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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


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


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


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]


[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


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


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


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


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


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


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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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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