10 Best Found Footage Movies

The cinematic experience remains unparalleled and the collective act of attending the theater is sometimes just as important as the film itself. There is a healthy appetite for stylistic experiments that challenge both the medium and its audience. Found films have had their ups and downs over the years, but they’re still a type of film that filmmakers turn to and can sometimes yield huge results.



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It’s exciting to witness a new cinematic technique, and it’s not uncommon for a successful film to launch a slew of stylistic imitators. It can be much harder to find ways to excel through the confines of found footage cinema, but those that do can become enduring hits.

ten The Blair Witch Project helped popularize the ambitious genre

The found footage genre wouldn’t be what it is today without The Blair Witch Project, one of the greatest exercises in minimalism that used those lo-fi assets to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time. A group of college students travel to find answers about a local cryptid puts them in direct danger.

There are plenty of modern found footage films of exceptional quality and doing new things with the genre, but on some level none will ever resonate as loudly as The Blair Witch Projectwhich actually convinced some audiences that they were watching real footage and that real students had disappeared.

Matt Reeves is perhaps best known for revitalizing The Planet of the Apes as well as his brooding reimagining of DC’s Dark Knight, The Batman. However, none of these mainstream genre milestones would be possible without first subverting found footage and kaiju cinema with Cloverfield.

JJ Abrams mystery box cachet was all over the marketing for Cloverfieldbut Reeves’ film finds its strength in the way it takes something as universally cataclysmic as a Godzilla-esque attack on the city, but then presents it through the custom filter of a video camera. Cloverfield uses the medium to bring out the heart in this disaster epic.

8 Paranormal activity continues to define a generation of horror

The most successful found footage films are those that do a lot with a simple idea and never feel the need to get lost in artifice. paranormal activity begins with a relatable scenario where a couple begins to experience strange happenings in their home, prompting them to document their domestic lives.

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paranormal activity helped popularize the urban voyeuristic approach to found footage where anything from an Xbox Kinect can be a filming tool. The paranormal activity the films begin in such a humble and personal place that it’s pretty impressive that the franchise evolves into a messy time-traveling tale with witches, but one that feels oddly appropriate.

seven Creep and its sequel are uncomfortable character studies

Creep and creep 2 are technically categorized as horror movies, but they’re just as much psychological dramas that put a fascinating character under the microscope for two diverse but complementary experiences. Mark Duplass portrays a serial killer who has lost his luster in life and reached a midlife crisis over his position in his craft.

Duplass’ killer persona, as well as the targets documenting him, engage in endlessly interesting cat-and-mouse sessions where it’s never clear who has the upper hand or where the truth lies. They are disturbing proof of the darkness that reigns in the world.

6 Trollhunter is a calm and curious look at supernatural creatures

Norwegian filmmaker Andre Ovredal has become a more dominant voice in horror through films like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but all of his projects demonstrate excellence in creatures and practical effects. Suspension of disbelief is vital in most found films and Ovredal blurs the lines between fantasy and reality with the 2010s Troll Huntera found footage mockumentary that aims to capture real trolls on film.

Troll Hunter works as well as he does because of his loving and patient perspective. It really feels like a soothing nature documentary that just happens to focus on gigantic Norwegian beasts.

District 9 is a bit of a cheater when it comes to found movies, but he left such a significant mark on the sci-fi genre that it’s worth evoking his accomplishments. District 9 is a highly original take on the alien genre that functions as a thought-provoking commentary on xenophobia and freedom.

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Much of this transformative journey unfolds without the artifice of found footage, but there’s also an abundance of talking head interviews, surveillance footage and reportage that effectively blurs the lines and adds a touch of cinema verité to this science fiction story.

4 One Cut Of The Dead mixes gore and precision cinema

It’s always exciting when someone is able to do something new with the zombie genre. A cup of the dead is a recent hybrid of comedy and horror from Japan that turns into an endlessly self-aware affair. A group of independent filmmakers find themselves in a true zombie apocalypse as they try to film their own B-movie.

These opportunistic filmmakers attempt to capture that chaos and turn it into cinematic gold. In addition to the meta-concept, the entire film is captured under the auspices of being a single, uninterrupted shot. They may not be found footage in the truest sense, but they tell a story through “live” filmmaking.

3 The Dirties turns storyteller into subject through its unsettling black comedy

2013 dirt marks the feature directorial debut of Canadian filmmaker Matt Johnson, who also stars in dark comedy-turned-psychological drama. The film sheds light on the bullying to gradually turn into a terrifying case of an unreliable narrator who might just be the most dangerous character of the lot.

dirt seamlessly blends raw, real-life footage with carefully constructed improvised sequences that leave audiences feeling uncomfortably complicit on some level. The darkness of dirt is definitely not for everyone, but its ability to provoke speaks to the power of its message.

2 What We Do in the Shadows Presents a Supernatural Stereotype in Stunning Shades

The film and television industries are full of mockumentaries that playfully ridicule the constructed reality of documentaries. In this sense, none of these films are technically found films, as there is the implication that they were still heavily edited together and went through a less “raw” post-production phase than the standard affair. images found.

At the same time, movies like What we do in the shadows feature mockumentaries with intense production values, but still capture moments that feel natural and secretive. It’s more than just telling a story with a wonky cinematic style.

Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza [REC] is a Spanish horror film that helped rejuvenate the found footage genre in the late 2000s. The recycled film is set within the confines of a humble apartment complex, which quickly becomes ground zero for an infection fierce. [REC] keeps thinking about the use of his camera and how he really is the protagonist of the film.

There are certainly diminishing returns on the third and fourth [REC] movies, but the first two films work together as a connected narrative that pushes found footage and zombie cinema into bold places.

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