Ive always admired how Found Footage gives indie filmmakers the opportunity to craft legitimately scary movies without breaking the bank. Not only does this underappreciated sub-genre allow for experimentation and intimate thrills, but it also stands out by constantly reinventing itself as modern media continues to evolve.
Mockumentaries and simulated home movies can still be an effective way of framing horror stories, but weve seen quite a few Found Footage oddities since The Blair Witch Project first came on the scene. From faux livestreams to fake Reality TV shows and social media recordings, the sky is the limit when it comes to these movies, and thats why weve come up with this list of Six of the Most Unique Found Footage Films.
The movies on this list arent all masterpieces, but they all engage with Found Footage in an innovative way, either through a unique approach to storytelling or with how they justify why these events are being recorded in the first place. As usual, this isnt a comprehensive list of all the strangest Found Footage flicks out there, so dont forget to share your own favorites with us in the comments below.
Now, onto the list
6. My Little Eye (2002)
Featuring an online game show that challenges contestants to isolate themselves for six months in order to win a million dollars, My Little Eyes premise admittedly feels a little quaint in a Covid world. However, the movie stands out by telling an alarmingly prescient story about the moral implications of Reality entertainment and how far people would go for a prize.
With Big-Brother-inspired camera placement and an eerie, voyeuristic narrative, My Little Eye is an underseen early 2000s gem that only works so well because of its commitment to the Reality format. The home video release even includes interactive cameras, making you feel like youre actually spying on these ill-fated contestants.
On a side note, the film also features one of Bradley Coopers first movie roles. His appearance is a little immersion-breaking, but you cant fault the filmmakers for failing to predict the actors eventual rise to stardom. If you feel like tackling more Reality TV horrors, Id also recommend Daniel Minahans underrated Series 7: The Contenders!
5. Livescream (2018)
With the insane amount of internet urban legends describing cursed videogames, I find it surprising that they dont show up very often in horror movies. Michelle Iannantuonos Livescream is one of the few exceptions, taking a dive into the world of livestreaming as one unlucky player is forced to complete a supposedly haunted game.
Brilliantly taking advantage of modern gaming conventions and internet urban legends, the movie also boasts some brisk pacing and a short but sweet runtime. This guarantees that you wont get tired of watching what amounts to an extended lets play, though the low budget keeps the film from reaching the heights of other famous desktop thrillers.
Even so, Livescream earns its place on this list by proving that Found Footage can work even in cyberspace, though Id still love to see a sequel expand on its spooky ideas.
4. Sickhouse (2016)
George Romero once compared Found Footage to live theater when discussing Diary of the Deads long, uninterrupted takes. While theres a lot of truth in that comparison, Hannah Macphersons Sickhouse takes this concept to the next level by being the first horror film shot live on Snapchat, with the actors improvising most of their lines in an unusual haunted-house flick.
The story itself may be a little bare-bones, following a group of teenagers as they document their spooky exploration of the titular haunted cabin, but its the films innovative production that really sets it apart from other Found Footage movies.
Shot in the vertical aspect ratio inherent to most mobile devices, this is one scary movie that would probably be best enjoyed on a smartphone while hiding under the bedcovers. Just dont let David Lynch catch you watching it like that.
3. August Underground (2001)
Horror media has always been fascinated with Snuff films, with some creators even attempting to simulate these supposedly real depictions of graphic violence. While this extreme kind of horror isnt for everyone, theres no denying the visceral scares of films like Fred Vogels controversial August Underground.
Shot on VHS for added grittiness, this neo-exploitation flick chronicles the depraved exploits of a serial killer and his anonymous accomplice. The film may be light on story, but its realistic tone and nonchalant depictions of horrific imagery make it one of the most disturbing movies of all-time. The director was even arrested when bringing copies of the film to a Canadian horror convention, with authorities suspecting that the tapes contained real obscene material.
If lo-fi simulated murder sounds like your thing, Vogel also produced two sequels, though I wouldnt be surprised if viewers are put on some kind of government watchlist after purchasing them.
2. The Dirties (2013)
From the cartoony antics of Nirvanna the Band the Show to the conspiratorial rabbit hole of Operation Avalanche, Matt Johnson is one of the most versatile filmmakers of the Great White North. In 2013, he directed and starred in The Dirties, a controversial high-school flick about a couple of film-obsessed friends who want to strike back at the students who bullied them.
School shootings may be a sensitive subject when it comes to North-American media, but The Dirties somehow manages to be both a sincere coming-of-age story as well as a horrific look at how societal neglect can create monsters where we least expect them. The film is also notable for its unorthodox production, forgoing a traditional script and using real documentary techniques to create a realistic High-School environment.
It may be tough to watch at times, but I think The Dirties is a rare example of a Found Footage movie that balances both its dramatic and horrific elements perfectly.
1. WNUF Halloween Special (2013)
Found Footage films usually attempt to simulate reality in order to make their scares hit closer to home. Presenting itself as a bootleg recording of a real 1987 TV broadcast, the infamous WNUF Halloween Special is an incredibly entertaining exception to this rule. While its still fairly creepy, this odd little production focuses more on recreating a nostalgic collage of 80s television than being a proper scary movie.
Mostly directed by Chris LaMartina (there are actually six more directing credits, plus 11 writing ones), the Special is exceptionally convincing in its simulation of retro programming. From the Satanic Panic to sensationalist journalism and silly commercials, the film doesnt just feel authentic, it also feels strangely comforting.
With the Halloween season finally upon us, I think its time for more horror fans to dig up this highly unorthodox take on Found Footage storytelling. Even if youve already seen it, the WNUF Halloween Special also makes for great background programming during seasonal celebrations.
- One of 2021's best scary movies is now available to watch at home - JOE.ie - January 9th, 2022
- Katt Williams Once Claimed That No One Really Liked Him on the Set of 'Scary Movie 5' - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - January 9th, 2022
- New Scream Video Features Gale Weathers Reporting On The Original Woodsboro Murders - CinemaBlend - January 9th, 2022
- Is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark 2 officially confirmed? - HITC - January 9th, 2022
- What's on TV Saturday: 'The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard' on HBO; Austin City Limits' on PBS - Los Angeles Times - January 9th, 2022
- Sidney Poitier paved the path for black actors in Hollywood - The Tribune India - January 9th, 2022
- What's on TV Thursday, January 6: 'Ghosts' on CBS - Los Angeles Times - January 9th, 2022
- Whats on TV this week: Macbeth, Euphoria & more - Boston Herald - January 9th, 2022
- Red Rocket Movie Increased 94% at Box Office This Weekend - The Nerd Stash - January 9th, 2022
- Worldwide Box Office Climbed 78% In 2021 To $21.4 Billion Amid Covid Flux As Spider-Man Brought The Year Home: Global Studio Rankings - Deadline - January 9th, 2022
- What's on TV Wednesday: 'Next Level Chef,' 'Amazing Race' - Los Angeles Times - January 9th, 2022
- Movies on TV this week 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' on TCM - Los Angeles Times - January 9th, 2022
- Archive 81, Wolf Like Me, and more streaming trailers to watch - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - January 9th, 2022
- The New 'Scream' Is Dedicated to Wes Craven - ScreenCrush - December 27th, 2021
- The 10 Best Horror Movies of 2021 - Rolling Stone - December 27th, 2021
- Stream It Or Skip It: The Scary of Sixty-First on VOD, a Taboo-Busting Throwback Thriller That Tackles Jeffrey Epstein Conspiracy Theories - Decider - December 27th, 2021
- 7 Movie Franchises That Should Have Stopped With A Trilogy - FandomWire - December 27th, 2021
- The 20 best Matrix references in other movies and TV shows - GamesRadar+ - December 27th, 2021
- The 11 best books we've read in 2021 - Greenville Journal - December 27th, 2021
- Best scary movies 2021: 15 of the best horror films ever, ranked by number of jump scares - The Scotsman - December 27th, 2021
- Movies on TV this week: 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' - Los Angeles Times - December 27th, 2021
- The Harry Potter star that all the child actors were scared of on set including Rupert Grint and Tom Felton - My London - December 27th, 2021
- Scary Movie V (2013) - IMDb - December 14th, 2021
- Every Movie Spoofed in the Scary Movie Franchise - December 14th, 2021
- Best Christmas movie 2021: 10 alternative Christmas films to watch over the festive season - The Scotsman - December 14th, 2021
- 5 movies, TV shows to snuggle up to over winter break - The Daily Orange - December 14th, 2021
- 'The Scary of Sixty-First': The horror of Jeffrey Epstein - AIPT - December 14th, 2021
- Corey Taylor Stars in the Official Trailer for Horror-Thriller 'Rucker' - Loudwire - December 14th, 2021
- Oklahoma's 'Soderbergh of the Sticks' scares up 'nunsploitation' with new movie 'Agnes' - Oklahoman.com - December 14th, 2021
- The Old School Animation Technique that Makes The Shining So Scary - Film School Rejects - December 14th, 2021
- The Hills Have Eyes 3 Possible Release Date of This Horror Film - Alpha News Call - December 14th, 2021
- Here's the Scary Trailer For AN UNQUIET GRAVE - Available on VOD, Digital HD and DVD January 18th - We Are Movie Geeks - December 14th, 2021
- The 20 Best Comedies of 2021 - Paste - Paste Magazine - December 14th, 2021
- The most fun movies of 2021 - Polygon - December 14th, 2021
- A logical look at the subjectivity of speech - MIT News - December 14th, 2021
- Riddler Unmasks the Truth About Bruce Wayne in New The Batman Trailer - ComicBook.com - December 14th, 2021
- REVIEW: 'The Unforgivable' is a gritty film about trauma at a young age and being haunted by the past - UNCW Seahawk - December 14th, 2021
- Movies on TV this week: 'In the Heat of the Night' Cinemax - Los Angeles Times - December 14th, 2021
- "Dopamine Nation": Why pain is crucial in an era of easy pleasures - Big Think - December 14th, 2021
- The best albums of 2021 - The New Statesman - December 14th, 2021
- Chhorii and beyond, why are Hindi filmmakers afraid of horror movies? - The Indian Express - November 29th, 2021
- When Is a Horror Movie Not a Horror Movie? - The New York Times - November 29th, 2021
- 12 Terrifying Horror Movie Families To Spend Thanksgiving With - GameSpot - November 29th, 2021
- 'Mom' and 'Scary Movie' star turns 45, plus more celebs with milestone birthdays in November 2021 - Wonderwall - November 29th, 2021
- 25+ Best Movies About Adoption That Show All Families Dont Look the Same - Scary Mommy - November 29th, 2021
- Who is in the cast of Kevin Harts True Story?... - The Sun - November 29th, 2021
- A Minute With: 'Shepherd' actor and director on the horror film - Reuters - November 29th, 2021
- Close out the year in movies with Spider-Man, The Matrix, and a slew of Oscar hopefuls - The A.V. Club - November 29th, 2021
- do you know who his ex-wife is? She is a much loved actress - D1SoftballNews.com - November 29th, 2021
- Movies on TV this week: 'Casablanca' TCM 'The Godfather' TMC - Los Angeles Times - November 29th, 2021
- Exclusive: Aitch Talks Popularity in College, His Success Over The Past 2 Years & Upcoming Album - theknockturnal.com - November 29th, 2021
- A Full Month Of Giving Thanks - Monticello News - November 29th, 2021
- Celebrities Who Got Married This Year - Goss.ie - November 29th, 2021
- Jed Blaugrund | 'Last Night in Soho' is swinging and scary - Santa Clarita Valley Signal - November 13th, 2021
- Billy Summers: 'Antlers' provides true scares on the big screen - Huntington Herald Dispatch - November 13th, 2021
- Tori Spelling: It's hard to admit to needing help with raising children - Tyler Morning Telegraph - November 13th, 2021
- Simon Rex Doesnt Want to Be That Guy Anymore - Vulture - November 13th, 2021
- Midnight Run 2 Is Happening with Robert De Niro and Regina Hall - MovieWeb - November 13th, 2021
- The horror film Quentin Tarantino called "one of the greatest movies ever made" - Far Out Magazine - November 13th, 2021
- New horror movies 2021: every big scary film coming to theaters and streamers - TechRadar - November 13th, 2021
- Reader Radar: The World Series of Scary Movies - National Association of Plan Advisors - November 2nd, 2021
- Updated Scary Movies for People with Anxiety and Depression - The New Yorker - November 2nd, 2021
- Opinion: Santa Cruz and Scary Movies - Good Times Weekly - November 2nd, 2021
- Here are the top-grossing scary movies of the last 20 Halloweens - WGHP FOX8 Greensboro - November 2nd, 2021
- Not ready to end the scary-movie season? 'Roh' is just what you need - KMUW - November 2nd, 2021
- Halloween: 5 scary movies that will send chills down your spine - KIRO Seattle - November 2nd, 2021
- Scary movies should have cathartic endings | Opinion | breezejmu.org - The Breeze - November 2nd, 2021
- 6 Purely Terrifying Ghost Movies That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - November 2nd, 2021
- The best scary movies on TV over the Halloween weekend - JOE.ie - November 2nd, 2021
- Scary Godmother Is a Halloween Nostalgiafest - Vulture - November 2nd, 2021
- Halloween 2021: Scariest horror ever according to science revealed - Metro.co.uk - November 2nd, 2021
- Fear is fun (for some of us): Why we're drawn to horror and scary movies - Stars and Stripes - November 2nd, 2021
- Are these the 13 scariest movie cars of all time? | ClassicCars.com Journal - The ClassicCars.com Journal - November 2nd, 2021
- Stream and scream with these free scary movies, series on iWantTFC for Halloween - Manila Bulletin - November 2nd, 2021
- IMO: 'The Haunting Of Hill House' is a Perfect Scary Series - knue.com - November 2nd, 2021
- Horror movies Netflix UK: 10 of the best horror movies on the popular streaming platform - The Scotsman - November 2nd, 2021
- 2 scary movies open Oct. 29 at Seattle-area theaters, just in time for Halloween - Walla Walla Union-Bulletin - November 2nd, 2021
- The 31 Scariest Movie Scenes Ever - /Film - October 20th, 2021
- In the Mood for a Scary Movie? Here Are 12 That Are Set in DC. - Washingtonian - October 20th, 2021
- Halloween parades, scary movies, and other spooky activities happening this week - PennLive - October 20th, 2021
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero