Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 is the sequel to the 1999 hit indie film The Blair Witch Project, and it didn’t need to be. While I love The Blair Witch Project, you can send your hate to that statement to Donald J. Trump. The sequel is my favorite of the two. That hate can be sent to Mike Pence. But regardless if you agree with anything I am going to say in this essay I will stand by my assertion that if Blair Witch 2 had just been called Book of Shadows, it would have been more than a financial success. I expect, much like Halloween 3, it will be appreciated years after its release.
Our movie opens with the character of Jeff, played by the talented and devastatingly sexy Jeffery Donovan, as a mental patient at a creepy Silent Hillish Hospital in Maryland. Needless to say, this brief scene does it’s best to portray Jeff as bug fuck crazy.
Then we cut to the past.
I should mention right now that this movie treats the events of the first movie as if they really happened.
It’s suddenly 1999 and the world is riding high on the Blair Witch phenomenon. We are introduced to Stephen and his secretly pregnant wife Tristen they are researching the Blair Witch for a book, Erica the token sexy redheaded Wiccan, and Kim our goth psychic wannabe. Kim frankly irritates the piss out of me. I can only take so much of her shtick before I start praying the Witch gets her.
They are all in Birkitsville, Maryland on the Blair Witch Tour seeing all the sites from the movie. Their leader and guide is Jeff, the same Jeff from the movie opening, who’s apparently a paranormal investigator who has a ton of investigating equipment in his creepy rape van.
Our heroes make camp in the ruins of the Rustin Parr house, the crazy child killer from the first movie, and that is when the movie starts cooking. They run into and have a confrontation with another rival tour group who eventually leave our heroes in relative peace when our group tells them they saw something awful at Coffin Rock.
While Jeff sets up his monitoring equipment, the group proceeds to get incredibly drunk around the ubiquitous campfire. In all honesty, it looks like the actors were having a lot of fun filming this scene—I kinda wish I’d been there.
The next morning the group wakes with no memory of the night before and to find the campsite wrecked. All of Stephen and Tristen research material is destroyed, and Tristen’s discovers she’s bleeding and has miscarried her baby. Even though Jeff’s recording equipment has been destroyed they find his tapes unharmed in the same place the original Blair Witch footage was found.
After a brief trip to the Burkittsville Hospital to have Tristen examined and the first sighting of the witch, the group return’s to Jeff’s creepy murder house. And when I say Jeff lives in a creepy murder house I’m not fucking with you. The place was a 19th century broom factory now turned into a fortress of solitude complete with a paranoid number of security cameras.
The group decides to view all of the footage Jeff recorded at Parr’s, and they find large sections of the footage is gone except for one clip. It shows out little Wiccan naked dancing around a tree which she does not remember doing.
We were five miles outside Burkittsville when the mescaline kicked in. That’s what the second half of the movie is like one long drug trip filled with hallucination and creepy shock moments. Everyone experiences something paranormal, and it’s not confined just to the murder house. Goth Girl has a weird experience going for more beer because that’s what they need, more alcohol on top of the trippiness.
The next day Stephen, Tristen, and Kim decide to leave, but Erica is missing. They also learn via the county Sherriff that the other tour group was found disemboweled in the woods and the van is wrecked trapping them at the murder house. What follows next is a series of paranoid hallucinations ending with the group finding Erica’s body in the closet all freaky like she’d watched The Ring and Samara got her ass.
Jeff plays his damaged videotapes in reverse and we are treated some seriously freaky shit. The footage shows Tristen leading the group in satanic worship and a drunken orgy, followed by a subsequent ritual murder of the other tour group. Tristen says she didn’t kill Eric and remembered none of the things on the tapes. She ties a noose around her neck while the others beg her to stop, then she jumps hanging herself.
Our group has been arrested by the Sherrif and it’s revealed that Kim killed the assholes at the liquor store with her nail file. It’s also revealed the tapes show our group killing the other group at Coffin Rock. The videos in the murder house show Jeff killing Erica and Stephen hanging a hysterical Tristen from the rafters.
I love Book of Shadows and I couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks.