Let us all just be honest for a moment: Found footage films are losing their impact, and the recycling process has already begun for the sub-genre.
It’s a bit of a bummer, but there is an upside to these kinds of trends. When people start ripping off other people’s ideas, it forces everyone else to work particularly hard to create something that hasn’t been done yet. Finding these unique films isn’t easy, but we’ve got a list below that just might surprise, all the while reminding you that quality found footage has slowed to an extent, but there are still superb films out there.
#Screamers features arguably the greatest performances to be found in a handycam flick. The chemistry between both focal figures is brilliant, and every line feels entirely organic. So much so, in fact, that for the first 20 minutes I thought I was actually watching a documentary as opposed to a straightforward genre piece. Well, it is indeed a horror film, and while it takes a while to get to the big finale, there are some brilliant moments in the lead-up to said finale, and those moments are brilliant because the script is stimulating and gives fans plenty to study.
Be My Cat: A Film for Anne
I was fortunate enough to catch a handful of really impressive found footage films last year, but of all those strong flicks I found, nothing left me quite as disconcerted as Be My Cat: A Film for Anne. It’s as bare bones as it gets, and the idea behind the story is also very elementary. It’s not those things that shock, though; it’s one man’s portrayal of a genuinely psychotic individual dealing with a perverse degree of obsession and wielding a blade sharp enough to make his movie as real as it gets. There are a number of shots that will get to you, but prepare yourself for the chloroform sequence… it’s so damn real, it is paralyzing.
A twisted spin on those goofy home improvement shows, They’re Watching decides to do something that really hasn’t been done. The story starts off slow, as a small production crew head out to see a wonderfully renovated home. And that’s about the point at which things take that unexpected turn. The finale is basically all CGI, but the way the scene unfolds and the way the gore is used, it’s easy to forget you’re watching a silly movie. I couldn’t pick my jaw up off the floor for 10 minutes straight, and that says something.
Hell House LLC
Hell House LLC is probably the most frightening film on this list. Don’t get me wrong… every film on this list sports some serious scare factor, but this one is just so stuffed with eerie set pieces and camera trickery. It’s wild. There are a handful of jump scares included, but it’s not really the jump scares that are going to mess with you; it’s the often subtle but ridiculously creepy things that are going to have you shaking away a case or two of the goosebumps.
The Dark Tapes
The Dark Tapes utilizes a V/H/S format, essentially gifting us an anthology of the found footage variety. But this is no V/H/S (which I enjoyed, for the record); this is something significantly darker and often far more brutal. I won’t spoil it too much, as the flick is still riding the festival wave, but I will tell you this: Expect a lot of diversity from a super spirited little production.