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10 Found Footage Horror Movies That Are Actually Scary

Found Footage Horror Movies

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Remember when the infusion of found footage into movies was fresh and inventive, especially when it came to found footage horror? Now the genre is so utterly saturated with the sixth-going-on-seventh Paranormal Activity movie that it seems to have lost its impact. (Even IFC’s new series Documentary Now is getting in on the found footage game.)

To prove that this sub-genre of horror was actually scary at one time or another — and it still can be — here’s a rundown of some truly spine-tingly found-footage films. (Warning: Some of these films are scarily NSFW.) And don’t forget to catch Quarantine airing this month on IFC.

1. The Blair Witch Project

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Before everyone was capturing footage of ghosts and demons with their Vines and Snapchats, the Blair Witch Project sparked a horror movie revolution. It may not have been the very first found footage film, but it was basically The Exorcist of the genre. The value of the sequels, especially Book of Shadows, is up for debate, but nothing will compare to the horrific intimacy of a group of budding filmmakers freaking out in the woods.


2. Paranormal Activity

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There’s a reason why the Paranormal Activity franchise became so popular and spawned six movies, including one spin-off: it’s freaky as hell. Looking through the lenses of various security cameras set up around the house, we see — and are even a part of — the poltergeist that haunts, possesses and slaughters the innocents of the house. The sequels may have gotten progressively gorier with their scares, but nothing compares to the fear sweats we received from the original.


3. Afflicted

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Afflicted may look like another spin on the Chronicle treatment —- a found footage film about individuals who develop strange abilities -— but there’s a horrific twist that makes it unique. We won’t spoil the big secret here, though you can probably figure it out from the GIF above, but at the end of the day the found-footage factor adds an extra layer of intensity to the proceedings.


4. [REC]

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[Rec] is a 2007 Spanish film told through camera footage from a television crew, so it makes sense that they would be filming everything in the name of journalism. The story follows a TV reporter and her cameraman as they accompany emergency workers into a building and are quickly locked inside with the horror within.


5. V/H/S

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The twisty “Amateur Night,” is just one of the many vignettes of V/H/S, a compilation of horror shorts. As if the sadistic stories weren’t terrifying enough, the found-footage aspect sees these monsters staring directly into your soul.


6. The Bay

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It’s no shocker that the horror genre quickly became oversaturated with zombie movies, but The Bay was a new take on a (pardon the pun) decaying genre. A small seaside town in Maryland is at the center of an ecological disaster that turns people into rabid killing machines. One of the more unconventional aspects of the film lies in the found footage, which draws from a mixture of footage from a TV cameraman, confessions from an inexperienced reporter and footage from oceanographers.


7. Unfriended

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If you said a year ago that a horror movie that takes place entirely on a computer screen would be freaky, let alone good, you would’ve been laughed off the Internet. But Unfriended put a new spin on the found-footage format by telling a ghostly tale through computer screens. In doing so, it also modernizes the genre, reminding even the hipster tweenie boppers of the world that they won’t live forever.


8. The Sacrament

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Filmmaker Ti West is an ace at making stories we’ve heard countless times before seem new and freaky. The Sacrament tells the tale of a crazy cult leader gathering his followers for a mass suicide, only we’re seeing it through the lens of a two-man news crew. The new format makes us, somehow, believe we have the power to change the outcome, which makes the rude awakening at the end even more chilling.


9. The Last Exorcism

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Taken out of context, this move from The Last Exorcism looks like it could mesh well with the “Watch Me Nae Nae” music video. When considered within the larger context of the hit film The Last Exorcism, it brings back fond memories of the fear-induced sweat trickling down the nape of your neck. Possession and exorcism seem to naturally mesh well with the found footage format, but this film set itself apart when bathing in the intimate moments between priest, possessed and possessor.


10. The Curse

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Some of the most f-ed up horror has come out of Japan. (The Grudge? Need we say more?) The Curse, aka Noroi, took a Blair Witch-style approach in telling the story through camera footage of a paranormal investigator/documentarian who disappeared while making a movie called The Curse. There were also mockumentary elements thrown in there, but the malevolent spirit that comes a’haunting brings the fear factor. And there’s nothing freakier than watching a person’s last minutes alive on camera.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.