breaking from cinema's expectations and disregarding its rules, a bunch of film school kids rewrote the rules of terror.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 ignores the formal freshness of its parent film and spooks Halloween audiences with ordinary scares. Book of Shadows opens with a clever recap of the townspeople's reactions to the Blair Witch hype. Many are annoyed, but several profit off the mania. Jeff (Jeffrey Donovan), for example, hawks twig figures and Blair Witch T-shirts via the Internet. He also leads guided tours of the haunted wood. Here Jeff meets practicing Wiccan Erica (Erica Leerhsen), Goth girl Kim (Kim Director), and a couple researching a book on the Witch (Tristen Skyler and Stephen Barker Turner). Things seem fine until the tour group camps in the woods. They awaken to muddy memories and a ransacked campsite. Their videotapes have been buried. The excursion turns sinister when pregnant Tristen suddenly miscarriages.
At this point, Book of Shadows embarks into standard territory. It cribs from the first Blair Witch and a host of horror movies. A bloody climax featuring teens pursued in a ramshackle house in the woods? The frustrating murkiness of the first film disappears, supplanted by an overt recipe for making the audience shiver.