The next installment of Friday the 13th might be a found footage film.
According to Ryan Turek of Shock Til You Drop, producers are currently hearing pitches from writers on the condition that the film will be shot as found footage.
It's not definite that the next Friday the 13th will indeed become a found footage film, but it got me thinking about the subject more deeply. Actually, I'm sick of this genre.
Here's the thing. Found footage worked for Cannibal Holocaust because nobody had actually seen anything like that before. They weren't sure whether or not they should have been repulsed or entertained. And that's exactly what the filmmakers were going for. It generated controversy, criticism, and ultimately, activism. It's one of the defining cult films of the last century.
Fast forward some 20-odd years later, and audiences were introduced to The Blair Witch Project, a fresh stab at Cannibal Holocaust's style, which was shot for somewhere in the ballpark of $20,000 by three film students. It grossed upwards of $250,000,000. Talk about making a good return on your investment.
The only criticism I have about The Blair Witch Project was that it spawned a plethora of wannabees and copycats. Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, Apollo 18, Quarantine, The Last Exorcism... it goes on. And on. And on.
I can see the appeal of these movies from the perspective of the studios. They are relatively cheap to make. Yet I think the greatest fault in these films relies on utilizing devices that modern audiences just don't care about. Watch any Paranormal Activity movie. They're roughly an hour and a half of not much happening and ten minutes of something actually happening. Read a message board, or chat with any about these movies at a get together, and you're apt to hear utterances like, "That movie was boring," or "That wasn't scary. It's all stupid shadows and noises."
But these people are merely spoiled. Too spoiled. These are the same people who will watch Hitchcock's Psycho and wonder how audiences were actually terrified of it. These are the same people who are too inept to understand that psychological horror pre-dates splatterfests and CG. They want eye-candy when they see a movie. They don't want to use their imaginations, because that requires too much thinking.
I appreciate filmmakers trying to revert to an old-school style of film making, but it seems like these days found footage films are just another easy cash-grab. If anything, they get people talking about the movies, whether they've actually terrified of them or not. If they're going to keep making these things, they really need to put a fresh spin on them. I can't stomach another Paranormal Activity or Quarantine. The genre is extremely narrow, and difficult to actually bring invention to. Why do these found footage films have to restrict themselves to merely horror? Why not a war film or a romantic comedy? It seems silly maybe, but tell that to anyone who's typed "Cat" into Youtube