If you want to understand the current climate, you’re going to have to dig into people’s need for Safety.
If you want to do that, you’ll have to explore what it is they’re afraid of.
If you want to get to grips with that, you could do worse than look at a film like the Blair Witch Project.
And maybe think about some of the following:
The pitch - “In October of 1994 three student film makers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found.”
The protagonists - two men and a woman.
The antagonist - the Blair Witch, never seen.
The reasons to believe - a young girl who went missing in 1888 who, when found, talked of “an old woman whose feet never touched the ground”, five men found ritualistically murdered in the 19th century whose bodies then disappeared, a hermit who kidnapped seven children in the 1940’s, supposedly killing them on the orders of the witch.
The style - found footage, handheld cameras.
The script - improvised.
The setting - woods, mainly at night.
The tension - twigs snapping, map lost, stick figures hanging from trees, going round in a circle, equipment covered in slime.
The escalation - something shakes their tent, one of them runs off, they hear his screams, they discover bits of his shirt and body.
The internal crisis - the woman records a message apologizing to her family and those of her two friends, “I’m scared to close my eyes, I’m scared to open them”.
The climax - they follow the screams into an abandoned house, they’re attacked, the man drops his camera, the woman screams, her camera captures the man standing in the corner (which the hermit allegedly made the children do), the still-unseen enemy attacks her, she drops her camera, the footage ends.
The marketing strategy - play on whether the story is made-up or real
The line - “Everything you’ve heard is true”.
The target - people who secretly like being scared.
The tactics - fake news interviews, actors posing as police, requests for information on ‘missing’ students, main actors listed in their profiles as “missing, presumed dead”, childhood photos of them circulated.
The medium - the Internet.
Not saying there’s an analogy here or anything, but…