Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. File this one under Bad Idea. I’m guessing the folks over at Artisan were desperate to capitalize on the success of last year’s surprise hit, The Blair Witch Project. Unfortunately they were apparently a little too desperate. Somewhere in the rush to get this film made they forgot one verrry important fact. People dug The Blair Witch Project because it was a good movie. This one isn’t.
Okay, it’s not Plan 9 from Outer Space, but the fact that I even raise the specter of Ed Wood’s abomination should give you some clue as to the quality of this film. At it’s heart it’s everything The Blair Witch Project wasn’t. Eschewing the serious, dread inducing tone of the original, this film takes an already tired "Scream" approach to the genre by poking fun at it’s predecessor and populating the cast with young "hipsters." Three of them are groan inducing choices; a pagan witch, an unbelievably stereotypical "goth" girl, and , most amazingly, a circa 1994 grunge reject complete with a goatee and longjohns underneath his shorts. Add to that the gratuitous Internet references and the prevalence of computers and high tech gadgets in the film and you’ll get a sense of the demographic straining taking place here. Then again, if they’d just had the main character use his mouse once while operating video editing software I might not be so intolerant of the high tech pandering going on.
It’s not all bad. Okay so it’s not at all scary (it’s creepy at times, but that’s about the extent of it), and the story leaves a lot to be desired, but it is funny. Very funny. The only problem is the laughs are spilt an even 50/50 between intentional and unintentional.
One scene in particular probably sums up my experience with this film. Near the end, the "witch" girl is freaked out like a crack-head at a Mormon summer camp. She’s pretty much having a nervous breakdown because of all the "spooky" happenings floating around. So, there she is, bobbing up and down like a schizophrenic, manically repeating some sort of protection incantation. I assume this is supposed to be a harrowing experience. I mean, this poor girl is losing her mind. What do I do? I start doing a little dance in my chair to the rhythmic beat she had going. That’s how little I cared about these characters
Oh, her breakdown scene? I thought it had a great beat. It was really easy to dance to.
If you want to see a quality movie with ties to this one, rent the original Blair Witch Project or check out Berlinger’gripping Paradise Lost documentaries and save your seven bucks. If you’ve just got to see it, or if you like "good" bad movies then don’t go in expecting too much and everything should be just fine.
This article was originally published in Boston's Weekly Dig (now digBoston) in October 2000.