It seems like one of the biggest trends in independent horror cinema is to release found footage horror films. It makes it a lot cheaper than making a proper movie, since the filmmakers don't have to worry about high production costs involved with lighting and expensive cameras. However, there are few times the gimmick actually works.
"The Blair Witch Project" was the most successful attempt at this method. More recently, "Paranormal Activity" turned into a lucrative franchise using the format. Box office success does not mean the movies were good, only that they attracted audiences with their new styles and techniques.
Recently there has been another franchise that used found footage techniques and became successful, spawning a franchise from the original hit movie. In this rare case, the movie was actually really good, scary, and used the technique in an inventive and creative manner. That movie was the 2007 Spanish language horror film "[REC]." The third movie in the franchise hits theaters in 2012 and continues the story from the original foreign language horror hit.
"[REC]" has been remade in America with the disappointing "Quarantine," but you'd be better served to seek out the movie that started the recent found footage horror movie trend two full years before "Paranormal Activity" became a Halloween staple.
"[REC]" tells the story of a TV news reporter and her cameraman following around a fire department over the course of one night. After they get stuck in a small apartment building, people begin to die and possibly reanimate as creatures, leaving them all fighting for their lives. What makes the movie work so well is the claustrophobic trappings, making the movie more intense than any found footage film since.
"Trollhunter" is one of 2011's film festival darlings, a Norwegian language movie that follows some student filmmakers who believe they are searching for illegal bear poachers. The movie turns into a government conspiracy and demented fairy tale with giant trolls. The entire plot supposes that the Norwegian government knows about the existence of trolls but keeps them secluded on government land that allows no humans to enter.
However, when any escape, troll hunters are sent out to capture or kill the creatures. This is where our filmmakers get involved. The monsters are not that scary but the movie is charming and fun and never takes itself seriously -- something that damages the enjoyment factor of many found footage horror movies.
What is interesting about the found footage movie is that many people seem to believe it was founded with "The Blair Witch Project." That is clearly untrue; the Italian language cult movie "Cannibal Holocaust" is proof of that. Released in the '80s, the movie is the true definition of a cult film and has been banned in many places and tried on obscenity charges. The movie, which also includes some English language actors to help with distribution, was shot in the Amazon and features indigenous cannibal tribes, the story told through found footage belonging to lost American film crews.
Found footage films are not a new thing but they are one of the most recent hot gimmicks in the horror genre. If you want to see some done right, there are many foreign language films that trump a lot of the American attempts.
Heading to the movies? Get an instant mobile coupon to use at select theaters for free popcorn!
- Arts & Entertainment/Media/Movies
- Arts & Entertainment