10 Great Found-Footage Horror Movies

Dark bleetings, kids! Around the time of the first Paranormal Activity, I became obsessed with found footage horror. I was recovering at home from a whooooole bunch of surgery and maybe it’s because I was feeling helpless, but this subgenre in particular was really scary to me. Of course, with the success of certain films, the movie market quickly became swamped with copycats, and then we all went through a sort of fatigue. However, I’ve never stopped loving these types of films, so here (in no particular order) are 10 of my favourites!

A group of film students go out into some spooky woods to make a documentary about the local legend of a witch, and never return, but their footage was recovered… behold the horror!

I just thought I’d get this one out of the way first, as we all know it was bound to be on here. It’s not the first ever found footage movie, but it’s for sure the one that brought this style into popular culture. Yes, there are some weird plot holes (why is there that thread about a kidnapper?), and no, it’s not perfect. However, if you like this format, it’s quite natural and believable, and the tension amps up nicely into what I think is a satisfying end.

When a team of explorers venture into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.

Claustrophobic, spooky, and very disorientating – this one had me clutching the cat, so tense was I. She tried to wriggle away but I was alone in the house and needed her for comfort. I’ve only seen it once and it was years ago but it’s burned into my memory.

Six friends hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong.

This one isn’t even a full hour so it’s great if you don’t have a lot of spare time to get good and scared. The entire thing is a one-take Zoom call, and I was thoroughly impressed with the ingenuity. 2020 was a weird year for us all, and this film is like a little time capsule of the past. With demons.

Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.

I don’t want to say what the affliction is because discovering this was the best part of the movie for me, but needless to say, it takes a turn. Found footage usually deals with ghosts or real-world murder, so this is a breath of fresh air and offers something different.

A journalist following a fire crew ends up trapped inside an apartment building, quarantined by the authorities, while something scary as f*** rampages inside.

This has never budged from my Top 10. It was my favourite movie of all for a short while, because I’d never seen a found footage film like it. Quarantine, the English language remake exists, and even though it’s almost a shot-for-shot duplication, I’d still say go with Rec. It’s not without its faults, but it’s a great time. Also, Rec. 2 is awesome, so go ahead and binge them both.

For their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might prove to be all too true.

I do love a good ‘debunking gone wrong’ plot, and this doesn’t disappoint. There are some of your typical stretchy mouth ghost scares, and then some other more quiet and subtle ones. Overall, a scary watch.

Alice, an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself.

Okay, I’m cheating with this one as it’s not really found footage. However, there are a lot of on-screen scenes and I think I can just about get away with squeezing it in here. I loved the protagonist and was completely invested in the plot, and dare I say, there’s some social commentary here too!

Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents’ disturbing behavior while visiting them on vacation.

I know a lot of people laugh at certain scenes from this one but honestly, I watched it home alone in the dark and I was scared. It’s creepy at the least, and gets really scary now and then. I will say, I wasn’t a fan of the ending, but that did little to hamper my enjoyment because this is Shyamalan, after all. I half-expected to eye roll at the ending.

What starts as a group of teenagers documenting some changes they’re going through quickly escalates into something that could destroy… well… everything.

I love this movie. It came before everything of a similar ilk that we’re currently enjoying.

An evangelical minister sets out to prove that faith healings and exorcisms are fake, by exposing his own lies and selecting a troubled family at random to prove it. Things go awry.

I love love love this film. Even the tiniest hint of the devil, and I’m in! The characters and performances are great, the plot is gripping, and it’s really unsettling. They keep you guessing about what’s really going on in such a fun way. I wholeheartedly recommend this one if you’re in the mood for some good horror!

Honourable mentions: Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, Peeping Tom, The Fourth Kind, and What We Do In The Shadows (the latter of which I would have included if it wasn’t so clearly a comedy and not a horror!).

What kind of list do you want next? Zombies? Vampires? Clowns? Let me know!

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