In a world filled with so many genres of horror, the year 1999 kicked off a brand new subgenre known as “found footage.” Most found footage films involve characters with cameras either on their bodies or being carried by them in some form or another. They are often shaky or slow paced, and for some people, this type of filming delivers a shiver down their spines, including with them the realistic possibility that this could even remotely happen. To celebrate this subgenre, we have compiled a list of our Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films.
10. Alien Abduction – Incident in Lake County (1998)
Directed by Dean Alioto (The Genesis Files 2010), this film is generally unknown to most found footage fans. The storyline is pretty simple, following a boy who investigates what happened after a mysterious blackout who ends up meeting aliens. It’s filmed in documentary/found footage style, and is an older films that actually predates Blair Witch Project. Although it isn’t all that known, it is actually the movie that generally started it all, and thus starts our Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films.
9. The Last Broadcast (1998)
The Last Broadcast is generally a self explanatory film about four men prompted by an anonymous source, who go into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to hunt down the Jersey Devil and of course only one survives. It is definitely a great movie to view if your fascinated with legends and cryptozology. With some slow parts but all around a decent steady story line it is one of those films that are worth a watch on a stormy night. The film was written and directed by Lance Weiler (Head Trauma 2006) and Stefan Avalos (The True Legend of the Jersey Devil 1999).
8. Quarantine (2007)
The eighth film on our Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films list, Quarantine is the American adaption of the Spanish movie, [REC]. The film follows a reporter who goes to interview the night fire department and ends up following them on a distress call to an apartment building. From there, all Hell breaks loose. Directed and written by John Erick Dowdle (The Poughkeepsie Tapes 2009), this film is filled with the rabies infected, teeth-baring mutant monstrosities. It is, by far, one of the best found footage films aside from the original. It’s creepy, it’s shocking, it’s cringeworthy and most definitely scary.
7. Diary of the Dead (2007)
Diary of the Dead isn’t your usual run of the mill zombie film, and was directed by the genius George Romero. As portrayed in earlier films, people are dying, returning to life and attacking the living. This time, it focuses on a group of filmmakers armed with a camera in a documentary found footage type of atmosphere. The friends run into the usual problems that would come with this type of catastrophe, and of course, having to deal with flesh-eating zombies everywhere they turn. Although it’s a zombie film, and the genre is almost tired, Diary of the Dead adds a more authentic look to what life would be in a zombie apocalypse, making the undead scary once again.
6. Grave Encounters (2011)
Grave Encounters follows a group of paranormal investigators who decide to lock themselves up for the night in a abandoned psychiatric hospital. Hoping to catch evidence of the paranormal on camera, they explore different areas and immediately witness activity beyond anything they could have hoped to see. With its creepy effects and even more disturbing visuals, Grave Encounters is one of the best found footage films about the paranormal that I have ever seen. It is well shot and very well acted. Written and directed by The Vicious Brothers, Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz (It Stains the Sand Red 2016).
5. Cloverfield (2008)
You know the saying, “What you don’t see is scarier than what you do?” This portion of our Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films is an example of one of those kinds of movies. Following a large array of found footage films, Cloverfield is more documentary-style leading to found footage. The story is simple: a group of friends celebrating together until something starts ripping down New York City, causing chaos, damage and death. What that something is is never actually fully shown, but the damage it causes is irreparable. Cloverfield is a film that makes sit up in your seat and squint your eyes, pause your TV at the right moment, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it is with no luck. It is well filmed and highly praised as one of the best found footage films to exist to date. Directed by Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014).
4. Devils Pass (2013)
Based loosely off of real events, Devils Pass follows a group of hikers who venture into the Russian mountains hoping to solve the infamous Dyatlov Pass Incident. Unfortunately, they realize that they bit off more than they could chew as they begin to experience strange sounds and unexplained footprints outside their tents. The ending is climactic and a mind-bender, making you contemplate it for hours after it’s done. Another one of the favorites by all who have seen it, it won’t disappoint. Directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2 1990).
3. The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2009)
The Poughkeepsie Tapes follows investigators as they find a collection of films made by a serial killer. Each film shows just a piece of his decade long reign of terror and torture. The Poughkeepsie Tapes has so many scenes that make you cringe and shiver. The art of the film is so realistic and almost damaging… you can imagine that this really did happen. Each film is a art in itself, although not for the faint-hearted, and is a must see for any horror fan who is willing to go the extra mile for scares and shocks. An obvious choice for this Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films. Directed by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine 2007).
2. The St. Francisville Experiment (2000)
This found footage/documentary-style film follows four people who are all trained in the supernatural and their endeavor to investigate a haunted mansion. It’s one of those films where the history of the location is grisly and murderous. resulting in a haunting. Although educated in the supernatural, they are completely unprepared for the torture, horror and unspeakable violence that they will endure. It isn’t a popular film, but it is a great film, especially if you love the supernatural. Directed by Ted Nicolaou (TerrorVision 1986).
1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project is the last film on our Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films and is the one that essentially kicked off the genre we now know as found footage. This film follows three student filmmakers that go out into the woods near the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland, to camp and film a documentary about what is known as the Blair Witch. Although slow paced at first, the film eventually takes a turn when they are stalked by something in the woods, haunted by strange sounds and unexplained objects appearing around them when they wake up it eventually leads to a strange climactic ending which leaves you confused and anxious at the same time. With the realism of the film itself it drove many people to believe it was authentic and what followed after was a tirade of found footage films.
So, what do you think of our Top 10 Found Footage Horror Films? Did I miss anything? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!