Movie Defense Force: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

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In some ways, this reminds me a lot of "Grave Encounters" and its sequel. These aren't terribly original movies, they follow the basic structure of Reality shows going terribly wrong in dilapidated buildings thanks to handily placed nightvision cams - but they're not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

Unfortunately, because the first movie was so mediocre (here used as meaning "unremarkable"), the second movie had to be produced with fan drives and a lot of cobbling together of money from various sources. It's a great example of a series' producers finding a reasonably fresh way to revisit their own material and it further sets up narrative levels that could stand to be explored.

Owing that "Grave Encounters 2" can practically only be Netflix-ed, downloaded on iTunes or torrented, however, I don't see that franchise's popularity increasing enough to warrant a third movie.

As for Blair Witch - without it, we wouldn't have Marble Hornets. We also wouldn't have contentious discussions with thesis directors who flat-out reject the term "Found Footage" as fitting of the Slender Man Mythos, when I really don't know what else to call it. Grr.

So far Movie Defense Force is 2 for 2 in my book. I loved Aliens 3 and I liked Book of Shadows. Certainly not the best movie, but not as bad as people make it out.

Also, I'm not opposed to MovieBob working with Jim, but I wish people would lay off the, "Isn't this MovieBob's turf". I like what Jim is doing here and opinions will as they always have, vary. I don't think Jim is stepping on MovieBob's toes doing this and hope to see more.

I am kind of in agreement with Jim this week although not all the way. Blair Witch 2 is bad, as in really bad. I couldn't in good conscience even jokingly recommend this to anyone. But what it isn't is the worst, most dreadful film to have hit cinema in an age, which is what a lot of people try and characterize this as. Its dumb, cheap, and not particularly scary, but it's just as good, if not better, than 90% of the other cheap horror that you might find direct to video or on late night SciFi (do they still show cheesy horror, haven't watched since they went SyFy?).

Take away the hype and the Blair Witch tie in and it would probably sit among hundreds of other 2 star B-rate horrors you can find on Netflix.

Fwiw, though, I never bought into the hype of the first one and thought it was garbage too, so never felt let down by this one. To this day, I still laugh at how many people were actually convinced that the original was based on real found footage.

I actually like this movie and still enjoy watching it to this day. Hell I own it on DVD and it is one of the mainstays of horror movies I watch leading up to Halloween.

Here are a couple I would love to see: Superman 3 and 4, Batman and Robin, Star Trek 5, Green Lantern. WHY DOES GOD NEED A STARSHIP?!

I was a kid when Blair Witch came out and when I finally did see the original on tape (remember when that was a thing?) it did absolutely nothing for me. I see it as nothing but shaky-cam and a bunch of jerks running through the woods screaming about being "so fucking scared" (seriously go back to Blair Witch Project and take a shot every time they repeat that phrase). When Blair Witch 2 came out I automatically classified it mentally as being leagues beyond the original for having an actual plot where actual things actually happen. Like Jim said, it's not a masterpiece but as a teen coming down from the original, it's like a cool drink after a trek through the desert.

YES!

I saw Blair when it came out, and never hated a movie as much.
NOTHING happens, the blurry crap images made me almost motion sick, and it has the honor of the ONLY movie ever that I nearly fell asleep to.

I gave this a chance a few years after it'd come out, JUST because I heard it was nothing like BW 1.
And I really liked it too.

The fact that it's about the fear of being called crazy, and perhaps BEING crazy is a theme I can really identify with, and I think most people can.
And it stuck the landing, as you've mentioned. Perhaps the most important thing for any horror.
If the ending stinks, the whole thing stinks (Hey, just my thoughts on BW 1!)...

Good job, Jim.
Keep em coming!!!

P.S.
Even got this one on DVD.

I seem to be one of the rare people that liked Blair Witch 2. Maybe it's because I hated the first one as it was boring and not frightening at all. So far, it's two movies defended that I liked when they came out but my friends didn't. Hmmm....I wonder if this pattern will continue.

mattttherman3:
Here are a couple I would love to see: Superman 3 and 4, Batman and Robin, Star Trek 5, Green Lantern. WHY DOES GOD NEED A STARSHIP?!

I think the point is to defend movies that are not as bad as advertised.

Pretty much all of those movies earned what they got.

I'd be interested in seeing a defense of something underappreciated but NOT horrible, like Lost in Space or the TMNT movie. I'd add Galaxy Quest to that but it wasn't trashed by critics, just overlooked by a lot of people.

At any rate, I didn't really find too much wrong with TMNT, other than a movie aimed at children actually had children's dialogue in it (gasp!), but there were some great throwaway lines and the visual design was spectacular. BUT, since everyone grumbled about it and Imagi went out of business after Astro Boy (another not-horrible film), and despite the success of the new series on Nickelodeon, the next big-screen turtles appears headed for a Bay-produced assault on the senses featuring dudes in rubber suits again, completely abandoning the wonderful range of expression computer animation has brought to the characters.

Either way, I hope that, recent entries and title sequence notwithstanding, this is not going to be a series that invests most of its energy in the horror genre.

Saw Blair Witch 2, and I thought it was terrible. As for this episode there really wasn't much defending going on, to me it was basically "yeah it was a bad movie but it doesn't deserve as much flak as it has received."

I think Jim's first video was much better since it gave a genuine counter point to the popular belief that Alien 3 was a bad movie.

I always thought that the original Blair Witch wasn't a very good film. While they probably shouldn't have made a sequel at all, I can completely understand why the film makers went with a more traditional type of movie.

All the original really had going for it, was the gimmick that the events taking place were somehow real. Sure you could try to repeat that and essentially remake the first film (complete with more missing posters of the actors). The problem is that you'll ruin the suspension of disbelief and without that all, you're left with is a second bunch of teenagers swearing at each other and screaming at every little thing as they blindly tromp through the woods.

You know what's funny?

If you take this video and replace "Book of Shadows" with "Prometheus," "Blair Witch" with "Alien," and "horror" with "sci-fi," it works perfectly.

And that's all I have to say on the matter, since I've never seen Book of Shadows or The Blair Witch Project. (Though I am interested in seeing Blair Witch, since I've become addicted to Marble Hornets.)

Never seen either movie. Regardless I'm really enjoying this series!

Keep up the good work Jim!

I dunno Jim. I love this movie, but I love it BECAUSE it's so unintentionally hilarious.

I am sorry Jim, but this movie is bad, even when you take it on it's own, I mean do they even explain what the book of shadows is in this movie ? did I miss a scene ? and that "clever" plot twist adds even more confusion to the plot.

It has horrid editing, abysmal cinematography and incompetent acting, but I do agree it is not one of the worst movies ever made.

They made a second Blair Witch movie?

News to me.

Blunderboy:
I'd forgotten all about this film.
It's a shame Micheal couldn't bring Sam along, he's used to spooky happenings in the woods.

image

Darth Sea Bass:
Holy shit it's Michael Westen!

On that alone i may give it a chance!

I was shocked to recognise Jeffrey Donovan, too. I just might have to hunt down a copy of this film.

No, Jim, just... no

I saw this film, because I am a horror movie fan and as a result am damned for eternity to slog through the repulsive garbage that is easily three-quarters of films with the label 'horror' slapped on them and I absolutely despised this thing by the time I was finished with it. At times I was intrigued by hints of greater mysteries to be solved, only to be distracted time and again by sudden, jarring jump cuts to other scenes without context and performances that ran the gauntlet from 'acceptable' to 'irritating' and ended on a 'twist' that seemed lifted out of another certain filmaker whom shall not be named here lest it summon him back from the depths of the movie industry's version of purgatory.

But you know what? I respect you for sticking up for it, more so then Alien 3. So I'll tell you what:

If you can tell me, using only material found in the film itself, why this movie is called 'The Book of Shadows', I will snag it off Netflix and give it another watch.

And here I thought more people would be irritated about the delay between videos than the subject matter of this new one...

Back on the subject: Blair Witch 2 is one of those movies that suffers from the fact that the internet will only accept two types of films. "Best Ever" or "Irredeemable Garbage". It's not a revolutionary horror flick by any stretch of the imagination, and the quick release does give it the impression of a cynical cash grab. But it is a decent middle of the road horror movie, and certainly not the steaming pile that causes you to invent new profanities as you watch.

Thank you, Jim Sterling, for standing up for the misunderstood and the adequate.

/applaud

Even back in the day I liked book of shadows. It isnt something I would buy, but it made for a good rental.

Other thought: Being an entertainment/media/culture centric "magazine" Its about time the escapist added a featured video film review show. Always puzzled me why this genre was left without someone to review movies. Perhaps these arent recent films, but hey its a start amirite?

"It's a middle-of-the-road horror film" isn't much of a defence. Even the best horror films are still pretty bad, so I'm not sure why I'd want to see a middle-of-the-road one. There are too many good films out there to waste my time on this.

I'd also like to know who these people are who supposedly rant about how awful this film is and implore people not to see it. In my experience, most people just ignored this film, and it is met with an overwhelming "meh" and complete lack of interest, not hostility.

I saw this flick multiple times on cable as a teenager to see the brief nudity and every time it was quite lame and boring and didn't broach being scary or engaging at any point. However, I did watch it multiple times... that does qualify it as "watchable."

Michael Westen. I am ashamed to know that I will be moist watching a Blair Witch movie. Also, Sterling, I quite like the new show but, goddamn, the artwork in the opening is really very ugly.

I'm hoping these all won't be horror movies since that's a genre I generally don't care for. But I still enjoy the videos. I will say that the ending to this episode felt very... sudden. The last episode's would have as well without the little clip. It felt more like you were cut off rather than finished with the video.

Triaed:
Ooh, do Twilight!

Wait, wait, wait. You're asking Jim Fucking "thank God for him" Sterling to defend Twilight? What the hell man?! Are you trying to drive him to suicide?!

And Jim, you're going to have to step it up a notch (just a tiny notch is fine). As enjoyable as this episode was, your argument boiled it down to "it wasn't as bad as it could be/people were too harsh on it." Having never seen the movie, that may be a completely fair assessment of it, but that argument can be applied to just about any movie that doesn't have universal acclaim. Your Aliens 3 video gave us some real reasons to not hate it. I'm not foolish enough to think that choosing a movie to defend and then finding something about it that will make it shine in the light is an easy task to do every week, but if this is to be expected for your average quality, you may as well as not bother. The internet is already full of movie reviewers and people who love to rage on about rage. However, if you can bring it like you did with Aliens 3, there's no reason for your show to not thrive. There's not enough reviewers out there willing to say why something doesn't suck, an itemize each tangible facet of the movie that other viewers just flat-out ignored.

Given the FACT that the original Blairwitch Project was a Piece of Shit (yes, I watched it BACK THEN), I never cared for the sequel, understandably.

So given the FACT that BW2 has barely nothing to do with BW1, I might actually watch this.
Again, impressive work, Jim!

Inuprince:

trty00:
Jim, I love ya, and you make some good points, but I still hate this one. It's still crap in my eyes.

Totally agree with your post, the only good that came from this movie, was the Nostalgia Critic's review of it.

http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/thatguywiththeglasses/nostalgia-critic/32868-blair-witch-2-book-of-shadows

I recommend the review, even to those who haven't seen the sequel and just want to know what happens in it.

Ha ha, I was just totally going to link that here when I finished. Honestly, this movie is still pretty crappy, all things considered.

canadamus_prime:
Now if you ask me the first Blair Witch movie was a terrible movie. Of course I couldn't even get all the way through it without getting quezzy from the way the camera kept bobbing about. As for Blair Witch 2, well I've only seen snatches of it so I can't really pronounce judgment.

I agree, I hate movies with shaky camera. The movie might still be good, but it's so distracting to focus that it ruins it for me.

OT: I saw this movie when I was quite young so I don't really think I can judge the quality. I didn't find it terrible, but nor do I really think I understood it completely.

at least it wasnt as boring as the first one. damn, i nearly fell asleep. part 2 at least kept me awake. so yeah, its watchable but forgettable at the same time.

Well, the reason I've never given Blair Witch 2 a chance is because frankly, I hated the first one.

There's a difference between clearly telling that something is happening/something is there, but not explicitly telling us what (or just giving us glimpses of it) and letting our minds fill in the blanks (ex. a horror film that gets this concept right), and having absolutely nothing happen (or having something completely mundane/boring happen) and acting like it's a big deal (ex. The Blair Witch Project). You see, the "Nothing is Scarier" trope only works when you know something is there, or giving a sense that something could happen at any moment and yet it doesn't. My imagination isn't particularly lurched into a gripping dread of the unknown by a bunch of idiots freaking out over piles of neatly stacked rocks and twigs.

However, if this movie does cross over into the "so bad it's funny" category, I'll gladly watch it; I am a conniseur of terrible films, so to speak.
But if it's just a "decent, nothing special" horror film, like Jim said, well, I'm not interested.

I kinda, sorta agree that Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows wasn't that bad. It was a jarring shifting of direction when viewed as a sequel to Blair Witch Project. I don't think BW2 was very consistent with the idiotic mythology that BWP had built up around it which may have been another reason people hated it. I wouldn't know because I couldn't be bothered to soak up that bullshit. Christ but I'm jaded.

Taken on it's own merits, BW2 is not perfect. The opening is stupid where characters are literally introduced to us because, well, fuck you. I could see many people turning it off during that scene and never coming back. It has some creepy moments, but creepy moments do not a good horror story make. We're given a lot of disjointed imagery and situations that just don't add up to much. So the reveal at the end don't make no damned sense. Why should it when nothing else makes any damned sense?

Ultimately, it doesn't have anything to do with the Blair Witch and feels like it's namedropping when it references any of it. There is no book, shadowy or otherwise. It is a watchable time-waster. It's also a forgettable time-waster. Most you'll remember is Erica Leerhsen was naked and you still didn't get to see her tits. It is nice to see what the guy from Burn Notice was doing before that series.

i like the first blair witch movie but yeah the sequel is a crap blair witch movie but a fairly average horror movie in its own right. its one of those films you generaly missed at the time at the video store when they were first released and picked up months later and watched with your friends when you are looking for bad films late one friday night

Blunderboy:
I'd forgotten all about this film.
It's a shame Micheal couldn't bring Sam along, he's used to spooky happenings in the woods.

image

Ya'know, I've always thought the guy who plays Mike wasn't a great actor, but I had no idea...

Yeeeeah, no. Sorry, I know that these things usually boil down to the biggest general cop-out of our time, "It's a matter of opinion" but here I just have to say no. "Book of Shadows" (whatever that is, because there's no bloody book of anything in the movie) is plain and simple trite.
Personally, I never gave that much about the Blair Witch-Franchise in general and thus I only saw the original as well as this movie on TV after the entire hype already passed. And while Blair Witch Project was (in my eyes) massively overrated, it at least offered some consistency and - I have to admit - some pretty decent ideas as to how convey a certain helplessness when meddling with supernatural...things. As to how well these ideas were executed, I leave that to another discussion.

Book of Shadows on the other hand was just stupid and annoying, the characters were pretentious and unlikeable (and not in this horror movie "I'm looking forward to seeing them die" kind of way)and ignoring the whole Blair Witch-connection, which really isn't hard to do, doesn't help in the slightest, since the Blair Witch has nothing to do with the events in the movie, apart from being mentioned a few times.
Luckily, I don't have to go in depth with this since, as someone already pointed out on page 1, the Nostalgia Critic already did a review on this movie and no matter what you think of Doug Walker and his qualifications in general, he summarizes pretty well (almost) everything what's wrong with this turd.

And as far as that "It's not much worse than Final Destionation and other horror flicks of that time"-argument goes: Well, maybe it is time to face the ugly truth: Final Destination is an overrated trite, too. The premise is a giant plot hole in and of itself and the concept behind the movie(s) gets really old, really fast. The first movie was shite and it went only downhill from there as it became more and more apparant that the entire franchise was just a project of people with very weird fetishes who wanted to make a giant "How can you die in everyday life situations"-list....as a movie.

This week, the movie defense force decided to protect a 7 story pile of shit with a 50 cm-radius wooden shield.

Well, this little video here, partly, made me watch this movie.
In the end, I was pretty surprised. It's not a very good film, but compared to what can be compared to it, it's actually lovable. Story and pacing is very nice; camera follows the rules (nothing too great, but nothing wrong), characters/voices acceptable.
It was never (too) boring and eventually it feels like this movie was worth the time.
Thanks Jim, +1 to your credibility.

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