Is there any current trend thats become a greater pain to fans of genre work than the concept of found footage? The success of The Blair Witch Project in 1998 seemed like a relative fluke, a flash-in-the-pan that suggested that audiences were rewarding originality and that the internet could be used to successfully market a movie. Although there were a few tries here and there over the years, the idea of found footage becoming a formidable sub-genre was ridiculous.
Then came the triple threat of Cloverfield, Rec and Paranormal Activity proving that giant monsters, zombies and poltergeists could all thrive within the framework of first-person cheap-ass camera techniques. Once PA did gangbusters on an obscenely small budget, found footage was off to the races and soon Netflix, Redbox, LoveFilm and VOD were cluttered with indie pictures looking to cash-in with identically nihilistic tales of unassuming characters wandering about with a camera when they should be running like hell and getting killed down to the last person by something no one will ever see clearly.
Thats it then, right? Theres an entire stable of films thrown in the dumpster, minus the one or two worthy exceptions that we can rely upon festival goers to point out for us. Outside of non-horror fare like End of Watch, or more brutal, esoteric fare like Man Bites Dog, or near satires like Troll Hunter, theres not been much to write home about. As a film fan, theres nothing Id like more than a forced retirement of found footage, but its hard to deny that if you look closely enough you can find some well-done and interesting films created in that style.
Here, for your perusal, are fifteen found footage thrillers that youve not only probably never heard of, but you are also likely to enjoy. Everything from stuff thats been well and truly forgotten to a couple of movies just finishing up the festival rounds, this is your guide to the best of whats off-the-beaten-track.