Top 10 Found Footage Movies of All Time (Video Edition)
The fifth entry in the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise opens today marking another movie in the popular found footage sub-genre of films. What used to be a novelty has since grown into a full-fledged way of making films. Studios love them because they are cheap to make while amateur filmmakers can tell stories with limited film-making skills. The results are not always great, but there are ten that stand out amongst the rest as the best found footage movies ever made. If your favorite didn't make the cut, feel free to mention it in the Talk backs below.
Widely considered the template for found footage horror movies, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST is a gory and f*cked up nightmare of a movie. Not very well acted, the movie has become better known for select images from the movie rather than the movie itself. Still, compared to a lot of goofy horror movies these days, few pack as much of a punch as this one.
Barry Levinson's eco-horror movie plays like a found footage flick but instead carries with it a message of the importance of environmental conservation. Some of the shocks are well made and if you showed this to an unsuspecting viewer they may actually believe it was real.
One question always asked about found footage movies is why those in the stories continue to film despite what is going on. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY switched things up and plays using the security cameras installed in the homes of the victims, giving the movie an air of realism. After four entries, the series has still managed to pack an effective punch.
Who says horror is the only kind of story that works with found footage? The television series COPS proved that police can be an interesting subject and David Ayer puts that to the test with END OF WATCH. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a cop who gets involved with some very dangerous criminals. The action is brutal and the movie really feels like you are there as the bullets are flying.
Those crazy Norwegians took the found footage format and gave us an awesome action fantasy featuring the mythical monsters in various shapes and sizes. We are still scheduled to get an English remake of TROLLHUNTER, but I would highly recommend watching the original for some truly cool creature effects and a fun ride of a movie.
In this age of digital film-making, many forget the era of VHS tapes. The mysterious rectangles surely litter countless homes to this day and the movie V/H/S imagines what the horrible contents could be on those unmarked cassettes. Bringing together multiple directors for an anthology unlike any other, V/H/S pushes found footage to the limits of taste.
While CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST may have invented the found footage genre, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT brought it to the mainstream. As any horror aficionado will tell you, a movie can be a hundred times scarier by not showing you the monster but rather by hinting at what is just out of view. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT showed that with just some handheld cameras, a basic script, and a lot of imagination, you can make a truly scary movie.
Those crazy Belgians! MAN BITES DOG purports to be a documentary crew following the exploits of Ben, the craziest serial killer in Europe. What happens involves some of the most ruthless and cold-blooded explanations of how a murderer thinks that you could imagine put to film. Funny in a very dark way, MAN BITES DOG is one of the most controversial movies of all time.
J.J. Abrams name and a very mysterious teaser was all that was needed to sell audiences on this monster movie. Add in the unique take on a GODZILLA type creature destroying a major city and you have a unique film that divided audiences. Some loved only seeing the creature for a moment or two while others felt ripped off. In the end, CLOVERFIELD remains one of the trademarks of Abrams' marketing machine and a very original found footage film.
Take one genre out and swap another in and you get movie magic. Trading horror for superheroes, CHRONICLE is a brilliantly executed comic book movie that doesn't have roots in Marvel or DC. Screenwriter Max Landis and director Josh Trank create a convincing what if scenario featuring the birth of superheroes and villains. Trank and stars Dane DeHaan and Michael B. Jordan shot to success after this film showcased their talents.