The Blair Witch Project

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Blair Witch Project Movie Poster Image
'90s horror movie isn't gory but is still terrifying.
  • R
  • 1999
  • 86 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 104 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

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 ways in which they were killed. 

Sex
Language

Frequent use of "f--k." "A--hole," "bulls--t," "s--t," "piss," "ass." The middle-finger gesture.

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. 

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 10, 2010

Vulgar, scary, and mostly dull

Despite the creepy, intense ending, this was a pretty unimpressive horror movie. If you want a good scare on hand-held camera, go with Quarantine. Parents: If y... Continue reading
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008

Is this supposed to be scary??

I get scared at horror movies. The Ring scared me. Halloween scared me. This movie did NOT scare me. It was hard to even see what was going on. It was like... Continue reading
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 ne... Continue reading
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

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?

This horror film is more conceptual art and marketing phenomenon than movie. Directors Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick drew from canny filmmakers such as 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 The Blair Witch Project , but kids who see it need to be capable of understanding that it's entirely manufactured and fictional.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the filmmaking techniques of The Blair Witch Project. 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

For kids who love being scared

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