9. The Haunting In The Woods - The Blair Witch Project
Since its murky origins with Italian horror icon Ruggero Deodato’s mythically brutal and morally questionable Cannibal Holocaust, the found footage genre has strived to capture the sort of raw, “real” terror every entry on this list elicited from its stars.
Nowadays the trope is all-but played out, waning in popularity as another trend takes over the genre (hello, “elevated horror’, whatever you actually are). Between big screen efforts like Cloverfield giving the game away and a string of duds from Megan Is Missing to the Paranormal Activity sequels giving the style a bad name, it’s hard to remember a time when found footage fatigue had yet to take hold.
But back in 1999 The Blair Witch Project was a tremendous shock to the system for American horror filmmaking, taking home millions despite a shoestring budget and inspiring more imitators (and parodies) than any genre outing in recent memory.
This success owed largely to the filmmakers’ decision to put their cast through their paces in real life, providing them with steadily less food as shooting progressed, leaving creepy cryptic clues for them to stumble across later, and even shaking their tents as they tried to sleep. Talk about committing to the bit.