‘The Walk’: Vomit-Inducing Film Sickens Movie-Goers, Causes Extreme Feeling Of Vertigo

Christian Savoy - Author

Oct. 2 2015, Updated 3:00 a.m. ET

The Walk, a film directed by Robert Zemeckis which tells the story of Philippe Petit’s famous tightrope walk between the World Trade Center Towers, is reportedly making movie-goers vomit. And when we say vomit, we mean this literally. According to the New York Post, there have been several incidences of people vomiting while watching the movie in 3D.

Regarding the matter, Journalist Mark Harris sent out the following tweet.

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“Reports of guys vomiting in the Alice Tully men’s rm post-The Walk: True. Witnessed it/came close. Bad visual trigger for vertigo sufferers.”

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The Walk is based on the story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit, who walked on a cable connected to the WTC Towers in 1974. The film was shot in 3D, which makes the high-altitude scenes seem very real for viewers — so much so that movie-goers in theaters across the nation have literally vomited.

The press screening for the film was this past weekend and based on the tweets and testimonies from people who saw the move in theaters, a lot of movie-goers reported feeling physically ill.

“Right behind us, there’s a 50-foot drop, which is hilarious for this type of movie where we’re on top of towers the whole time — and this is the most petrified I’ve ever been in my entire life,” comedian Ben Schwartz jokingly admitted during The Walk press conference.

Speaking with reporters, director Robert Zemeckis discussed the film’s vertigo-inducing scenes during the Saturday morning press screening. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Zemeckis began developing the film after reading the children’s book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, which led him to secure the rights to the story. He said he had been actively looking for material that lends itself to 3D specifically as a storytelling tool, the publication wrote.

“I thought it had all the elements to make a compelling movie,” Zemeckis explained, “that lets you in to see what all the real characters were thinking.”

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“The thing I always wanted to do was present the walk itself, and of course that can’t be done in the documentary because there’s no video footage of the walk ever recorded. … The goal was to evoke the feeling of vertigo. We worked really hard to put the audience up on those towers and on the wire,” he said.

Well, mission accomplished.

Zemeckis, who is an avid supporter of 3D Digital Cinema, has plenty of experience with 3D movies (AChristmas Carol, Beowulf), and wanted this film to feel real to the audience.

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There is a scientific reason why some people feel sick after watching a 3D movie, and it has to do with our eyes. According to a 2013 study, dizziness (vertigo) is caused by disturbances of the inner ear and the balance centers of the brain. According to the Mayo Clinic, your sense of balance depends on the combined input from the various parts of your sensory system. Vertigo is the false sense that your surroundings are spinning or moving. With inner ear disorders, your brain receives signals from the inner ear that aren’t consistent with what your eyes and sensory nerves are receiving. Vertigo is what results as your brain works to sort out the confusion.

So, now you know. If you go to the theater to see The Walk, it would probably be a good idea to take a bag with you.

[Image via YouTube]


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