While documentaries can be very interesting and insightful, sometimes they can be a bit dry. Mockumentaries are great because while they try to be like documentaries, they also can incorporate other genres into the mix. From comedy to horror, mockumentaries allow for so much leeway because they don't need to fact check anything.
The filmmakers could say the sky was purple and people wouldn't blink an eye because they know that it's fake (at least most people). Here are four mockumentaries that seem blend the different genres so well.
1. 'This Is Spinal Tap' (1984)
This is Spinal Tap is more than a film; it’s a cultural phenomenon. Even though Spinal Tap wasn’t a real band to begin with, it started to feel like they were the real thing. Many audience members (including Ozzy Osbourne) thought it was a real documentary. They even started to release merchandise and even went on tour! Many musicians claimed that they couldn’t watch the film all the way through because it hit too close to home. It even made Tom Waits cry because of its realism.
2. 'Best In Show' (2000)
While A Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman were classics, one of Christopher Guest’s best mockumentaries is Best in Show. Best in Show is a side-achingly funny faux documentary which showcases the trials and obstacles of dog show contestants. While This is Spinal Tap is a very in-depth and "real" mockumentary, Best in Show is by far the funniest. It features the usual Guest crew as very different and colorful participants, and they all steal the show in one way or another. There isn’t a scene wasted in the whole film. Sixteen years later, it still holds up as one of the funniest mockumentaries (and films) ever made.
3. 'What We Do in The Shadows'
People may know Jemaine Clement as the second half of Flight of the Conchords, but What We Do in The Shadows shows how he kept up the comedy without Bret Mackenzie. With the vampire genre being ruined by cheesy young adult novels, Clement and Taika Waititi bring some sort of salvation with What We Do in the Shadows. It's a mockumentary following around a group of vampires who try to live a normal life in New Zealand. They argue over chores, romance, and have an immature feud with the local werewolves.
Waititi and Clement prove that they can pull off ridiculous antics without being too obnoxious. The dialogue is funny; with constant one-liners that showcase how awkward these vampires are. Even though it was only released in limited theaters, it got Hollywood’s attention and Waititi a director’s seat for the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.
4. 'Lake Mungo' (2008)
Combining the supernatural with the found-footage genre, Lake Mungo tells the fake story of Alice Palmer, a girl who mysteriously drowns during a swimming accident. The documentary seems like a Lifetime special, with the family claiming that her spirit still haunts their house. However, it quickly takes a disturbing turn and shows a terrifying and unpleasant side of white collar suburbia. Pair that with a surprising twist at the end and you’ll be shivering and crying at the same time.