This highly anticipated film, from the directors of The Hangover and Old School, was, in my eyes, the perfect pump-up for high school weekends. The plot follows high school students Thomas, Costa, and J.B., who are three friends that seek the key to popularity. Their plan is to throw a raving house party, which snowballs until it is out of their control.
The plot itself, although based on a true story, is mediocre and predictable. The humor was droll and cheap, especially when compared with similar crude humor in The Hangover or Old School. However, as the creators of this movie foresaw, the soundtrack, footage of alcohol and drug abuse, and gratuitous promotion of risky party antics are ideal for pleasing an audience of 12 to 25 years of age.
The way that it is filmed, made to look like a home video, is so detailed that you feel like you are actually attending the party. Living vicariously through the three protagonists, audience members are encouraged to indulge in the exhilaration felt by the actors as the chaos ensues.
In fact, many teenagers have been inspired to throw “ragers” of their own in attempts to mimic the Project X type party, making the comedic flop a horror movie for most parents.
Project X protagonists amidst party mayhem
Beginning with the more serious offenses, a Houston house party modeled after the flick resulted in a fatality. A group of teens made a facebook group and posted on twitter about a Project X event that would take place in an unoccupied mansion. Once the party started, over one thousand kids showed up. When the police came to break it up, someone pulled out a gun and began shooting. 18-year-old Ryan Spikes was killed.
Also in Texas, teenagers organized a party at an empty house recently put on the real estate market. The house was trashed, the entire interior destroyed. A private investigator was hired to find the culprits and stayed at the home the next night, hoping the teens would come back. Indeed they did, and once apprehended, they claimed the inspiration for their outrageous comportment was the party chronicled in Project X. 11 teenagers were charged with criminal trespassing.
The home in Houston where Ryan Spikes was shot to death at an imitation party.
A teenager from Florida, with similar inspiration, posted an invite via Youtube.com to a party in a foreclosed house outside Miami. In the video he appeared to have vandalized the property, spray painting the words “Project X” throughout the home. Police identified the man and arrested him in the next following days, before the party could occur.
In Michigan, a father was able to halt a party before it began. His son, Mikey, tweeted invitations to what he called “Project M” (sound familiar?) With further investigation into his twitter account, it was evident that the movie had influenced his unwise decision.
Something similar took place right here, in Scarsdale High School. A student was also feeling inspired by the film and decided that he, too, was going to throw a wild party. The event became known as “Project K” or “Project Cookies.” After multiple facebook pages and tweets about the function, High School staff and parents were notified and involved. The party did not go on and the house was guarded by multiple police cars that Friday evening.
Parties that attempt to imitate the movie translate into real life consequences.
Grossing more than $40 million at the box-office, Warner Bros Co. is quite content with its success. According to ABC News, when questioned about possible lawsuits, a representative commented, “Warner Brothers does not condone and strongly discourages anyone from attempting to imitate conduct portrayed by actors… during the filming of a motion picture.”
Overall, it is important to remember that as fun as the party seemed in theaters, real life has consequences. A word of advice: let Project X be the 88 minute escape that it was meant to be. The repercussions aren’t worth real life imitation.