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21st Oct 2022 - By William Earl

The 10 Best Found Footage Horror Movies of All Time, From ‘The Blair Witch Project’ to ‘Host’


This October, Variety enlisted some our favorite spooky content creators to share their scary movie essentials. Joseph and Vanessa Winter, whose film “Deadstream” made a splash on the festival circuit and earned rave reviews from critics, shared their picks for the best found footage films of all time. 

The found footage style has led to some of horror’s biggest hits, from the cultural juggernaut that was 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” — which introduced found footage to the mainstream — to the microbudget sensation of the first “Paranormal Activity” movie in 2007. Although the first-person perspective can lead to some huge scares, there was a time after “Activity” where Hollywood invested a bit too much in the genre and delivered an abundance of films in the style, many of which felt like cheap cash-ins that lacked the flair and passion of the technique at its best. 

Luckily, writer-directors Joseph and Vanessa Winter are helping to revive the perception of found footage with two big projects. First, their festival hit “Deadstream,” about a disgraced YouTuber who plans to film himself staying in a haunted house overnight, debuted on Shudder as one of the platform’s key October releases. The duo also have the final segment in the just-released “V/H/S/99,” the fifth installment in the found footage anthology series which just debuted on Shudder. Both projects use found footage in inventive ways and prove that there’s plenty of creativity left in the art form. The husband-and-wife creative team were the perfect pair to curate Variety’s list of the best found footage films of all time. 

“I’m excited for the future of found footage,” Vanessa said. “I think that the genre spurs creativity in breaking some rules, which is something horror does anyway. Sometimes the restriction can birth a really new and creative idea.” 

Joseph also noted that, despite what detractors might think, there are plenty of unique challenges in creating a film in this style that might not be immediately evident. 

“I want to tell filmmakers that if you’re going to make a found footage movie, make sure you understand it is not easier,” he said. “I’ve talked to other people who have made found footage movies since then, and they would agree that it’s actually more difficult in some ways.”

REC (2007)

Vanessa: This was the movie that I went to the most for “Deadstream.” As we started to revisit a lot of found footage movies, it was hard to take cues from them, especially once we decided it was going to take place in real time. Because it wasn’t a super slow burn, it needed to have more of an action-packed feeling to it. And so “REC,” which is one of my favorite movies, is just so well executed and the more I watch it, the more I appreciate it on different levels. But it takes place in almost real time, and so that was really helpful. And the part where it breaks for the little interviews around the midpoint: They make you laugh. They’re so real feeling that it breaks the tension and gets you attached to the different characters. So that’s one thing too that I wanted to bring to “Deadstream,” is for our main character to have some realness and not just be a parody. 

Joseph: For me, when Vanessa was trying to convince me that “Deadstream” needs to be a real-time film and play out in 90 minutes or so, I was skeptical that you could add a rich mythology to that because it’s a very short amount of time for someone to unfold a backstory to ghosts or whatever is going on. When we revisited “REC” leading up to “Deadstream,” we realized this is so rich, mythologically speaking, in something that does take place in almost real-time. I just was not expecting it to move in that direction, and it gave us a lot of encouragement that in a very short amount of time, you can really deliver a satisfying backstory to the ride that you’re on.

By Variety - See full article here


The 10 Best Found Footage Horror Movies of All Time, From ‘The Blair Witch Project’ to ‘Host’

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