"A Failure to Communicate"
BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS tries to capitalize on the success of the original horror movie by creating a self-reflective story about five people’s fascinations with the first movie and pagan religion. BLAIR WITCH 2 is one of the worst horror movies ever made, not only because of its incompetent filmmaking but also because of its strong gruesome violence, potent images of sex, nudity, drunkenness, and marijuana use, and its lack of morally redemptive messages and morally redemptive characters.
BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS tries to capitalize on the huge success of the original movie by creating a self-reflective scenario about people’s fascination with video, film and pagan religion. In the story, a former mental patient and video/film freak takes a group of four young people on a tour of the sites where the alleged occult murders took place in the first movie. Included among the four tourists are a black-dressed woman who’s into the Goth movement among young people and a woman who claims to be a pagan “wiccan” (an occult New Age religion) witch and who actually chants some spells during the movie. The young witch claims that the dead witch who supposedly haunts the Blair Woods is misunderstood. She hopes to make contact with the ghost of the dead witch, her “mentor,” and thereby gain more occult power for herself.
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.
(PaPaPa, OO, AbAb, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, AA, DD, MM) Strong pagan worldview without biblical or redeeming values & with plenty of occult material including occult possession of some kind by mysterious evil forces, spell-casting & a “wiccan” witch who, the movie implies, clearly does not understand the evil nature of her pagan “religion,” but the movie does not follow up on this potentially moral theme & merely uses it to shock the audience with nudity, sex, violence, & substance abuse; at least 94 mostly strong obscenities & 22 mostly strong profanities; strong imitable violence including a dream sequence where woman drowns her newborn baby, a murder/suicide scene & scenes where people are horribly & gruesomely stabbed, especially in the stomach; brief images of an apparent nude orgy that’s part of some kind of pagan ritual; upper & rear nudity depicted as part of some kind of pagan ritual; alcohol use & drunkenness that becomes some kind of pagan orgy; smoking & marijuana use; and, woman wants to abort her baby but father wants her to keep it, protagonists are crude and pagan people, & movie fails to take advantage of some good moral & theological points hidden within narrative structure.
BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS tries to capitalize on the success of the original movie by creating a self-reflective story about people’s fascination with video, film and pagan religion. In the story, a former mental patient and video/film freak takes a group of four young people on a tour of the sites where the alleged occult murders took place in the first movie. Although the five young adults know the first movie was supposedly fiction, they begin to have some doubts when they realize they all blanked out during a night of drunken, pot-smoking revelry where the tapes of the first movie’s alleged victims were found. Mayhem and murder follow.
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