The ‘found footage’ subgenre of horror can be pretty hit and miss. While some films truly push the boundaries of terror, others fall by the wayside for their inferior editing, weak plots, and ‘me too, Blair Witch!’ mimicry. Well, the good news is we’re here to help you separate the gems from the missteps. So, without further ado, here’s our list of best found footage horror movies worth watching in 2018!
NOTE: NOPE!! We didn’t forget the more popular movies like The Blair Witch Project, the Paranormal Activity series, the [REC] / Quarantine franchises, Cannibal Holocaust, and Cloverfield. Instead, we’ve chosen to feature slightly lesser-known found footage horror films, just to give some much needed love to them.
In addition, we’re not found footage purists. So, we’ve decided to include some movies that weave together pseudo news clips, mockumentary shots, etc. – so long as the movie is primarily told from a found footage perspective.
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1. The Bay
Woefully underrated, The Bay is by far one of the best found footage horror movies released in recent years. The plot revolves around a group of researchers who travel to a small seaside town to investigate its alarming levels of toxicity. However, chaos ensues when they discover the place to be overrun by horrific mutants. An extremely unnerving and gripping film that’ll delight fans of the genre!
Two best friends set out on a wild trip to Paris, filming everything (as stars of found footage films tend to obsessively do). However, the fun soon turns into horror when one of the men finds himself afflicted by a mysterious condition that gives him both unusual supernatural powers and frightening ailments. A must-watch!
Mark Duplass puts in a standout performance in Creep – which is easily one of the best found footage horror movies released in the last few years. Videographer Aaron responds to a mysterious Craiglist ad from a man asking to be filmed for an entire day. The creep factor notches up as Aaron slowly discovers Josef – the man who placed the ad – isn’t quite right in the head. If you like this film, you may also want to check out the sequel, Creep 2.
Fans of Creep-type found footage films will also enjoy The Poughkeepsie Tapes – a disturbing film that chronicles the bloody spree of a serial killer, told from his first-hand perspective.
A big camping trip goes terribly wrong when a group of five friends find themselves hunted by a mysterious creature in the woods. Exists paces itself nicely with well-acted scenes that gradually crescendo into an all-out fight for survival. Fans of the film see Exists as one of the best creature-feature movies dedicated to a very specific urban legend.
Along the same lines, check out Willow Creek – although, in our opinion, Exists is the better film of the two.
Speaking of urban legends, you’ll definitely want to give Troll Hunter a go – by far among the best found footage horror movies about trolls (um… not that there’s much competition in that department, of course). It’s a foreign film – but seriously, subtitles aren’t a big deal for a movie this good.
5. Grave Encounters
We’re not usually big fans of ghost-themed found footage movies. However, Grave Encounters (and it’s sequel) are welcomed exceptions. The movie follows a crew of paranormal investigators who lock themselves in an infamous abandoned psychiatric hospital, all to collect footage for their reality TV program. As you’d expect, it isn’t long before things go terribly wrong when evil forces make themselves known. Now enjoying a cult following, Grave Encounters will terrify newcomers with its effective jump-scares and unsettling atmosphere. In our opinion, this movie is superior to most of the Paranormal Activity films.
You might also want to catch The Gallows – a lower-budget supernatural found footage horror movie that surpassed our initially low expectations.
6. The Sacrament
The Sacrament is by far one of the best found footage horror movies focused on cult-life-gone-bad. A team of documentary-makers pay a visit to Eden Parish, a seemingly tranquil, drug-free community who has taken in one of the crew member’s very own sister. Things seem perfect at first – that is, until a few dissenting cult members start to reveal the scary truth behind their all-powerful leader. The Sacrament is a slow-burn film in all the right ways, making good use of footage footage techniques to tell a frightful story of brainwashing and false worship.
7. The Visit
Seriously, don’t be alarmed by M. Night Shyamalan’s name here. The Visit is actually a solid and intense found footage horror film that tells the story of two siblings who pay a visit to their grandparents. However, the kids soon realize that their supposedly loving relatives aren’t quite who they seem to be. The Visit leaves you guessing as to what’s really happening, keeping you on the edge of your seat to the very end.
8. They’re Watching
From the writers of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Spongebob Squarepants (yes, you heard us), They’re Watching surprised us by being one of the best found footage horror movies we’ve seen in a while. Equal parts funny and disturbing, this film follows a reality TV home-makeover crew to the small-town of Moldova to meet an American woman who has chosen to live there as a recluse. However, everything starts to unravel when the team crosses paths with the superstitious locals. They’re Watching will appeal to genre fans who don’t mind their horror mixed in with a little bit of over-the-top hilarity.
9. Alien Abduction
IFC Midnight has a knack for releasing some of the better quality found footage gems in recent years. Alien Abduction is no exception. The movie treks a family out on a camping trip when they encounter – you guessed it – aliens (well, that escalated quickly). A scary hunt begins as each family member fights to escape the clutches of their interstellar predators.
You may also want to check out The Gracefield Incident – another alien-themed found footage horror flick worth checking out (although that camera-eye is kinda silly).
Another lesser-known alien-themed movie is Unaware, which showcases some surprisingly competent acting, albeit coupled with somewhat questionable pacing. Still, it’s hard to top the scariness of an alien squatter in a barn.
10. V / H / S
Anthology films are pretty common for this subgenre. However, V/H/S still ranks as one of the best found footage horror movies of its kind. Obviously, as with any anthology, some short flicks are going to be better than others. Nonetheless, on the whole, V/H/S – and its sequels – is packed with a glorious amount of horror about camping trips gone wrong, murderous stalkers, aliens, and so much more. Splendid stuff!
Fan of found footage anthologies? Try The Dark Tapes. To us, it’s not nearly as good as V/H/S but is still worth a one-time watch.
More best found footage horror movies await you! Check out Page 2 –>
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