The Blair Witch Project
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that tolerance for scariness is highly individual, and, especially for teens and younger kids, highly suggestible. In concrete terms, there's nothing really scary in this movie, and parents who don't object to profanity should not have a problem with allowing a kid who really wants to see it to give it a try. They should make sure that those who do see it know -- promotional tricks to the contrary -- that it is entirely manufactured and fictional.
What's the story?
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is simply summarized: three film students go into the woods to make a movie about a local legend and never come home. A year later, their footage is found, and what we see is supposed to be what they left behind. Knowing the end from the beginning, the audience is left with 70 minutes of growing dread as the three students become increasingly more panicky and the events turn increasingly more creepy. Then it is over.
Is it any good?
The Blair Witch Project is more conceptual art and marketing phenomenon than movie. Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick drew from canny film- makers like Val Lewton and Alfred Hitchcock -- people are much more scared by what they don't see than by what they do see. The film-makers made a virtue of having no budget for special effects, and left everything to the audience's grisly imagination. Like some sort of cinematic Rorschach test, as we watch this movie, we are each scared by whatever lurks in our subconscious.
Teenagers have always loved scary movies. On one level, they provide peer bonding -- you have to be friends with someone you grabbed in a moment of terror and it is fun have that shared experience. On another level, there is something cathartic for teenagers about seeing this graphic representation of an uncontrollable id on the loose. It is important for parents to remember that tolerance for scariness is highly individual, and, especially for teens and younger kids, highly suggestible. In concrete terms, there is nothing really scary in this movie, but kids who see it need to be capable of getting that it is entirely manufactured and fictional.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the filmmaking techniques of this movie. Did it feel real to you, and do you think other stories would work in this filmmaking technique?