Nine essential found footage horror films, according to Entertainment Weekly
Found footage is audiovisual material that is presented outside of its original context, which is usually found in archives or home movies.
Found footage can be used as a source of “truth” (news or documentary films), as a tool for art (collage films composed of found footage from different sources), as a method of preservation (recycling of found footage) or as an element of the audiovisual language to create the illusion of “seeing something real” (false documentaries).
Horror films sometimes also resort to false found footage to create the illusion of seeing something real and better achieve their goal of frightening the viewer. Some unmissable examples, according to Entertainment Weekly, are these nine films:
The Devil’s Doorway (2018, dir. Aislinn Clarke)
Two Vatican priests visit a convent where they film with their 16mm cameras rituals and demonic possessions. It all begins when Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton are sent by the Holy See to this Irish convent, which welcomes prostitutes, orphans, mentally unstable women and single mothers, to investigate the mysterious report of a statue of the Virgin Mary that apparently bleed
Lake Mungo (2008, dir. Joel Anderson)
An anguished mother calls the police because her daughter has disappeared while she was swimming. The bad news does not take long to confirm; Little Alice is dead. However, her parents and her brother Matthew are determined to bring the girl back to life. The mother seeks psychic help by calling the radio and Matthew clings to his video camera thinking that the images will reveal the presence of his sister.
Creep (2014, dir. Patrick Brice)
Desperate to get money, Aaron accepts a job that promises a thousand dollars a day to participate in a shoot. In a cabin lost in the forest he will meet Josef, the man of the movie he must film. As the day progresses, things will get complicated.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980, dir. Ruggero Deodato)
Four young documentary filmmakers enter the Amazon jungle, in the heart of South America, to document the tribes that live in that region, because rumors say they still practice cannibalism. Due to the disappearance of the reporters, two months later a rescue group is sent to find out what happened to them; the only thing they find is the material filmed about their terrible end.
The Blair Witch Proyect (1999, dir. Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez)
On October 21, 1994, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard and Michael Williams entered a Maryland forest to shoot a documentary about a local legend: “The Blair Witch.” No one saw them again. A year later, the camera with which they shot was found, where the terrifying events that led to their disappearance were kept.
The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014, dir. Adam Robitel)
Deborah Logan, an elderly woman diagnosed with Alhzeimer, and her daughter Sarah, agree to open the doors of their home to a television crew to make a documentary about the development of this disease, but soon begin to raise questions about what really It’s happening to Mrs. Logan.
REC (2007, dir. Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza)
Every night Angela, a young reporter from a local television station, follows with her camera to a different group of professionals. One night she has to interview the firemen and has the secret hope of being able to record live a shocking fire. The night passes peacefully when, suddenly, they receive the call of an old woman who has been locked in her house. She has no choice but to follow them during the rescue mission. In the building where the old woman lives, the neighbors are very scared. It is only the beginning of a long nightmare.
Grave Encounters (2011, dir. Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz)
A team of ghost hunters who shoot inside an abandoned psychiatric hospital, where for years inexplicable phenomena have been reported. The building is cursed and has no intention of letting them out of there alive. They will soon question their own sanity and discover the truth behind the dark hospital.
VHS 2 (2013, dirs. Simon Barrett, Adam Wingard, Eduardo Sánchez, Gregg Hale, Gareth Evans, Timo Tjahjanto, Jason Eisener)
Sequel of V/H/S (2012). Looking for a missing student, two private investigators break into a house where they find a collection of VHS tapes. When they see the horrible contents of each tape, they realize that there may be dark reasons behind the disappearance of the student.