By James Keller
If you left The Blair Witch Project wobbling around, clutching your stomach and looking for somewhere to let your motion sickness release itself, you are in for a pleasant surprise in Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows. Instead of being shot on a Hi-8 camcorder, the directors have graduated to full-fledged Hollywood filmmaking. Along with this comes steady and polished camera work, musical accompaniment and even visual effects. Unfortunately, this is where the pleasantries end.
The plot of the movie takes us on a journey with four curious movie fans who are taking part in a Blair Witch tour, led by a former mental patient and local resident. The goal is to have a look at the site where The Blair Witch Project was filmed while hoping to get a few witches caught on tape in the process. Of course, as the trip progresses eerie things start to happen.
The characters, who range from wiccans to goths to writers, are very shallow and provide us with quite unconvincing roles. When the acting doesn’t fall short, we are instead presented with highly superficial and cliché characters. From the stereotypical angst-filled playing of the anti-social, gothic psychic to the over-the-top portrayal of the bitter local sheriff, they will remind you more of an intense Three’s Company than the players of a Hollywood-made horror flick.
The production aspect, even though more high-tech this time, really isn’t much better in terms of depth. Despite the advances in technology, the movie still focuses on the use of video cameras. This time however, the dominance of third-person perspective makes these shifts in the middle of action seem completely pointless and merely hopeless attempts to please fans of the first film. Instead of using their creativity to give the audience something new and innovative, they gave us more of the same–except not nearly as good.
However, there were a few jumps here and there. Instead of using situation and characters to create deep psychological horror that comes from the feeling of truly being in the story, they instead use camera work, sound and unexpected action. And while it does make you quickly fall back in your chair it still leaves you painfully unsatisfied, much like the entire plot in general.
If you loved The Blair Witch Project, then prepare to be surprised as you walk into the theatre this month. Unfortunately, that surprise will be of how disappointing one movie is. Blair Witch 2 has knocked the series, which began as a clever film applauded for its low budget and innovative production, off the shelves of high praise and critical acclaim to at best, weak competition for the next Scream movie.