Most of us know what a found footage movie actually means. It is a form of presenting a movie where it seems that what we see has been shot by one of the main characters in the film with a camera held in his/her hand. Later, the person has gone missing or is killed along with his friends, and the only document that remains of their exploits is the footage which is now being presented in a movie format after editing. This style of filming is mainly used in horror movies, with ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ (1999) popularizing the usage of such a format.
To understand the origin of this form of storytelling, one has to go way back into a form of novel writing called the epistolary novel. In this form, the entire story is presented to the reader using journal entries or letters of the characters. ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ (1980) was the movie that brought this format into the foray. But the movie was extremely gory in nature and was banned in most countries, thus being unable to reach a wider audience like ‘The Blair Witch Project’. With the found footage style becoming more and more popular in the turn of the decade, many film historians have begun comparing this low-budget format to what was called the ‘slasher movie‘ during the 1970-80s.
When the found footage format is used effectively in horror movies, it can create feelings of the unknown, claustrophobia, and intense suspense as the viewer can only see what the handheld camera shows. The interesting thing about most horror films shot in this format is that it breaks the ‘final girl’ trope which is massively used in horror movies. Here, in most cases, none of the victims survive. So, here’s the list of really good found footage horror movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
7. Scary Movie 5 (2013)
Starring Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Erica Ash, and Katrina Bowden, ‘Scary Movie 5’ is a comedy horror film directed by Malcolm D. Lee. The Scary Movie film series follows Dan and Jody, an ordinary couple who are happy to start life afresh with their newly formed family. Unfortunately, they are regularly haunted by persistent paranormal activities that slowly become an impediment to their peaceful life. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter, they decide to install cameras all over their house and eventually discover something shocking. The family is haunted and stalked by an evil dead demon and must find a way to get rid of it as soon as possible.
6. Paranormal Activity (2007)
Created by Oren Peli, ‘Paranormal Activity’ is a supernatural horror film that stars Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat. The movie revolves around the San Diego couple as they deal with the worrisome suspicions of demonic presence in their house. Katie, who has been haunted by a demon from a young age it told by her psychiatrist to be cautious and now takes any decisions without consulting the demonologist. Unfortunately, Micah ignores all such warnings and uses his camera to document the strange incidents in his house. While the footage initially is hardly bothersome, things take a dark turn as the presence of demons is verified in night recordings.
5. Unfriended (2014)
Featuring Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Renee Olstead, and Will Peltz, ‘Unfriended’ is a computer screen supernatural horror film written by Nelson Greaves. The Leo Gabriadze directorial revolves around six friends who are interacting online on a video call when they receive the creepiest message of their lives. The sender is actually their dead friend, and although they initially arrive at the conclusion that cannot be the case, their interactions soon take a horrible turn when unruly events begin to challenge their initial stand.
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4. Apollo 18 (2011)
Written by Brian Miller, this science fiction horror movie happens entirely in a space shuttle. It is the Apollo 18 mission, which, as an alternative to the actual history, did manage to reach the moon. The actual story begins when the group has managed to land on the lunar surface, and two astronauts land on the moon on a lunar module called Liberty while one stays in orbit in the command module. The two who land on the moon are disturbed by certain sounds when they try to go back, and also discover footprints that do not look human-esque. What is finally revealed is that alien beings who can take the shape of rocks exist on the lunar surface and they will not let the astronauts survive.
3. Creep (2014)
This 2014 movie is the story of Aaron, a videographer, who has decided to answer an advertisement for a job that he saw in a newspaper. The ad was from this guy called Josef who lives in a secluded house all by himself. When Aaron goes to meet Josef, he realizes something is eerily wrong with him and she should have avoided coming here. Josef however, acts innocent but strange objects in his house and a wolf mask makes Aaron more alarmed. Later that night, Aaron realizes that Josef is mentally unstable when a phone call warns him about it. He tries to escape, but things are not that easy anymore. ‘Creep’ received widespread critical acclaim from critics who marveled at the use of the found footage format, the intense acting, and the writing of the movie.
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2. Creep 2 (2017)
The sequel to ‘Creep’, ‘Creep 2’ also follows the story of Josef, who now goes by the name Aaron. Karan Soni of ‘Deadpool’ fame plays the role of Dave, a friend of Aaron’s. Aaron admits to Dav that he is a serial killer and kills him. Then begins the story of Sara who has responded to Aaron’s advertisement of wanting a videographer for a day on Craigslist. When she arrives at his house, Aaron makes a bizarre request which Sara decides to comply with. Later, things turn sour as their encounter becomes life-threatening for both parties. Like ‘Creep’, this movie was also lauded by both audiences and critics.
1. The Presence (2014)
This is the only non-English language movie on the list. ‘The Presence’ is a 2014 German movie directed by Daniele Grieco. Rebecca and Markus are a couple, who along with their friend Lukas visit an abandoned house which they believe is haunted. The house seems pretty normal at first, but suddenly doors start moving on their own, paintings turn backward, and Rebecca starts behaving in a strange manner. The trio find themselves locked in a castle with paranormal beings all around them. Though this movie follows the general trope of all found footage movies, there are certain standout and genuinely scary moments that all horror fans would love.
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