When we think about “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,” let us stop killing ourselves long enough to admire Hollywood’s resourcefulness. I wish this power would be used for good instead of evil, but you have to admit, it’s a pretty cool talent, however it’s applied.
I mean, if any normal person were asked about the possibility of doing a sequel to “The Blair Witch Project,” he or she would say, “That’s ridiculous. The movie only had three characters, and every single one of them died at the end. Plus, it was a unique, ground-breaking movie. You can’t force lightning to strike twice in the same place. Plus, 99 percent of all sequels are crap, and the chances of a ‘Blair Witch’ sequel being crap are exponentially higher because of the original film’s unusual nature, as well as the aforementioned fact that all the characters died at the end. So, no. There can be no ‘Blair Witch 2.’ There just can’t be. It’s not possible. Please do not waste any more of my time with such frivolous matters. Get off my porch. Seriously, I want you to leave. Why are you harassing me like this? Let go of my arm! No, you can’t have a dollar.” Then the person would forcefully close the door and lock it, never again thinking that some day there could be a second “Blair Witch” movie.
But if you ask someone in Hollywood about the possibility of doing a sequel, that person will respond with a question: “How much money did the first one make?” If the answer is, “More than $100 million,” then the person will respond, “Yes! We can definitely do a sequel. Please pass me that bowl of heroin.”
If there were a movie that ended with planet Earth falling into the sun and every living creature being destroyed, and the movie had already established that there was no life on other planets, and no afterlife, and no God, and that the death of Earth meant the death of all life in the entire universe — well, Hollywood could still find a way to make a sequel. And the sequel would suck. And Hollywood would not learn its lesson, because Hollywood is incapable of learning anything, having been struck in the head with a rock when it was a child.
“The Blair Witch Project” was an independent film that, despite having no lesbians in it, managed to slip through the cracks and premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. From there, it was put into wide release, where people either loved it or hated it. Many people loved it at first but, when everyone else started loving it, started hating it so they could be different. Many others hated it but pretended to love it so they could be cool. Many others loved it but pretended to hate it because loving it had suddenly become unfashionable. Love it or hate it or both, you had to admit it had a nice message: If you put three whiny, foul-mouthed college students in the woods, they will eventually die.
The sequel takes place after the first movie was released, when many people who were not very smart thought the events it depicted were real, apparently not having seen the actors appearing in a non-deceased capacity on “The Tonight Show.” These not-smart people flooded the tiny town of Burkittsville, Md., hoping to catch a glimpse of the real Blair Witch, or at the very least, to be ripped off by people who sold souvenirs.
That’s what happened in real life. In “Book of Shadows,” which contains neither a “book” nor “shadows” and which even falls short in its portrayal of “of,” a fictitious entrepreneur/psychopath takes people on a tour of the woods where the “Blair Witch Project” events supposedly took place. Needless to say, creepy things start happening. Could the Blair Witch be real after all?!?!?!?!?!? That is the burning question that this movie begs you to please care about, though you should politely refuse the request and ask the movie if it wouldn’t mind bringing you a pillow.
Within 30 minutes, “Blair Witch 2” has turned into every horror movie ever made, except for “The Blair Witch Project,” which it bears no resemblance to whatsoever. Should you choose to see “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,” I recommend chopping off your big toe first so that the pain can distract you from the actual movie. Also, be aware that you’re fostering Hollywood’s “resourcefulness” habit, and that John Travolta has indicated he wants to do a “Battlefield Earth 2,” and that maybe the whole “Earth-plunging-into-the-sun” scenario isn’t so bad after all.
"The Blair Witch Project" is a movie that suffered from its own hype. By the time many people saw it, it had been built up so much that the backlash was inevitable. A lot of the folks who declared it worthless -- whether that was their honest reaction, or just the knee-jerk against the hype -- also declared that the critics who claimed to like it were just going along with the hype.
I was lucky enough to see it at a press screening a few months before it opened, when the only buzz surrounding it was what critics who had seen it at Sundance were saying. At Sundance, there had been NO hype -- it was just another entry -- and the people who watched it and were terrified were reacting to the movie itself, not to what they'd heard about it.
I saw it, and it scared me so bad, I wet my own pants, as well as the pants of the guy next to me. Many movies are suspenseful or make me jump when I watch them, but very, very few actually "scare" me in the sense of making me scared later on. "The Blair Witch Project" did that, though: I was literally afraid of walking into dark rooms for several days afterward, for fear of seeing someone standing in the corner. And I doubt I will ever go camping again, unless it is with a large group and Harry Potter is with us. This was my honest reaction to the film; it had nothing to do with hype, which was very small when I saw it. So whether you liked it or not, kindly refrain from telling me the reasons why I liked it, since I just told you what my reasons were.
By the way, you can read my official review of "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" here.