found footage
Still from The Blair Witch Project

Found-footage movies are really great! I know not every single reader out there will agree with me. In fact, the first time I saw a found-footage film, I was really astonished. I thought they are the type of film that every horror movie lover loves to watch. As years passed by, I discovered exactly the opposite.

Most people actually don’t like found-footage films; excluding Paranormal Activity.

What is Found Footage?

Let me define what found-footage movies really are since it will help you understand what I’m talking about if you’re not really so much into movies.

As Wikipedia puts it:

Found footage is a genre of film making, especially horror, in which all or a substantial part of a film is presented as discovered film or video recordings, often left behind by missing or dead protagonists. The events on screen are seen through the camera of one or more of the characters involved, who often speaks off screen. Filming may be done by the actors themselves as they recite their lines, and shaky camera work and naturalistic acting are often employed

I was Introduced to Found Footage..

The first time I watched a found-footage movie was a few years ago on HBO. It was named Quarantine. Later I found out that the movie was actually a remake of the original film named REC (I bet you know the word that appears next to the red dot in most video camera screens when filming).

found footage
Still from Quarantine.

The story of Quarantine was really awesome. It was full of tense not just because of the screenplay, but more because I had this feeling going on inside me that everything that I’m watching is real. I know that it’s not, but trust me, the screen was repeatedly fooling me into thinking that these things are real. I’ll write a review on Quarantine someday later.

The second found footage movie I watched was The Blair Witch Project. It’s an American psychological horror film (note the word, psychological) that tripped me into thinking that it was totally real! Or at least based on real events. This movie deserves an independent review so I’ll just stop spoiling the storyline and tell you that I didn’t repent any second of the movie.

At last, I began to wonder why I haven’t been watching Paranormal Activity lately. That is probably the most popular and successful film in found footage genre that has been lengthened to three sequels.

I don’t know why, I couldn’t watch Paranormal Activity because it seemed downright boring. My elder brother, who is also a movie lover, tells me that he put all his efforts into watching this film but after 30 mins of hard working (patience!) he had to finally give up. I agree with him. Paranormal Activity is boring. But all the other found footage films that I watched aren’t.

Found Footage on TV

Have you heard of the horror TV series named The River? If you haven’t, you should really look for it and see if. If you love horror movie at all, you will definitely love it and you will find your mind glued to it, literally. Not to mention, it’s a combination of regular footage and found footage filming. And I think they nailed it combining the both style of camera work.

To be clearer, at The River, you see not just found footage but also footages like they appear on most other films (I’d rather refer to them as normal camera work). The editors of the series have done an outstanding job mixing both types of entirely different camera work into a smooth and lively timeline that literally sticks your eyes on the screen and makes you use swear words when commercial breaks take place.

I think The River is no longer on air. I’m not residing in the U.S. so I don’t know if these TV series are telecast repeatedly. You may be able to find a DVD at local stores.

Back to the point

So, the whole point of this post was, do you like found footage-type films? If yes, let’s hug bro!

*Hugs* “Wanna drink something?”

But if you’re not a big fan of found footage movies, I’m really wondering is that because found footage camera work make you more scared? As far as I know, found footage is mainly used in horror movies where they fit the best. And the camera shake it provides to make the whole work look amateur ultimately makes things look more scary.

Please have no shy in confessing the fact that you dislike found footage movies because they scare the hell out of you!

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19 thoughts

  1. Interesting read! I think my favourite found footage films are The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity (first one the sequels are shockingly terrible) mainly because they were so believable, however the reason I’m not a huge fan of found footage is that I get dizzy when watching them because the camera is going all over the place XD


    1. That’s the thing that makes the entire movie look more realistic!

      By the way, can you name a few more found footage films that I can watch? 😀 Since you’re a movie-lover like me (your blog reflects), I bet you have some titles in mind? 🙂


      1. Have you seen Cloverfield? That’s a pretty good found footage one. Grave Encounters is pretty good (although the sequel is awful!), Emergo is one I watched recently, it was okay, but not great. Troll Hunter is amazing, its kind of funny as well. V/H/S is one everyone is raving about just now, it’s like a mixture of mini horror films caught on camera. Apollo 18 is one set on the moon which I really liked. Tape 407 is a very low budget film but I thought it was okay. There’s also The Devil Inside but I thought it was truly awful. Alien Origin was so so. Cannibal Holocaust is like the original found footage film, it got banned when it was first releasd, but I wasn’t impressed with it because they killed real animals on set!
        PHEW! They are the found footages films that I can think of that I have seen, hope that’s enough to keep you going 😀


        1. That’s definitely a whole lot of movies! You must be tired going to the theaters! 😉 (Unless you’re downloading off the Internet 😛 )

          I was thinking of watching Apollo 18 the other day but I was held back by most of those negative reviews on the web. But since you’re talking the otherwise I think I should take a look at it.

          I have Cannibal Holocaust at my hard drive but I don’t really feel like seeing it. The animal killings, although they are nothing compared to what I saw in the whole SAW series, kind of make me feel creepy. Possibly because I learned that these killings were real. 😕

          Thanks anyway. 🙂


  2. I’ve seen “Quarantine”, and I actually liked it! I can watch found footage movies but don’t always enjoy it simply because of the shaky cameras LOL. And also because most of the times they have open endings… in ways they resemble the short story… and I don’t like short stories -_-.


    1. The shaky cameras make the whole thing look like real. And for the record, short stories are actually harder to write than you think. Not saying I’m an Oscar-worthy writer 😛 But every time I try to write a story, I just can’t keep it short. That’s a very difficult art.


      1. Yeah I know! A short story isn’t simply a short story either, it’s meant to have a certain “direct effect” on the reader… and that is indeed extremely difficult to create! I do of course respect this fact, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the genre :P.


  3. I love horrors but I hate found footage movies because the shaky camera action makes me travel sick would you believe! Blair Witch was dreadful because of this despite the neat ending which I enjoyed. It wasn’t worth over an hour of feeling sick as a dog though. One film you didn’t mention was Cloverfield which, again, made me feel as sick as a dog and isn’t so much a horror as a sci-fi thriller but it comes close. Now this film I did consider worth the paracetamol and a lie-down I needed afterwards. I recommend it.


    1. Ha ha, you totally miss the point (and everyone who hates *because* of the shaky camera). Imagine you WERE at the Blair Witch Project and you were being chased by you know ghosts. Would you have a shaky camera (vision/eyesight through your eyes) or would you have a rather clear no-shaky eyesight? I think you can go out and run around a bit and compare that with the shaky camera you see on found footage films.

      The idea of found footage films are to give you a POV experience of actually being there with them. Now I know why you might not like it, but that makes me believe that found footage is not just your thing. 😛


      1. I don’t see him missing the point at all, I too hate the shaky camera work of found footage films leading me to dislike them in general. Yes, it’s true that were I in The Blair Witch Project I would be running for my life not giving two thoughts about what the camera is doing, but why can’t a ‘normal’ film do the same thing? Being a film student, and aspiring director I don’t see why I couldn’t make the ‘normal’ camerawork shakier whilst the characters are running, much like you see in a lot of chase scenes these days.

        And yes, found footage films are shot to almost replicate a POV and make us feel closer to the characters but why? Not for that reason, it’s because it’s a cheaper and easier way to shoot the film.

        Creating a connection between the audience and the characters should be done psychologically anyway, not physically, why would we want to have a character looking into the lens of the camera at an uncomfortably close distance, steaming up the lens with their breath?


  4. Why is it missing the point?! I’m fully aware of the idea but, at the end of the day, it still comes down to whether or not you find the actors convincing or not. Personally, with Blair Witch, I didn’t. That affects whether or not you can truly put yourself in that POV. For me, I put myself more in the place with something like The Shining than I ever did with Blair Witch.

    But you are right to say found footage is not my thing – but only because of the physical reaction I have to it. As I have already said, I loved Cloverfield. The idea of Found footage is fine – IF the film is good enough to warrant it.


    1. Well if the actors are not convincing, or the storyline for that matter, then it’s an entirely different case. You said you hate found footage films because of the shaky camera. That was a clear statement. To which I should say that’s just missing the point of the film/genre. 🙂


      1. How can you say I miss the point just because I find the style physically upsetting? I’ve already acknowledged that despite that issue there is one film I DID like in this style. I can see your point about the POV. I just don’t agree with it – especially with Blair Witch where, I also clearly said, the quality of the film wasn’t worth the queasiness. That’s not missing the point – its just not agreeing with it. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they can’t see your point. Its a little egocentric to suggest otherwise to be honest…


  5. I like it thanks !! my first found footage film was the Blair witch project and since then I’m hooked


  6. It’s most found footage movies are done as a way of side-stepping the need for talent or resources it would take to produce something watchable.


  7. Found footage movies sucks because it’s cheap and looks like something you would make in a school project. It’s totally boring, and I don’t understand why they keep on destroying great stories with this terrible “movie” style.


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