The Best Found Footage Of 2023

best found footage 2023

It was the year of lo-fi horror and found footage with Robbie Banfitch’s The Outwaters and Kyle Edward Ball’s Skinamarink dominating headlines earlier this year. But 2023 was truly a year for burgeoning found footage trends, including hybrid found footage and more screen-life horror. The subgenre is only getting better with age and it’s exciting to see it grow and mature with changing technology, as well as a renewed focus on nostalgia and old-school formats. Without further ado, these are the 10 best found footage horror films of 2023.

Greylock

With the viral success of series like The Mandela Catalogue and Local 58, analog horror is the newest sensation in the realm of found footage. Easy to make and distributed via YouTube, this new era of horror is all about lo-fi scares delivered through audio logs and world-building. One of the newest and best examples of how to do analog horror right is Greylock. So far, the series has 11 episodes that dive into the cosmic horror of an ancient entity and tulpas. Basically, if you loved The Empty Man, you’ll love Greylock. This is the perfect rabbit hole to fall down in the middle of the night with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

Horror In The High Desert 2: Minerva, dir. Dutch Marich

Dutch Marich took all of the notes from the first Horror In The High Desert and somehow made something even more terrifying with the second film. Here, Marich expands the lore established in the first film by showing how other people have experienced whatever things are living in the high desert. While there is almost too much lore going on at times, Marich knows how to craft a damn good scare, with several sequences in Minerva leaving me almost breathless. This is without a doubt one of 2023’s scariest movies and one of the best examples how just how damn scary found footage can be.

Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor, dir. Stephen Cognetti

Speaking about how scary found footage can be, Stephen Cogenetti brought us more Hell House LLC, but without returning to the Abaddon Hotel. This time, Cognetti is telling a new story, but still linked to the hotel and its sinister Satan-loving owner. Don’t worry, we still have those creepy clowns! But with Hell House LLC Origins, Cognetti goes back to basics to craft a damn good and creepy haunted house story without too many bells and whistles. Plus two out of our three main characters are queer women in a relationship that’s mostly very sweet and supportive, which I personally love to see in a subgenre dominated by couples who seem to hate each other.

Landlocked, dir. Paul Owens

So this is the first of two films on this list that are best categorized as hybrid found footage, which means they combine first-person POV with traditional narrative. I’ve waxed poetic before on how this is the future of the subgenre, so seeing more films like that in 2023 is exciting, to say the least. Here, Paul Owens takes the concept of literally finding footage to reveal the past.

Using his own home videos, Owens tells a tale of a young man returning home after the death of his father. He finds a camera that reveals his past and he becomes consumed with reliving the past and childhood memories. It’s haunting and a fascinating look at how to use the idea techniques of found footage to weave a complex tale about memory.

Malibu Horror Story, dir. Scott Slone

This is the second hybrid found footage entry on this list, as well as a found footage movie ten years in the making. What started as one movie expanded into a layered approach to how we consume true crime content. But most importantly, Malibu Horror Story is a time capsule of found footage history. From the core story about the missing boys to the YouTubers investigating the case, this film shows the evolution of the subgenre and how it has shifted with an ever-growing technological reality.

Marui Video, dir. Yoon Joon-Hyeong

This was a dark horse for 2023, sneaking onto my list at the last second as I stumbled upon it on iTunes. This Korean pseudo-documentary is a little bit of Lake Mungo, a little bit of Noroi: The Curse, and a dash of The Poughkeepsie Tapes, albeit with a shakier execution. Regardless, this paranormal rabbit hole that starts with a terrible murder and ends with something very different is worth seeking out. While there is almost too much information being thrown at you for its 90-minute runtime, Marui Video is still impressive and ambitious found footage trying to follow in the footsteps of its first-person POV forefathers.

Missing, dir. Nicholas D. Johnson and Will Merrick

From the team of Searching comes a new screen life horror film that tells the story of a young girl trying to find her mom who has gone missing while on vacation with her new boyfriend. Told exclusively through computer screens, we watch Storm Reid’s NAME piece together the mystery of what happened to her mother. It’s tense to say the least, and another testament to how evolving technology can be used to craft new kinds of horror.

The Outwaters, dir. Robbie Banfitch

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the characters after most found footage movies end, The Outwaters provides a hellish answer. With next to no budget and a ton of ambition, Robbie Banfitch crafts a cosmic horror nightmare where time means nothing and insanity sets in as characters are thrown through reality. Skin is torn, organs are removed, and heads quite literally roll. Plus there are tentacled beings that love to scream. It’s pure nightmare fuel in the best way possible.

V/H/S/85, dir. David Bruckner, Scott Derrickson, Gigi Saul Guerrero, Natasha Kermani, and Mike P. Nelson

I’d be a bad found footage fan if I didn’t include the latest installment of the V/H/S/ franchise on this list. This time, the film’s five directors tackle 1985, each bringing their own sense of danger to the era of camcorders and Reaganomics. The result is an incredibly cohesive and, honestly, deeply shocking anthology film that isn’t afraid to have a point of view. There’s a sense of danger in V/H/S/85 that I hadn’t yet experienced with the series. Each director is pushing the boundaries of found footage in ways that are exciting and hopefully further explored.

#chadgetstheaxe, dir. Travis Bible

If you only watch one found footage movie this year, I think #chadgetstheaxe is the one. I saw this because it is both incredibly entertaining and also the best example of influencer horror I’ve ever seen. Travis Bible really taps into how to make his influencer characters both incredibly vapid but also relatable. They aren’t just meant to be hated; they’re a bit more complicated than that. Plus, Bible poured a lot into making sure the live chat that’s constantly going on screen is always hysterical and engaging. Bible and team took the time to understand how people actually use the internet to create a cinematic experience that feels just like you’re on your phone, watching another weirdo risking his life for views.


2024 is only looking brighter for found footage! Films like Mind Body Spirit, Frogman, and Invoking Yell are hopefully getting wide releases, so keep an eye on Dread Central for any updates.

What was your favorite found footage horror film this year? Let us know on Twitter @DreadCentral!

Check out the rest of our Best of 2023 coverage here.

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