The Blair Witch Project Movie Poster Image

The Blair Witch Project

(i)

 

'90s horror movie isn't gory but is still terrifying.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No positive messages. 

Positive role models

No real positive role models -- the three main characters descend into exhaustion, frustration, and overt fear as they begin to realize what is happening to them. 

Violence

While there is nowhere near the amount of gore and outright violence as in other horror movies, the psychological horror, as the characters slowly begin to realize what is happening, is intense. Some blood, a scene with what appears to be some of a character's internal body parts. Strongly implied murder. Stories of the murders of young people, and the gruesome way in which they were killed. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Frequent use of "f--k." "A--hole." "Bulls--t." "S--t." The middle finger gesture. "Piss." "Ass."

Consumerism

A "local" being interviewed for the "documentary" wears a hat with the Marlboro cigarette logo. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink beer and scotch and act drunk while hanging out in a hotel room. Frequent cigarette smoking. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 "found-footage" horror movie in which three film students attempt to film a documentary about the strange and terrifying murders that have taken place in some woods in rural Maryland. Groundbreaking for its time -- its use of handheld cameras "found" one year after the disappearance of the filmmakers caused quite a buzz upon its initial release -- the movie relies less on the outright blood, gore, and violence of so many horror movies and more on a psychological horror and tension that is slowly ratcheted up with each passing day and night of the characters' descent into the eerie terror that awaits them. There is a scene in which a bloody shirt, along with what appears to be a severed tongue and teeth, comes into view of one of the cameras, much to the horror of one of the characters filming. Some of the imagery, particularly at the end, is especially terrifying. Frequent use of "f--k." In one scene, characters act drunk while drinking beer and scotch in a hotel room. 

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?

QUALITY

The Blair Witch Project is more conceptual art and marketing phenomenon than movie. Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick drew from canny filmmakers like Val Lewton and Alfred Hitchcock -- people are much more scared by what they don't see than by what they do see. The filmmakers 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's fun to 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's 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 graphically scary in this movie, but kids who see it need to be capable of understanding that it's entirely manufactured and fictional.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

  • How does this movie compare to other horror movies? How does it contrast with horror movies that rely heavily on blood, gore, and scary music to create suspense? 

  • What do you think is the appeal of horror movies? Why do people enjoy feeling scared? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 30, 1999
DVD release date:October 22, 1999
Cast:Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams
Directors:Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez
Studio:Artisan Entertainment
Genre:Horror
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language

This review of The Blair Witch Project was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Gory zombie movie raises questions about media.
  • Tense monster movie is loud, hectic -- and scary.
  • Remake of Japanese horror film is terrifying and creepy.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byultra.kill4 June 12, 2010

Scary

okay, i havent actually seen the movie yet, but I'll tell you this. My dad is a tough guy. He went to see this movie in theaters, went out for a run the next morning, and came home early because he was so scared. If you want to be scaered, see this movie. ALTHOUGH, its the kind of movie thats only scray when you fell like your actually there. As I said before my dad saw it in theaters. If you plan to scare yourself, i reccomend you make a rule for your self that you watch in pitch black, with no brakes on a HUGE TV.
Kid, 9 years old December 21, 2010

watched it at 2am

jwilliams303 is wrong! it is real at the start it said this is a true story
Teen, 14 years old Written byEmilyB123 October 1, 2010
lots of repeated uses of the f word and the s word. Being in the woods in the dark unprotected and hearing one of your friends scream like they're being tortured aren't the best scenes for kids to watch. There is also a brief disturbing image at the end of the movie. I have to say, the way the movie ended kind of disturbed me too...but overall pretty good.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?