Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
|Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2|
|Directed by||Joe Berlinger|
|Produced by||Bill Carraro|
|Written by||Dick Beebe
Stephen Barker Turner
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Editing by||Sarah Flack|
|Distributed by||Artisan Entertainment|
|Running time||90 minutes|
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is a 2000 American psychological horror film and the sequel to The Blair Witch Project, directed by Joe Berlinger. Another sequel was planned but never materialized. In August 2009, in a BBC News feature to mark the 10th anniversary of the first film, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, the director/creators of the original movie have discussed potentially making a third film.
In November 1999, a group of young tourists arrive in Burkittsville, Maryland after seeing The Blair Witch Project. The group includes Stephen and his pregnant girlfriend, Tristen, who are researching the Blair Witch for a book they are writing; Erica, a wiccan; Kim, a goth psychic; and Jeff, their local tour guide.
Their first stop, where they camp for the night, is the ruins of Rustin Parr's house. Jeff places cameras to catch any sightings that may occur. That evening another tour group approaches their camp and claims to have jurisdiction over the ruins. Jeff and his tourists lie and convince the other group that they saw something horrifying at Coffin Rock earlier. The other group leaves to investigate.
Jeff and the others wake the next morning with no memory of the previous night. Tristen and Stephen's research documents are shredded and strewn about, and Jeff's cameras are destroyed. Their tapes are found unharmed in the same spot the Blair Witch Project footage was discovered. As they debate why the tapes were spared, Tristen notices that she is bleeding and has miscarried.
Later, at the hospital, Tristen sees a ghostly young girl walking away backwards. After she is discharged, Jeff takes the group to his home, an abandoned broom factory in the woods. It has an elaborate security system, including a deep trench and bridge to the entrance, many surveillance cameras, and a front door that plays the sound of barking guard dogs whenever it is opened. They review their tapes and find hours of footage are missing. At one point, they see a naked woman swinging around a tree backwards. Jeff enlarges the video, revealing her to be Erica. Erica remembers no such event and runs to a nearby room to pray.
Kim drives to a store to buy beer and has several unpleasant encounters with the locals, ending in a heated argument with the cashier and Kim being ordered to leave the store. Back at Jeff's, she reaches into her shopping bag and pricks herself on a nail file. She doesn't recall grabbing it and it has blood on it.
Erica goes missing the next morning. She isn't indoors but nobody heard the front door. Kim discovers Erica's clothes surrounded by a circle of lit candles. Shortly after, the sheriff calls to say that the other tour group was found gutted and laid out in the shape of a pentagram on Coffin Rock, and that he believes Jeff is responsible.
That night Stephen sees Erica through a window, naked and swinging backwards around a tree just as in their tapes. He runs outside, where she tells him he knows what he must do. She runs off and the bridge collapses under him. He avoids falling by grabbing a ledge, and while climbing he sees the same girl Tristen did in the hospital. She repeats Erica's statement before vanishing. The sheriff calls again and tells Jeff he's outside and has some questions. Jeff doesn't understand since the bridge is out, but a security monitor shows it is now intact. He opens the front door, but the bridge is once again broken and the sheriff isn't there. Instead, across the chasm there is a pack of barking dogs. He grabs a rifle but the dogs are gone. When he returns the gun to the closet, he finds Erica's corpse inside.
The group sits in the loft trying to make sense of the situation. Tristen suggests everything is backwards. They are confused, but Kim tells Jeff to play the tapes in reverse to view the lost footage. This works, and the new footage shows Tristen leading them in an orgy and the ritualistic murder of the other tour group. Once the video ends, Jeff begins taping Tristen and demands a confession. She asks Stephen for help, but he turns on her and claims that she deliberately killed their baby. Tristen ties a rope around her own neck while deriding the others for letting fear drive them to a witch hunt. She focuses especially on Stephen, who pushes her over a railing in a moment of rage, causing her to hang by her neck and die.
The group is arrested and interrogated separately. In Kim's room, they play security footage from the store of her stabbing the cashier in the neck with a nail file. In Jeff's video, he arranges Erica's clothes and stows her body in the closet. In Stephen's video, they show him lynching Tristen and cursing her as a witch. All three claim they never did those things.
- Kim Director as Kim Diamond
- Jeffrey Donovan as Jeffrey Patterson
- Erica Leerhsen as Erica Geerson
- Tristine Skyler as Tristen Ryler
- Stephen Barker Turner as Stephen Ryan Parker
- Lanny Flaherty as Sheriff Ronald Cravens
- Kennen Sisco as Peggy
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. 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.
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. Overall, internationally the film made $47,737,094.
Critical reaction to Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was very negative. As of November 2009, it holds a 13% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on over 100 reviews. Metacritic reported, based on 34 reviews, an average rating of 15 out of 100, indicating "Overwhelming Dislike". 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". Shawn Levy of the Portland Oregonian gave a mildly positive review, saying: "There are moments of pleasure, humor, and [...] terror to be had here." Luke Y. Thompson of the Dallas Observer said the film "deserves points for creativity" but is "not entirely successful".
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C-, calling it "a flat heebie jeebies thriller". 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." Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News commented that "the characters are boring, the violence generic, the suspense nonexistent". Wesley Morris of The San Francisco Examiner called the film "throwaway megaplex fodder". David Edelstein of Slate summed up his thoughts with, "Lordy, what a stinker."
Awards and nominations
|Golden Trailer Awards||Most Original Teaser Trailer||Nominated|
|World Soundtrack Awards||Soundtrack Composer of the Year||Carter Burwell||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Picture||Bill Carraro||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Joe Berlinger||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick, Dick Beebe and Joe Berlinger||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple||Any two actors||Nominated|
|Worst Remake or Sequel||Won|
|Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||Worst Picture||Bill Carraro||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Joe Berlinger||Nominated|
|Worst On-Screen Group||The Tourists||Nominated|
|Most Intrusive Musical Score||Carter Burwell||Nominated|
|Most Unintentionally Funny Movie||Bill Carraro||Nominated|
|Worst Remake or Sequel||Won|
|The Remake or Sequel Nobody was Clamoring for||Won|
"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
The DVD of Book of Shadows was released on March 2001 on the DVD+CD format. The DVD side included a 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".
Two soundtracks for Book of Shadows were released: the first was released through Posthuman Records on October 17, 2000. The second, released through Milan Records on October 24, 2000, consisted of Carter Burwell's instrumental score. The soundtrack was re-released in 2001 and bundled with the DVD+CD.
- "The Reckoning" - Godhead
- "Lie Down" - P.O.D.
- "Goodbye Lament" - Tony Iommi/Dave Grohl
- "Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Remix)" - Rob Zombie
- "Mind" - System of a Down
- "Stick It Up" - Slaves on Dope
- "Suicide Is Painless" - Marilyn Manson
- "Soul Auctioneer" - [[Death in Vega
- "PS" - Project 86
- "Old Enough" - Nickelback
- "Feel Alive" - U.P.O.
- "Tommy (Don't Die)" - Steaknife
- "Arcarsenal" - At the Drive-In
- "Human" - Elastica
- "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" - Queens of the Stone Age
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The Shadow of the Blair Witch
The Shadow of the Blair Witch was a mockumentary created for the DVD's special features. It aired on the Sci Fi channel in the U.S and Channel 4 in the U.K. The mockumentary 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.
On September 2, 2009 Ed Sánchez and Daniel Myrick announced their intent to produce a second sequel for The Blair Witch Project. The film would be a direct sequel to the first film, would potentially contain the actors from the first film in some context, and would not reference any of the events from Book of Shadows. In 2011 Sánchez remarked that further development on a sequel depended on getting Lionsgate to approve the idea and for his and Myrick's schedule to match up. The film is currently listed as "in production" on IMDb and is believed to be in development hell.
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- "The legend of the Witch lives on: Interview". news.bbc.co.uk. August 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
- Morris, Clint."Interview with Daniel Myrick and Ed Sanchez". Webwombat.com.au. Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- The Devil's Advocate #5: 'Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2' (2000)
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) - Weekend Box Office Results
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
- Rotten Tomatoes. "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2".
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, Metacritic
- Review by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Shawn Levy, Portland Oregonian, 2000
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Luke Y. Thompson, Dallas Observer, 2000
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, 2000
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun, 2000
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Jack Mathews, New York Daily News, 2000
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, Wesley Morris, San Francisco Examiner, 2000
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 review, David Edelstein, Slate, 2000
- "2000 23rd Hastings Bad Cinema Society Stinkers Awards". Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- "Eduardo Sanchez Talks Seventh Moon, Plans for Blair Witch 3". Dread Central. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "THE BLAIR WITCH RETURNS?". Dread Central. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "The Blair Witch Project 3 Moves Forward Says Eduardo Sanchez". Movie Web. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "10 Planned Horror Movie Sequels We're Still Waiting to See". FearNet. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 at AllMovie
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 at Rotten Tomatoes
- BBC Interview