BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS
A Failure to Communicate
Release Date: January 01, 1970
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Artisan Entertainment
Director: Joe Berlinger
Executive Producer: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sanchez II
Producer: Bill Carraro
Writer: Joe Berlinger & Dick Beebe
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Although the five young adults know the events in the first movie were supposedly fiction, they begin to have some doubts when they realize they all blanked out during a night of drunken, pot-smoking revelry at the ruins where the tapes of the first movie’s “victims” allegedly were found. Meanwhile, another tour guide and his clients turn up horribly stabbed to death. Was the ghost of the dead witch responsible? Is she exerting some kind of occult power over them?
BLAIR WITCH 2 is one of the worst horror movies ever made, in more ways than one.
First, the characters in this sequel are completely unlikable non-entities, including the female character who portrays a pagan wiccan witch. This violates one of the most basic rules in the horror movie genre, which demands that at least one character should have some likable, redeeming traits so the audience can identify with the character when they watch the movie.
Furthermore, as in the first movie, the ghost of the dead witch who’s supposedly haunting the Blair Woods never really shows up, leaving the movie without a palpable villain. This violates another basic rule in the horror movie genre.
At least, the first movie contained an air of mystery and used modern documentary techniques in a sometimes effective manner. BLAIR WITCH 2, on the other hand, has nothing to recommend it technically, not even the set design of the building to which the characters retreat after their night in the woods. That’s three strikes, you’re out!
More importantly, however, the pagan worldview in BLAIR WITCH 2 is totally without morally redemptive values. Since the five protagonists are unlikable non-entities, there are no strong moral or redemptive messages that the audience can take with them when they leave the theater.
Also, although the movie seems to indicate that the religion of the pagan wiccan witch character is false and naïve, this point is not sufficiently stressed to make any real impact. In the Bible, God clearly condemns witchcraft and occult idolatry like that of the wiccan faith; no one should have anything to do with such pagan evil, not even non-Christians and non-Jews, much less those of us who adopt the Christian or Jewish faiths.
This failure to make a really good point about the evils of such paganism is mirrored by the movie’s utter failure to drive home another moral message hidden within the narrative structure of BLAIR WITCH 2. That message shows that it is, in fact, the protagonists’ abuse of alcohol and marijuana which seems to make them blank out during their first night in the woods. It also leaves them vulnerable to the mysterious and evil occult forces lurking there. Thus, the movie also could have contained a very important message to its teenage audience about the dangers of using alcohol and marijuana. Ironically, loss of control is a classic theme in the horror genre (e.g., the WOLFMAN movies).
The filmmakers’ failure to take full advantage of these moral points also shows that they know almost next to nothing about what makes a good horror flick. To quote the famous refrain from the warden of the chain gang in COOL HAND LUKE starring Paul Newman, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
Finally, like the first movie, the sequel contains plenty of strong foul language. Unlike the first movie, however, not only does BLAIR WITCH 2 contain potent images of sex, nudity, drunkenness, and marijuana use, it also includes strong violence that’s likely to be imitated by some people. For example, the movie twice shows a hanging death scene, once as an accident/suicide and once as an apparent murder. In addition, the movie repeatedly shows several people being stabbed horribly and gruesome, usually in the stomach. There is also a dream sequence where one of the female characters, who’s pregnant, drowns her newborn baby in a small body of water in the woods. Scientific and historical evidence shows that this kind of graphic violence will encourage a few young people to actually commit murder. It’s only a matter of time before the news media will be reporting one or more violent copycat crimes inspired by BLAIR WITCH 2.
The first movie had the good sense to tone down the graphic, explicit violence that usually appears in today’s horror movies. The fact that the filmmakers of the sequel decided not to do this shows just how morally bankrupt their movie really is.
BLAIR WITCH 2 is one of the worst horror movies ever made. The characters are completely unlikable, including a female character who portrays a naïve pagan witch. Furthermore, as in the first movie, the ghost of the dead witch who’s supposedly haunting the Blair Woods never really shows up, leaving the movie without a palpable villain. Finally, the movie’s pagan worldview is without morally redemptive values and, unlike the first movie, includes strong imitatable violence which will encourage a few young people to actually commit murder