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Overall Rating
2.04

Awesome: 8.9%
Worth A Look: 14.38%
Just Average: 8.9%
Pretty Crappy: 7.53%
Sucks60.27%

10 reviews, 86 user ratings


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Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
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by Chef ADogg

"Here we go again."
4 stars

In my time here as a reviewer of movies, I've been known to like more than a few pictures generally considered "inferior," or "bad." My four-star ratings for trash like "End of Days" and "Big Daddy" have brought me quite a bit of stinging criticsm, and I'm okay with that; everybody has their guilty pleasures--I'm just a tad more vocal about mine. My method has always been to call 'em as I see 'em, and it hasn't failed me yet. Having said that, I'm going to have to call this one a surprising and effective horror picture that works well both as a sequel and a stand-alone suspense product.

The trick, I think, lies in seperating "Book of Shadows" from the killer, all-encompassing hype of its 1999 predecessor, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez's "The Blair Witch Project." "BWP" was a strangely successful DIY thriller that showed nothing, implied everything, and channeled audiences into wildly seperate camps. That was, perhaps, the film's largest triumph--to extract such an enthusiastic reaction (positive or not) from an audience weened on the mechanics of conventional horror pictures. All this, and for under the cost it takes to cater one day of most big budget Hollywood FX-fests.

So, to answer the million dollar question on the minds of all those who loved "The Blair Witch Project" (and even those who looked upon it with the kind of intense scorn most often reserved for Barney, Michael Jackson, and Kathie Lee Gifford): Does "Book of Shadows" expand on the potential hinted at by the first film?

Helllllll no.

This is neither as groundbreaking nor as mind-bending as its brilliant predecessor; it takes the conventional Hollywood approach to scary stuff and displays every gory detail in vivid Technicolor, with a Dolby digital soundtrack. Yet, the structure of the film is interesting, and certain individual scenes work well enough to pull the loose ends together into a decent, fairly respectable package. "Book of Shadows" also works on a basic, visceral level--it's frightening if you just go along with it, and there's something to be said for that approach when the ride is as pleasantly trippy as this.

The film was directed by noted documentarian Joe Berlinger. I haven't seen his "Paradise Lost" series, and thus cannot really comment on his true-tale skills with any accuracy, but he shows a steady hand when it comes to laying the fictional smack down. "Book of Shadows" is unconvincing and hokey throughout, but the "suspension of disbelief" factor is nonetheless strong enough to render the results spellbinding. When the final scenes roll around, the picture is, in its approach, almost as good as the best documentaries; Berlinger works all the angles simultaneously, offering many observations and few answers. Because this is a Hollywood movie, the strings of the plot are tied together and an ending of sorts is presented. Because Berlinger is a filmmaker with big ideas and a penchant for all things twisted, the knot is slippery and subject to further examination.

Berlinger is also spot-on with his actors, coaxing performances at once taut and funny; the film is sprinkled with a few instances of brilliant comic relief that turn to ice in record time once we are able to grasp the meaning of the final scenes. These, in part, are what make the movie such a chilling experience--watch closely as one major character faces a hostile convienence store clerk, and the shape this encounter takes on later in the movie. When we first witness the scene, it is deeply potent, hilarious in its flurry of pent-up agression. Ponder it later, as "Book of Shadows" comes to its abrupt close, and wait for the shivers.

At this point, I should make it clear why I haven't mentioned the plot. The architecture on display in "Book of Shadows" is deceptively simple: Berlinger basically cops the jerky back-and-forth narrative that has been employed by movies as wonderful and diverse as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Citizen Kane," a tactic which could be viewed as simple cinematic thievery. But audiences interested enough to scratch the surface will be rewarded with a spooky pop structure that unravels endlessly, doubling back upon itself with boundless joy. I don't want to reveal even the most minor plot elements of "Book of Shadows," because they all come into major play before the final credits roll. In that way, the "Blair Witch" sequel is the shiftiest suspense creation since "Scream;" it is at once a goofy, self-referential joke-piece and a serious thriller that very nearly busts with its own big ideas.

"Book of Shadows" can be interpreted in so many ways that some audiences may simply lose interest trying to decipher its intricate puzzles. A film like this appeals to a very specific taste--a love for movies that drop grand ideas with a hokey, genre-picture flourish. I enjoyed "Book of Shadows" immensely, from start to finish, and recommend it to anyone who saw the first film, regardelss of reaction. It's certainly not for all tastes, but if you're receptive to its odd charms, it could be one of the best movie experiences you'll have this fall.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4528&reviewer=123
originally posted: 10/31/00 23:45:58
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell not bad 3 stars
8/07/14 David Hollingsworth not even worth it 1 stars
7/04/14 Dane Youssef It's just a mainstream conventional slasher version of the first. 1 stars
11/28/09 Steve I kept waiting for something to happen and then the movie ended. 1 stars
10/13/09 Caitlin I quite liked it actually. The flashes were unnessary, but it was deep. It tried... 4 stars
3/31/08 Clark Flawed, but still a lot better than many horror flicks we see today... 4 stars
9/21/06 Pritchett Not NERALY as bad as everyone says. Actually, a pretty good little horror film. 4 stars
8/08/06 Doreen I see why they stopped after this one! 1 stars
6/15/06 Garrett If you actually understand it. You will like it. 4 stars
4/24/06 Moore Meloncholy Popping bloody pimples have more fright and entertainment value then this crap. 1 stars
1/01/06 cody a movie with kinded interesting story and beliveable characters, but everthing else stunk 2 stars
9/24/05 D Buckley What the hell is going on... 1 stars
8/18/05 ES Rebecca- don't forget the wizard of OZ that's got an evil witch too! this movie stinks 1 stars
7/09/05 Rebecca I tried counting the errors and stereotypes about Wicca. I lost count and threw up. 1 stars
4/25/05 Indrid Cold A Hollywood cash grab that is notable only because it shows how great the 1st one was. 2 stars
3/12/05 Ronin Anyone who likes this crap more than the 1st BWP is a braindead 12 years old simpleton. 2 stars
9/16/04 jeff frank better than the first but still pretty bad 2 stars
8/02/04 Anthony G This movie eats shit form carl winslow's fat black ass 1 stars
7/27/04 G not as bad as 1st but still shit 1 stars
6/29/04 Mike All.you.haters.are.utterly.pathetic.this.movie.exponentially.beat.the.first.one. 5 stars
6/12/04 Jack Bourbon Dumb as it is, I like this movie. I also like the chunky girl. 4 stars
4/28/04 X They should have a bad movie burning 1 stars
4/16/04 Michael Greenwaldt A wicked mindfuck! MUCH better than the awful original! This one is a disturbing blast! 5 stars
1/06/04 George great!!! 5 stars
1/02/04 J All that gore wasted this movie is retarded! 1 stars
12/09/03 redpjas a great film I got scared 5 stars
11/24/03 Thiago Not really as bad as you think. Check it out. 3 stars
11/05/03 redpjas A GREAT FILM 5 stars
10/12/03 Jim Better than the first one. At least there was a plot. 3 stars
9/17/03 Samuel Justus way better than the first will ever be!! 5 stars
6/13/03 Alice Well, money changes everything, this is a good example of that. 1 stars
4/15/03 Jack Bourbon Nice collection of amateur tits and ass for this one. I really dug the chunky one. 5 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Ambitious but flat-out terrible. 1 stars
1/25/03 sam fisher it fucking rules because it has naked people in it! 5 stars
12/26/02 Charles Tatum What a dumb idea 1 stars
9/24/02 Laurian Diaconescu It made no sense. (If you wannna se my REAL rating, read this backwards! Just kidding.) 3 stars
7/28/02 Jon At least it was watchable (read: steady camera) 2 stars
7/24/02 palaboy101 much better than the first movie 4 stars
7/08/02 Croweater What the fuck...? This really, REALLY, sucked 1 stars
5/18/02 john waite i shit my pants..when i realised i payed money to go see this 1 stars
4/16/02 Veronica Foxx (The Raven-Haired Temptress) Wow! I've never seen a sequel fall SOOOOO far in quality from the first. 1 stars
3/30/02 Film Guy one little Fucked up movie 1 stars
3/06/02 Dave MacDougall How do you know if you have a low IQ? You like this more than the original. 1 stars
3/05/02 Brittany James Flawed by ambiguity: Do witches hafta eat, shit, and die or eat shit- and die? 3 stars
2/23/02 Jenny Tullwartz Best redeeming feature -- It's NOTHING like the original! 3 stars
1/23/02 Andrew Carden It Took The Spooky Story, Added Teen Sex and Violence, and Got This Tired Movie. 2 stars
1/22/02 chris www.midfirecords.com id have left if my girlfriend didnt make me stay 1 stars
12/05/01 john linton roberson A Wiccan is shocked that she'd dance naked in the woods. That's all you need to hear. 1 stars
10/29/01 officer412/l YOU WILL SHIT YOUR PANTS BUT FOR DIFFERENT REASONS. 1 stars
10/16/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Starts off pretty good, but it ends up making NO SENSE AT ALL! 2 stars
9/30/01 sarah hey i thought it was pretty cool 4 stars
9/09/01 Jason The freakiest stuff I've ever seen. 5 stars
8/21/01 Erica I personally didn't like the first movie, but I have to say this one had potential! 5 stars
6/11/01 Crisis Management Jesus, again... Chef ADogg, you must be a fucking retard, seriously. 1 stars
6/01/01 Mephisto Worth watching for the goddesses Erica and Kim! 2 stars
5/24/01 The Moorhen S U C K S - Say it with me boys and girls.... S U C K S 1 stars
5/17/01 Jack McBee It was fucking scary. I never wanna go to a haunted house again. 5 stars
5/07/01 Rodney Muterspaw would have been better if it wasnt the Blair Witch sequel 4 stars
4/13/01 LiL This movie was a pointless piece of shit 1 stars
4/09/01 Gary This is probably the worst and most dumb sequel ever. Not even remotely scary! 1 stars
3/26/01 Jesse L It had a few moments near the end but they were not worth it 2 stars
3/19/01 Kilroy It's not what you think it is. It's a Psychological Thriller. Excellent. See it and decide. 4 stars
3/04/01 Rico Suavea I LOVE THIS MOVIE 5 stars
3/01/01 Kook Cheap exploitation of gullible consumers. 1 stars
2/27/01 lost mind the only good part is at the end when I guy said ''Thats wong'' SOME BODY F*CKED WITH THIS 4 stars
2/23/01 Eric Leehsmine It was so much better than the first one 5 stars
2/11/01 Richard Wright An unusual horror film, scary in a different way . Panned by people with no brains. 3 stars
12/07/00 Stuntman laughably bad, makes PSI Factor look like Goosebumps 1 stars
11/24/00 frank c oooohhhh how scary@!! not!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/13/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Wasted 2 hours of my life on the first one and two more on this schlocky piece of shit. 1 stars
11/10/00 Bill Farquar Most horrible piece of shit ever made, complete waste of time and money! 1 stars
11/08/00 BW2SUCKS It's like a bad episode of the X-files 1 stars
11/08/00 Matthew Bartley Not as bad as I thought it would be although nowhere near as good as the first 4 stars
11/03/00 Dan Terrible, trashy shit. 1 stars
11/02/00 InfiL00p Was good until the last half an hour, then it just started sucking ass. 4 stars
11/01/00 JOHNNY rather take a dump then see this again... 1 stars
11/01/00 Losifer It really really sucked. The entire theater was laughing instead of shivering. Seriously. 1 stars
11/01/00 :93: I liked it, then again, I like horror movies 4 stars
10/31/00 Ground Zero Cliche, absurd, and unoriginal. Need we say more? 2 stars
10/30/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Run my pretties, Run for the exits before its too late!!!! 1 stars
10/30/00 kim boyd BW1 Formula: Trapped in Woods, Relate to their deep fears, everyone dies. BW2 misses al 3 1 stars
10/30/00 Ytsejam It had to take a lot of work to make this suck as bad as it did. 1 stars
10/29/00 finalfight this is not a real movie... it's a horror movie. Don't expect academy awards achievements 4 stars
10/28/00 bullit17 A "horror" movie with no horror and very little suspense. Very disappointing. 2 stars
10/27/00 Jeff D OK, illogical script, petulant acting. But the concept of perception vs. reality is trippy 4 stars
10/26/00 AM Radio The Hair Clit Project...this movie blows. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Oct-2000 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jan-2001

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Jan-2001 (M)




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