Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Let's go back to Burkisville, where some clever students made The Blair Witch Project, which caused an international sensation, despite having the worst cinematography in living history and a story that only half stood up.

Now, in 1999, the village is awash with tourists, eager to walk the witch trail and buy cheesy souvenirs from homegrown nutcase, Jeff (Jeffrey Donovan), who knows the difference between crazy like a fox and commercial good sense.

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The new movie is very much aware of the original. Jeff is cashing in. He has a Blair Witch Tour van decked out in camouflage green, with tents and sleeping bags and assorted video cameras. His first clients are Steve (Stephen Barker Turner) and Tristen (Tristen Skyler), who are working on an academic thesis, Erica (Erica Leerhsen) who does spells in Stevie Nicks outfits, and Kim (Kim Director) who wears Goth makeup and confesses to being psychic.

Jeff takes them to the ruined house where the last lot disappeared and where the real witch was supposed to have been murdered. They camp in the garden, except don't sleep much, drinking till late, dancing round the fire, being disturbed by another group on a similar Guide To The Project scam, with foreign tourists in tow, who are told to get lost.

Next morning, they awake bleary eyed. Jeff's cameras and Steve's work notes have been trashed. The other group have suffered an even worse fate.

The franchise is under new management, with Joe Berlinger as writer/director. He retains the spirit of the prototype, while going dangerously deep into the concept of "perception is reality". What happens to these people is scary, because they don't know what to believe. They learn not to trust their eyesight. Flashbacks and flashforwards crash their consciousness. Dreams become as vivid as woken fear.

In the end the cameras hold the secret of what is and what is not true.

Compared to a special effects gross-out, like The Haunting, this has an edge. The script is acerbic and funny, the characters not without interest. Kim snaps at Jeff: "You're a long way from sane". Perhaps that's right. The loony is still off his head. The sheriff certainly believes so. And yet, despite obvious paranoia, Jeff seems to understand how far beyond a joke the situation has reached. Steve calls it "collective delusion". There is another word. Terror.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Group go on Blair Witch tour with paranoid guide, resulting in bad, bad dreams.
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Director: Joe Berlinger

Writer: Joe Berlinger, Dick Beebe

Starring: Jeffery Donovan, Erica Leerhsen, Kim Director, Tristen Skyler, Stephen Barker Turner

Year: 2000

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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The Blair Witch Project