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Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Movie poster
Directed by Joe Berlinger
Produced by Bill Carraro
Written by Dick Beebe
Joe Berlinger
Starring Kim Director
Jeffrey Donovan
Erica Leerhsen
Tristine Skyler
Stephen Barker Turner
Music by Carter Burwell
Cinematography Nancy Schreiber
Editing by Sarah Flack
Distributed by Artisan Entertainment
Release date(s) October 27, 2000 United StatesUnited Kingdom
Running time 90 min
Language English
Budget $15m
Gross revenue $47,737,094
Preceded by The Blair Witch Project

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is the 2000 sequel to the film The Blair Witch Project, directed by Joe Berlinger. Another sequel was planned but never materialized.[1] In August 2009, in a BBC News feature to mark the 10th anniversary of the first film, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, the directors of the original movie have discussed potentially making a third film.[2]

Contents

Plot

The story is presented through a series of flashbacks, as some of the young adults are questioned at a police station about their time spent in the woods.

The story begins in Burkittsville, Maryland, where the release of the original Blair Witch Project has attracted a group of young tourists. The group includes Tristen and Stephen, who are researching the Blair Witch for a book they are writing; Erica, a wiccan; Kim, a psychic goth who came because she "thought the movie was cool"; and Jeff, the tour group leader. They embark on the inaugural tour of "the Blair Witch Hunt" and plan to travel to different spots that are important to the Blair Witch mythology.

Their first stop, where they plan to camp for the night, is the ruins of Rustin Parr's house. Jeff has an endless supply of cameras to catch any sightings that may occur. The group begins drinking and smoking pot, until they are interrupted by another tour group, the Blair Witch Walk, who claim that they have jurisdiction over the ruins. Jeff and the others argue with them and then lie and convince the other group that they saw something at Coffin Rock and are afraid. The other tour group decides to go to Coffin Rock to investigate. After they depart, the Blair Witch Hunt group continues to get inebriated.

They wake up the next morning with no memories of a five-hour period of the previous night. All of the papers from Tristen and Stephen's research are strewn about the campsite, torn to shreds, and Jeff's cameras are destroyed. Kim has a vision of the tapes still being at the campsite and, sure enough, Jeff recovers the tapes. As the group fights over why the tapes are still there but the cameras are destroyed, Tristen discovers that she is bleeding and has suffered a miscarriage.

Tristen is taken to the hospital where she is informed that she lost a lot more blood than usual. She then has a vision of a young girl walking away backwards. Stephen comes in to talk to her and Tristen decides she wants to leave the hospital. Jeff takes the group to his house, which is actually an old abandoned broom factory that can only be entered by crossing an old bridge.

The group enters Jeff's house and sees that he has cameras all over the place to protect his home and has installed an alarm system of barking dog sounds that goes off when the front door is opened. He tells Tristen and Stephen that they can sleep in his room and he, Erica, and Kim go to Jeff's editing loft to start reviewing the tapes. Here and there, they see flashes of random things, but are unable to recall what happened and piece things together. At one point, a flash of a naked woman walking around a tree is shown. Jeff and Kim want to work on blowing up the image to figure out who it is and Erica is sent down to the kitchen to make coffee.

In the kitchen, Erica encounters Stephen, who is noticeably upset. Tristen had just revealed to him that she had had a dream of hurting the baby back when they were camping. He is tense and Erica comes over and rubs his shoulders. They begin making out intensely and stop when they discover that they are both marked with strange red letters on their skin. Erica then uses her nails to slice open Stephen's stomach. In the next second, the scene flips and shows Erica and Stephen sitting at opposite ends of the long table, with the make-out apparently just in their minds, though they both look disturbed.

Jeff calls for Erica and she comes back up to the loft and questions him about the woman. Jeff blows up the image and makes it clear and it is Erica. Erica freaks out and doesn't remember anything and runs away to a room downstairs. Kim gets upset and asks for Jeff's keys so she can buy some beer. On her way out, she stops to see Erica, who is upset and reciting invocations over and over. She shows Kim the letters on her stomach and Kim reveals that she has them as well, on her shoulder. Kim tries to write it off as poison oak, but Erica points out that they are growing.

Kim goes to the store, encounters a few rude teenage boys waiting outside, and then goes in to buy beer. However, the cashier, Peggy, is also rude and won't wait on her. Kim bags up her own beer and Peggy grabs her arm and tells her to leave. Kim threatens Peggy to not touch her again, throws her money down, and leaves. When she exits, the boys are gone. She drives away, but is distracted when the boys throw rocks in the back window of Jeff's van. When she turns back around, she sees seven children dressed in clothes from long ago in front of the van. She swerves and hits a tree. When she gets out, she hears crying.

When she returns to Jeff's, she pulls her beer out of the bag and pokes herself on a nail file that Peggy at the store was using. She doesn't recall grabbing it and it has blood on it. Since her finger is bleeding, she reasons that the blood came from her finger. Meanwhile, Erica is still freaking out and Tristen is having Elly Kedward (The Blair Witch)'s dreams. Kim tells Jeff about the van and has a vision of him being electrocuted. He still hasn't made any progress on the tapes.

The next morning arrives and Stephen and Tristen are preparing to leave. Erica is going to drive them to the airport. She goes to get the keys from Jeff. Stephen looks for her after a few minutes and can't find her. Kim and Jeff look too, and also can't find her. Kim then enters the room where Erica was doing the invocations and finds all of Erica's clothes lying on the floor in the center of a circle of candles. She shows the boys and no one can figure out what is going on.

Tristen then claims to see Erica outside. They all run to look, but there is no one there. She tells Stephen to look again, and he sees her. He goes outside and Erica is standing in just her underwear. She tells him that he knows who it is and he knows what he has to do. She then runs off. The bridge suddenly gives out and Stephen climbs up. He also sees a vision of the same girl Tristen saw in the hospital who repeats what Erica said. Jeff and Kim help Stephen back into the house.

The day progresses with the Sheriff calling to let the group know that the other tour group was gutted, murdered, and laid out in the shape of a pentagram. He claims that Jeff is responsible. Jeff also tries to call Erica's parents and the couple in question deny having children. Meanwhile, an owl gets thrown through one of the windows of the house. After Kim storms off angrily from Jeff, who keeps accusing Erica of things, he comes to find her, only to hallucinate her eating the dead owl. She is actually eating chicken and just tells Jeff to stop bad mouthing Erica.

Later, when Kim is back in the loft, she discovers files off her and the other three in Jeff's desk, which he swears he doesn't know about. Everyone begins arguing until the Sheriff calls again and tells Jeff to come out to his front door. Jeff doesn't understand how the Sheriff can be there, since the bridge is out, but he turns on a TV screen and sees that it is back up. He goes to the front door, but the Sheriff isn't there. Instead, there are dogs barking, just like his alarm. He goes to a closet and grabs a rifle to shoot the dogs. Upon reopening the front door, however, they have vanished. Kim and Stephen come running down and tell Jeff to put the gun away. When he goes back to the closet, he finds Erica inside with her back turned to him. He turns her around and they discover that she is dead.

After that, the group sits in the loft trying to figure out what to do and what is happening. Tristen comes up to the loft and talks about how everything is backwards and that they should run the tapes backwards to figure out what happened last night. They play them backwards and see each other having sex. They also see that Tristen has become possessed and led them to murder the other tour group. She is shown leading rituals and handing out knives.

After they finish watching the video, they blame Tristen for everything they did. She gets angry, climbs some stairs and ties a rope around her neck. She calls Stephen weak over and over and taunts Kim and Jeff and finally, Stephen reaches his limit and pushes her off the ledge, and she dangles by her neck from the rope.

The group is then led out by the police and each taken to separate rooms for interrogation. In Kim's room, they show a video of her at the store buying the beer. She is seen stabbing Peggy in the neck with the nail file. In Jeff's video, they show him arranging candles around Erica's clothes and stowing her in the closet. In Stephen's video, they show him blaming Tristen for killing the baby, while Tristen screams for her life, and him throwing her off the ledge and cursing her. All three claim they never did those things.

Cast

Production

After the massive success of The Blair Witch Project, Artisan was eager to produce a sequel while the film's popularity was still at its peak. However, Haxan Films, who created the original film, was not ready to begin work on a follow-up, preferring to wait until the initial buzz had died down.[3] Artisan decided to proceed without them, hiring Joe Berlinger, who had previously (and subsequently) only done true documentaries, to direct. Blair Witch directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez served as executive producers on the film, but later stated that they had little influence on production and were unsatisfied with the finished film.[4]

Stylistically, Book of Shadows was the direct opposite of its predecessor: though the film occasionally utilizes the point of view camcorder/pseudo-documentary format used in the first movie, Book of Shadows more closely resembles the glossy, big-budget special effects-laden horror films that Blair Witch was a counter to. Berlinger has stated that he originally made the film with more of an ambiguous tone, but Artisan recut the film and re-shot certain scenes to add more "traditional" horror movie elements, thus creating what they saw as a more "commercial" film. Berlinger repeatedly expresses his dislike of the studio's changes throughout the film's DVD commentary.

Though Book of Shadows' marketing campaign made no attempt to present the film as a "true story", a promotional "dossier" for the film, compiled by D.A. Stern, was released, including fabricated police reports and interviews surrounding the events in the film as if they were fact (a similar "dossier", also by Stern, was released as a companion piece to the first film). Additionally, similar to the first movie, each of the main characters retain the first names of their respective actors, though their surnames are changed slightly.

Release and reception

Book of Shadows was released throughout the world in 2000-2002. In the United States, it debuted at number 2 with $13,000,000. After 8 weeks, it finished with $26,421,314[5] Overall, internationally the film made $47,737,094.[6]

Although its theatrical release made a profit, critical reaction to Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was mostly negative. As of November 2009, it holds a 13% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 900 reviews.[7] Metacritic reported, based on 34 reviews, an average rating of 15 out of 100, indicating "Extreme Dislike or Disgust."[8] Additionally, Book of Shadows was nominated for five Razzie Awards, including "Worst Picture" (which the original 1999 film was nominated for), and won for "Worst Remake or Sequel".

Roger Ebert, who gave the first film four stars (out of four), gave Book of Shadows two stars, calling it "a muddled, sometimes-atmospheric effort that could have come from many filmmakers" and "not a very lucid piece of filmmaking."[9] Shawn Levy of the Portland Oregonian gave a mildly positive review, saying: "There are moments of pleasure, humor, and [...] terror to be had here."[10] Luke Y. Thompson of the Dallas Observer said the film "deserves points for creativity" but is "not entirely successful."[11]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called the film "a flat heebie jeebies thriller."[12] Chris Kaltenbach of the Baltimore Sun said: "Gets credit for avoiding the easy path. Too bad the path it chooses doesn't lead us anywhere we want to be taken."[13] Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News commented that "the characters are boring, the violence generic, the suspense nonexistent."[14] Wesley Morris of the San Francisco Examiner called the film "throwaway megaplex fodder."[15] David Edelstein of Slate summed up his thoughts with, "Lordy, what a stinker."[16]

Despite being heavily panned by critics, the film has attracted a small cult following in the years since its release.

"The Secret of Esrever"

Much like the first Blair Witch, Book of Shadows also featured a marketing gimmick, although this one centered around the film's video release, fully exploiting video technology. The DVD and VHS releases came with a featurette detailing "The Secret of Esrever", ("Esrever" is the word reverse spelled backwards), a number of near-subliminal messages in the form of hidden words and images that were placed throughout the film. The featurette encouraged viewers to watch certain scenes in reverse and/or frame-by-frame in order to decode the "secret", and, through scrambled letters flashed throughout the program, offered five clues to where they could be found: "door", "water", "mirror", "rug" and "grave".

An example of these messages can be seen in a scene early in the film where the main characters are in a graveyard, standing behind a tombstone inscribed with the word "Treacle". The shot briefly cuts away and then cuts back, though the same tombstone now reads "Further". This is seen for approximately one second until it cuts away again, and the tombstone once again reads "Treacle" for the remainder of the scene.

When all of the clues were identified, the hidden words, when put in the correct order, spelled out "seek me no further", plus an extra hidden word, "or". Viewers could then go to the official Blair Witch website and type the words into a special search box: typing "seek me no further" would play an extra scene from the movie, and typing "seek me no further or" would enable them to add their name to a list of people who had also decoded the message. As of 2008, this function is no longer available.

DVD and Soundtrack releases

DVD

The DVD of Book of Shadows was released on September 18, 2001 on a double-sided DVD/CD disc. The DVD side included few special features, including the "Secret of Esrever" featurette, audio commentaries by Joe Berlinger and Carter Burwell, production notes and a live video of the band Godhead.

The CD side featured three cuts from the official soundtrack (Godhead's "The Reckoning", Tony Iommi/Dave Grohl's "Goodbye Lament" and Steaknife's "Tommy (Don't Die)"), Carter Burwell's entire instrumental score and a live recording of Godhead's "The Reckoning".

Soundtrack

Two soundtracks for Book of Shadows were released: the first was released through Priority Records on October 17, 2000. The second, released through Milan Records on October 24, 2000, consisted of Carter Burwell's instrumental score.

Track listing

  1. "The Reckoning" - Godhead
  2. "Lie Down" - P.O.D.
  3. "Goodbye Lament" - Tony Iommi/Dave Grohl
  4. "Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Remix)" - Rob Zombie
  5. "Mind" - System of a Down
  6. "Stick It Up" - Slaves on Dope
  7. "Disposable Teens" - Marilyn Manson
  8. "Soul Auctioneer" - Death in Vegas
  9. "PS" - Project 86
  10. "Old Enough" - Nickelback
  11. "Feel Alive" - U.P.O.
  12. "Tommy (Don't Die)" - Steaknife
  13. "Arcarsenal" - At the Drive-In
  14. "Human" - Elastica
  15. "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" - Queens of the Stone Age

The Shadow Of The Blair Witch

The Shadow Of The Blair Witch was a documentary created for the DVDs special features. It aired on the Sci Fi channel in the U.S and Channel 4 in the U.K. The documentary follows the story of Jeff Patterson, a character in the movie but in the mockumentary, he is portrayed as if he was real. The mockumentary follows the murders that he committed which were in the movie.

Sequel

On September 2, 2009 it was announced by Ed Sanchez and Daniel Myrick that they are pitching a second sequel for The Blair Witch Project.[17][18]

References

  1. ^ "The Blair Witch Project 3: Interview". Webwombat.com.au. http://www.webwombat.com.au/entertainment/movies/blair_int.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-03.  
  2. ^ "The legend of the Witch lives on: Interview". news.bbc.co.uk. August 11, 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8187275.stm. Retrieved 2009-08-11.  
  3. ^ Morris, Clint."Interview with Daniel Myrick and Ed Sanchez". Webwombat.com.au. http://www.webwombat.com.au/entertainment/movies/blair_int.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-03.  
  4. ^ The Devil's Advocate #5: 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2' (2000)
  5. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) - Weekend Box Office Results
  6. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
  7. ^ Rotten Tomatoes. "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2". http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/book_of_shadows_blair_witch_2/.  
  8. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, Metacritic
  9. ^ Review by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  10. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Shawn Levy, Portland Oregonian, 2000
  11. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Luke Y. Thompson, Dallas Observer, 2000
  12. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 2000
  13. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun, 2000
  14. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Jack Mathews, New York Daily News, 2000
  15. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner, 2000
  16. ^ Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, David Edelstein, Slate, 2000
  17. ^ 'Blair Witch' Sequel Announcement Coming By Year’s End
  18. ^ Eduardo Sanchez Talks Seventh Moon, Plans for Blair Witch 3

External links








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