I’ve seen 50 found footage films. Here’s my mini-takes on these films. The five best are marked with stars. To hear Amy discuss her favorites with Eric and Mike, check out Episode XVII of the Scariest Things Podcast!
8213: Gacy House – A group of paranormal investigators try to communicate with John Wayne Gacy. You know it’s bad when a movie can’t even competently ripoff a $15k budget movie.
Absence – Postpartum wife acts weirder and weirder on vacation. One of the strongest examples of “why are they still recording?” Not very good.
Afflicted – While traveling, one of two friends comes down with a mysterious disease. I love this movie because I felt that it took unexpected directions and I was worried about the characters’ fates.
Always Watching – A knock-off Slenderman stalks a news team. I’ve not yet seen Slenderman done justice in film form; this poorly acted low-budget flick is no exception.
Apocalypse Cult – A film crew visits a cult. I always feel so bad for the film crew in cult movies. It would be really hard not to interfere when it’s really fucking obvious that it’s just some sicko pervert preying on women. This wasn’t well received but I felt it was pretty solid.
Apollo 18 – Astronauts that don’t have quarantine procedures find alien life on the moon. Would make a great sedative if it wasn’t so frustrating watching the smartest that earth has to offer act like idiots.
As Above So Below – Explorers go below the streets of Paris in search of a supernatural MacGuffin. The first production authorized by the French government to shoot in the Paris catacombs. Obviously, the sets are the biggest draw of this movie, but the rest is pretty watchable too.
Atrocious – A family vacation that includes a hella spooky labyrinth. Pretty solid movie. Effective location. Decent actors.
Bay, The – A disease erupts on the Chesapeake Bay. If you find news reports scary, this movie is for you! Zzzz.
★Behind the Mask- A documentary crew follows the next big name in terror. This barely counts in this genre. To be honest, it’s too good for this genre.
★Blair Witch Project – Three teens leave on a documentary expedition into the woods and never return. The granddaddy of found footage. Quite polarizing, but my favorite.
Chernobyl Diaries – College kids decide to visit Chernobyl despite an unwelcome reception. Creepy filming location, with lame baddies.
★Cloverfield – A giant monster attacks New York. So cool. This is the Godzilla movie I’ve always wanted. The camerawork will annoy the fuck out of people that don’t like found footage because of the shaky cam.
Creep – A creepy guy pays a cameraman to film him. Honestly, I’ve seen worse bronies.
Den, The – a woman stumbles upon a snuff website. One of those lame “larger conspiracy” flicks. Meh.
Devil Inside, The – A woman seeking to understand her institutionalized mother explores the possibilities of demonic possession. Slow with a lot of jump scares. Not very good.
Devil’s Due – A wife is pregnant with something unholy. I love the juxtaposition in the trailer, which I watched to help jog my memory of this one. It kind of did. I don’t think this one really stands out to me.
Devil’s Pass – A group of students travels to the Dyatlov Pass to investigate the eponymous incident. I didn’t like this movie the first time I watched it. I snickered at the “twist.” Then, as the days passed, it started to get under my skin. Perhaps it’s just the historical tie-in that makes it effective for me, but this one lingered.
Diary of the Dead – Romero zombies with shaky cam.
Exists – Campers are hunted by Bigfoot. Oddly, not even the best Bigfoot shaky cam movie. Disappointing since this was made by Blair Witch maker Eduardo Sanchez.
Extraterrestrial – This time the cabin in the woods monster is an alien. Rape trigger warning.
Final Prayer – The Vatican investigates a miracle claim. This was a surprisingly good movie. It played well with sound and took directions I didn’t expect.
Frankenstein Theory, The – A documentary film crew go searching for the true story behind Frankenstein. I wanted to like this because it has Kris Lemche, but as usual, he was just a shiny actor diamond in a turd.
Gallows, The – Twenty years after an accidental hanging during a school play, students start dying. If there was a cookie cutter shaped like a found footage movie, it would be this one. It is a soulless cash grab.
★Grave Encounters – A group of TV paranormal investigators go into a spooky condemned mental hospital. Has some cliches and some unique elements, but it’s well-acted and definitely worth the watch.
Hollows Grove – Paranormal investigators check out a condemned orphanage. Watch out for ghost children! They like rolling balls and shit. Hey! It’s Lance Henrickson!
Hollow – A British knock-off of Blair Witch. This one has a tree that makes people bitchy. I think. It was kind of hard to see in the dark.
Home Movie – Evil kids. It was kind of fun, to be honest.
Houses October Built, The – A group of friends go in search of the most fucked up haunted house of them all! Unfortunately, this is one time that the shaky cam really worked against it. Once the characters are in the houses, it’s just too darn hard to tell what’s going on. I would love to see this re-worked. It has a sequel – perhaps that has better camera/sound work?
June 9 – A group of kids plays pranks on a small community. Some parts are genuinely creepy and the rest are either annoying or boring. Apparently, there is a plot twist after the credits which I missed.
Lake Mungo – A teenage girl drowns and her family seeks to understand the circumstances that lead up to her death. /r/horror really loves this one but I found it dull as fuck.
Last Broadcast, The – A film crew wants to find the Jersey Devil. The first found footage film. If you think that Blair Witch was low-budget, wait til you see this one.
Last Exorcism, The – A skeptical priest has to decide whether a girl is possessed or just really flexible. Some good visuals, a decent addition to the possession sub-genre.
Megan is Missing – A teenager goes missing after talking to someone online. Seemed like a lame stranger danger PSA to me.
Mr. Jones – A couple finds that they are neighbors to an eccentric artist. Like Babadook, the best part of this flick is a prop. I totally want one of those sculptures.
My Little Eye – Big Brother with a dark twist. Cheesy and a bit dated, but fun.
Noroi – A documentary filmmaker explores a demonic phenomenon. I don’t think this movie would be as well-received if it was made in America instead of Japan.
Paranormal Activity – A home security camera captures the haunting of a wealthy Californian couple. Either really effective or really silly for viewers since the bulk of the “shocking” parts involve things like a door opening on its own. Like it or love it, it was innovative and a money pinata. It cost $15k to make and pulled in over $193 million.
Possession of Michael King, The – A man sets out to get possessed. Interesting idea that I’d like to see repeated. Poor acting, heavy reliance on jump scares.
Poughkeepsie Tapes, The – A documentary of the killer behind a collection of snuff films. Always felt like it was about to get going but never really did.
★REC/Quarantine – A reporter following a group of firemen on a call becomes trapped in a quarantine situation in an apartment building. Fucking intense. I really recommend watching the making of the video – they created a 15k sq. ft apartment for the shooting and would rehearse all day in order to get everything in one take.
Sacrament, The – A man takes a film crew to a cult to find his sister. Disturbing for its Jim Jones similarities. Good acting.
Taking of Deborah Logan – A film crew follows around an elderly woman to show the symptoms of Alzheimer’s but shit gets way weirder. This movie was just so sad. Alzheimer’s sucks. And even as things that are on the supernatural edge started happening, I still just felt so bad for the old woman. Worth the watch though.
They’re Watching – A home improvement reality show crew really sparks the interest of the locals. This movie changes fucking genres in the third act. God, it gets really really stupid. Another movie with Kris Lemche. Also, had the added bonus of Brigid Brannagh whom folks won’t remember for her role on the short-lived Kindred: The Embraced.
To Jennifer – A boyfriend and his friends take a road trip to confront his cheating long-distance girlfriend. A twist ending is seen roughly 800 miles away and every woman treated as a sex object. Shot on an iPhone. Would have worked better as a short film.
Troll Hunter – A film crew follows a troll hunter. This movie rocks. Seriously. Watch it. It’s fun.
The Tunnel – A news crew heads underground to find out why construction has stopped on a subway passage; the succeed. Nicely claustrophobic and interesting.
Unfriended – On the anniversary of their friend’s death, a person with her name pops up in a group chat and wants to play a deadly game. Could have been good, but the deaths were poorly executed and all the characters were just such assholes. Oh, and also, the reason for the revenge is one of the most ridiculous things ever.
VHS – An anthology of shaky cam vids: Why you shouldn’t pick up chicks in bars, why you shouldn’t go into the woods, why you shouldn’t trust doctors, why you shouldn’t go to haunted houses, and why some films can only be made if they’re part of an anthology. All the VHS series’ segments are mixed bags.
Willow Creek – A couple goes backpacking to find Bigfoot. This one copied a bit too heavily from Blair Witch. A lot of running and screaming in tents and through forests.