Bill Gordon looks through his DVD collection and lists:
Found Footage/Faux Documentary films you might not have seen… BUT SHOULD SEE
If you look at our lists of top 50 horror movies you’ll probably notice that right at the top in the number one spot in my list is ‘The Blair Witch Project’. ‘Blair Witch’ is probably one of the best well known Found Footage films, despite not being the first. The sub-genre is now all dried up and overused, but amongst the piles of the overused concept and head-spinning nausea there are some hidden gems.
Directed by Fernando Barreda Luna
‘Atrocious’ is a Spanish language horror that tells the story of two teenage siblings that endure a terrifying experience while investigating a rural legend near their family’s vacation home.
Many times during ‘Atrocious’ you will probably start to feel quite dizzy and sick due to the shaky cam. However, if you can overcome the shaky cam what you will find is a chilling and scary Found Footage gem. There are jumps, scares and twists that let your imagination run wild. You will no doubt be somewhat unsettled by the films final image and disturbed by everything else before.
Exhibit A (2007)
Directed by Dom Rotheroe
‘Exhibit A’ is a psychological drama/thriller/horror about a family falling apart under the stress of financial issues, eventually driven to the unimaginable. The film is all told through the lens of the daughters camera.
‘Exhibit A’ relates a lot to the stories in the media that involve similar events. It is a real world setting and in result feels extremely real. You are left feeling uncomfortable and disturbed, but despite all of that, ‘Exhibit A’ is a unique horror that has to be seen.
Lake Mungo (2008)
Directed by Joel Anderson
‘Lake Mungo’ is an Australian supernatural drama/Faux Documentary about a families grief towards the death of sixteen year-old daughter/sister, Alice Palmer. I can’t recommend ‘Lake Mungo’ enough, it is an extremely realistic and chilling Faux Documentary. If you were to come across this randomly on TV, you would probably believe it was a real documentary… well, that is until you press the info button on the remote. ‘Lake Mungo’ is powerful and emotional with some distressing imagery. It is also one of the best Faux Documentaries around.
Evil Things (2009)
Directed by Dominic Perez
On January 9th, 2009, five college students left New York City for a weekend in the country. 48 hours later, all five students had vanished without a trace.
‘Evil Things’ can only be described as ‘Blair Witch’ meets ‘Ils’ (Them). It effectively focuses on what you hear rather than what you see, and it really works. There is so much mystery about it, so much you don’t know, that you can’t help but scare yourself just thinking about it.
The acting is surprisingly decent, with one cast member letting them down. The script feels improvised which often adds humour and makes you forget that it is a fictional film.
It’s best you stay during the credits, as it is bound to keep you awake for weeks. The scares aren’t just in the film but the special features too, giving you a lot of reasons to lock up your house and sleep with one eye open.
I bought ‘Evil Things’ as a spur of the moment purchase because it was cheap; it is now one of my favourite Found Footage films.
Directed by Howie Askins
Ryan is making a documentary about his friend camping for the first time. However, once they begin camping, they realise they are not the only ones in the woods.
Why should you watch ‘Evidence’? Because it is bat-sh*t crazy! That’s why!
What starts off as a simple monster movie, evolves into something else entirely… and the strange part is that it works! You probably won’t predict much of what is to come, so go in blind and enjoy. ‘Evidence’ is an imaginative Found Footage movie that rolls out into a thunderous climax.
A Night in the Woods (2011)
Directed by Richard Parry
Brody, his girlfriend Kerry and their friend Leo go hiking in Dartmoor’s Wistman’s Woods, which has a legendary haunted past. The night is eventually greeted by a brutal turn of events.
Ah… Dartmoor. Dartmoor is a second home to me, I have been going there since I was a child. I have visited Wistman’s Woods and heard all the ghost stories in Dartmoor, so I was clearly excited about this film.
First of all, the acting in this film is superb. With words and without, all three cast members show tension, hidden secrets, paranoia and fear.
Again, this focuses a lot on what you don’t see, and it is extremely effective. You can’t trust anyone, you feel isolated and alone. It is essentially a British remake of ‘The Blair Witch Project’.
Unfortunately, they don’t use the location to its full potential, as it has so much more to offer. But nevertheless, ‘A Night in the Woods’ is a decent attempt and really should be seen.
Having been to those woods myself, I can tell you now that the atmosphere shrouding the area isn’t pleasant.
The Tunnel (2011)
Directed by Carlo Ledesma
‘The Tunnel’ is an Australia Found Footage/Faux Documentary horror that follows an investigation into a government cover-up in a network of abandoned train tunnels beneath the heart of Sydney.
‘The Tunnel’ takes quite a bit of inspiration from films like ‘[REC]’ in a few scenes. However, the mystery shrouding the whole film makes it feel fresh. The fact it is a “documentary” takes away the missing persons gimmick. ‘The Tunnel’ has gripping and intense moments along with scares that are brought to you via paranoia. Unfortunately the alternative ending to the film was a lot more effective compared to the chosen ending… but I guess they have to lead it into a sequel somehow.
‘The Tunnel’ is another great Australian horror that you should add to your collection.
Noroi: The Curse (2005)
Directed by Kôji Shiraishi
A documentary filmmaker explores seemingly unrelated paranormal incidents connected by the legend of an ancient demon called the “kagutaba.”
The Japanese are known for some pretty decent horror films, for example; ‘Ring’, ‘The Grudge’ and ‘Dark Water’ etc. Imagine all those Japanese curse-related films… but as a Found Footage horror. The film feels overlong (especially for a Found Footage/Faux Documentary movie), but there are a lot of nice ideas and creepy imagery to keep you going.
Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
Directed by Scott Glosserman
‘Behind The Mask’ is a mockumentary horror satire. A documentary crew have access to the life of the next great psycho slasher. They begin to document the day to day life of Leslie Vernon and how he prepares himself for the massacres he participates in.
‘Behind The Mask’ is a hilarious, intelligent and inventive take on both the Faux Documentary sub-genre and the Slasher sub-genre. It is well thought out and plays everything by the book. It’s unfortunate that the kickstarter campaign for the sequel didn’t get off the ground, because ‘Behind The Mask’ is gold. If you haven’t seen this film… see it now.
The Last Broadcast (1998)
Directed by Stefan Avalos & Lance Weiler
Before ‘The Blair Witch Project’ there was ‘The Last Broadcast’. A local filmmaker examines extensive footage found at the scene of the disappearance of a local TV crew that ventured into the woods looking for the mythical and horrifying Jersey Devil.
This film is in my DVD collection, however I personally HATE this film. It starts off as an effective and scary Faux Documentary. It’s the mystery of the whole film that delivers the scares. Despite some bad acting, it feels real. However, the ending of this film I personally found to be so bad that it ruined the whole first three quarters of the film. However, there is also a lot of love out there for ‘The Last Broadcast’, so I put it in this list to let you decide. As I said, the first three quarters of this film is a decent and chilling Faux Documentary. There will always be those who prefer either ‘The Last Broadcast’ or ‘The Blair Witch’; I personally prefer ‘The Blair Witch’.
So there it is. If you feel I have missed anything feel free to comment below! Despite my negativity toward ‘The Last Broadcast’, I respect all those who do like it. This is my personal opinion and not that of Haddonfield Horror.
An honourable mention goes towards ‘Re-Cut’ (2010), ‘The Lost Coast Tapes’ (2012) and ‘The Poughkeepsie Tapes’ (2007).
P.S. If you HAVE seen all of these… I am sorry for doubting you.
Follow Bill on Twitter: @2FlashGordon7