With the extremely average Blair Witch hitting the screens, I thought that it might be fun to look at some much better found footage horror films that don't get talked about as much. We all know about [REC], Paranormal Activity, Cannibal Holocaust and suchlike, but what about those hidden gems that the average moviegoer can easily miss? The following five films are, in my opinion, much scarier and much more satisfying than Adam Wingard's disappointing sequel. So without further ado, let's delve into them.
5. The Poughkeepsie Tapes
Part found footage and part mockumentary, The Poughkeepsie Tapes isn't technically a great film. It features some atrocious acting and it doesn't have much in the way of a narrative, but it is genuinely horrifying. In fact, Poughkeepsie makes Blair Witch look like Winnie the Pooh in the scares department. It's a film where we're given glimpses via found footage of a depraved serial killer kidnapping and torturing various women. There are a string of very disturbing moments, including the serial killer hiding in a victim's house while crawling terrifyingly on the floor wearing a bloodcurdling mask. I don't get scared easily, but The Poughkeepsie Tapes left me shaking with fear.
4. The Sacrament
Ti West often makes slow-burning films that rarely have a strong payoff — kind of like Blair Witch. The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers were both weak offerings to the genre, but the little-talked-about Sacrament offers an innovative and disturbing spin on the found footage concept. It follows a documentary crew flying to a small island to film a community who have set up a seemingly perfect life away from the world, led by a creepy cult leader called Father. Needless to say all, is not as it seems. This is a surprising and unpredictable little film that features some extremely unsettling scenes and makes great use of its intriguing premise. It's also based on a true story, which makes it all the more powerful.
The less you know about this low-budget gem, the better. It follows a man called Aaron who answers an ad on Craigslist that asks for someone to film a stranger for a whole day. When Aaron arrives, he's greeted by a creepy man (Mark Duplass in excellently deranged form) whose requests get increasingly bizarre. Creep is such a strange and intriguing film. I was completely gripped from beginning to end, and it builds to a satisfyingly haunting ending. Creep is weird, darkly humorous and surprisingly scary.
2. Exhibit A
Probably the least known on this list, Exhibit A is a British horror film that documents the mental breakdown of a father. There are no Spanish zombies, no Blair witches and no Norwegian trolls. It’s all about a regular, nuclear family, probably not dissimilar to yours or someone you know, and that’s where the disturbing horror really lies. This one actually feels like you're watching found footage and the film is made to looks as if you're watching a piece of raw police evidence. The acting is top-notch and the story is involving. It may be a little slow, but the harrowing finale makes it all worth while.
1. Noroi: The Curse
This Japanese horror is quite possibly the scariest film I've ever seen. It follows a reporter investigating some strange events that seem to all link to a horrifying demon called Kagutaba. If you're looking to get really scared, then Noroi has it all. It's brilliantly edited and thoroughly believable. The first time I watched this, I ended up watching it through my fingers, not because it's gory or anything, but because the tension was too much to bear. The scares come thick and fast, building up to a bone-chilling finale in the woods, far scarier than anything in Blair Witch. Just when you think it's over, a final scene plays which is sure to make your hair stands on end. Things don't get much scarier than Noroi: The Curse, and tragically not many folk have seen it! Don't make the same mistake.
If you like stories of real-life serial killers, check out the video below to see which true murderers inspired the events of the popular horror show American Horror Story:
I'd recommend any of the above over the thoroughly disappointing Blair Witch. How many have you seen?