A more polished film that its predecessor, "Book of Shadows" delivers a creepy sequel. Sadly, it does not hold the same terror that the original did for me (of course, I thought it was real).
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Directors: Joe Berlinger
Producers: Bill Carraro
Writers: Joe Berlinger, Dick Beebe
Features: The Secrets of Esrever; Audio Commentary by Director Joe Berlinger; Select Scene Commentary with Composer Carter Burwell; Live Performance by the band Godhead; Widescreen Version; Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio; DVD Rom Features: Weblink Access to Exclusive Never Before Seen Footage and Other Extras; Cast and Crew Information; Production Notes; Digitally Mastered; Scene Access; Interactive Menus; a CD-side soundtrack
Kim Diamond - Kim Director
Jeffrey Patterson - Jeffrey Donovan
Erica Geerson - Erica Leerhsen
Tristine Ryler - Tristen Skylar
Stephen Parker - Stephen Turner
"Book of Shadows" is a sequel that was, without a doubt, going to be made. After the amazing success of the "Blair Witch Project," someone had to take a shot at a sequel. The good thing is that as far as sequels go, this one did all right. It is more professionally done (no more jerky camcorder shots), but unfortunately, loses the indie terror the first one caused. I happened to be one of those who saw BWP in theaters, thinking it was real. It really did creep me out! After realizing that it was a fake, I have yet to see it again. The truth really deflated the terror expressed in the first movie.
"Blair Witch 2" goes back to Burkittsville and tells a different story. The DVD is also loaded with special features, which has become very common on Artisan discs. The picture and sound were very good, and I have no complaints in that department. The director does have some interesting commentary and does go into some of the production efforts involved with the film. He tries to make it sound really eerie when he says strange things happened during the production, but I'm not buying it after the BWP turned out to be a ruse. "The Secrets of Esrever" are just scenes that are supposed to illustrate the strange happenings, but I think they are just digitally altered images inserted in the film. No fooling this guy again!
Unfortunately, I do not have a DVD-ROM player on my computer, so I was unable to explore those features. The production notes come in a little insert booklet with the DVD but are also covered somewhat in the commentary. The CD track is normal, but there is a warning against playing the disk on in-dash car audio systems. I heeded that advise. The select scene commentary was interesting, but I liked the director track better. The band performance is fluff, and all the other features are standard.
"Book of Shadows" begins with news reports noting the impact of the first film. This sets the stage for our young group of explorers to go trouncing through the woods to tour the Blair Witch sites. Tristine and Stephen are doing research on the myth, Erica is a Wiccan, just wanting to get in touch with the Blair Witch, and Kim, well, she just liked the movie. Jeff is their guide and he takes them deep into the woods. Strange things happen to them there, and they head back to Jeff's abode in the woods to think things through. Well, that's when the witch launches a mental assault on them, and leads to the very creative ending, which still has me scratching my head. Was it all real, or imagined?
"Blair Witch 2" is definitely worth the rent. I wish I had seen it in theaters, but I didn't mainly because I was upset at the first being an elaborate hoax. The sequel is eerie in its own right, but did not rise to the level of terror that the first one had. More a psychological thriller than horror movie, "Book of Shadows" tries to elaborate on the witch story that the original left with loose ends. I think it is a good effort on the part of the director and the actors.
I would rate this film with three and a half stars. It has enough features and a cheap price that buying it does not seem unreasonable. I would suggest that you not buy the dual movie package that comes with a lot of junk you don't need. No, Artisan has priced the two separate movies at a low price, however, I would only consider buying the second. The first had its initial terror, but the magic has faded in my opinion. Check this film out when you get a chance.