Category Archives: Found Footage

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Director:Eduardo Sánchez, Kevin Foxe
Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard. USA. 1h 21m

It feels strange reviewing this so long after it gave me such a wild night out at the cinema, so this review is going to be a trip down memory lane, so grab you member berries and hop on the fuck train.

I was the gothist kid in my highschool, just one step away from shooting the place up if only I had some other trench coat kids to help me out, I might have been on the news, instead being the loner I was, I had to make do with being the go to person with horror movie info, by the time the Blair Witch had hit my radar, the magic was nearly over, it had already been screened and the amazing movie website showed images of people out searching the woods for the missing students, while the message board were filled with links to stories titles “Blair Witch is an elaborate hoax” or conspiracy stories claiming that “the story is real, ignore the hoax stories they are trying to stop you from finding the out the TRUTH”  

Sadly I realised that this was just a modern day wicca version of Cannibal Holocaust (1980), yep I knew about all these classics already, I was an early horror bloomer. I sent the main website link to my bestest friends on MSN and ICQ and we arranged to meet up and see the film at the Odeon. It was a late night horror screening on a weeknight and therefore the cinema was filled with kids, I rarely remember anyone checking us in the Odeon, it was like a creche. Continue reading The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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The Last Broadcast (1998)

Director: Lance Weiler, Stefan Avalos.
Starring: David Beard, James Seward, Stefan Avalos, Lance Weller. UK. 1h 26m

The year before the Blair Witch (1999) blew us away the Last Broadcast has already been released, but there’s a lot of nay saying about which one came first, it’s certain that Blair Witch caught more media attention and was reportedly started before this film but whichever way they were produced, this $900 film grossed $4 million at the box office which makes a much bigger success by comparison.

The film deals with a documentary filmmaker named David Leigh (Beard) and his investigation of the Fact or Fiction murder, where a group of TV hosts were murdered under mysterious circumstances,. As the show was only on a mere public access channel the death didn’t make the headlines and Leigh takes it on himself to find discover the truth behind the killings while making his documentary.

Continue reading The Last Broadcast (1998)

Moth (2016)

Director: Gergo Elekes, Jozsef Gallai.
Starring.Lidia Szabo, Jozsef Gallai. UK/HUNGRY/USA. 1h 21m.

I’ve never been so irritated by a lead character in any film so much as by the terrible co lead in this offensively bad horror. While I understand that English isn’t Lidia’s first language and have no problem with her thick accent and delivery of lines, she makes this constant clicking mouth noise in EVERY line of dialogue which really brought on a case of misophonia. I think maybe if the film was more gripping and she wasn’t so bad at acting it might not have been so bad. The rest of the cast, ie the director, makes a better effort as a more stoic broody Swedish born hero of the film he’s the voice of reason to his scatty partner in crime. Continue reading Moth (2016)

Char Man (2019)

Director:Kurt Ela, Kipp Tribble, .
Starring. Kurt Ela, Kipp Tribble, Nick Greco. USA. 1h 25m

I really tried for this found footage film, not only was it released on my birthday but it sounded like it might be fun. I turned off all the lights and waited for the creepy guy who stands outside my house to assume his position.. I was poised to be scared and for a while it really did work, then all the fear faded away..

So a trio of guys are out filming a documentary of a local vampire legend, but while stumbling around trying to make things believable and scary they learn about the legend of the Char Man from a local history buff. Now the whole idea of filming a documentary isn’t all that new *cough* Blair Witch *cough* but finding out about one on the way adds an extra edge as the group were not prepared in any way for what they might unleash, this did add a bit of spice but pretty soon the film collapsed on itself and succumbed to all the typical found footage nonsense. Continue reading Char Man (2019)

Lake Mungo (2008)

Director: Joel Anderson
Starring: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin  Sharpe, Talia Zucker. Australia. 1h 27m

Lake Mungo takes a slightly different approach to the world of Mockumentaries/Found footage films, there’s a gentler hand involved in this deeply personal and sentimental story of a missing teen. Often the film shocks and attempts to scare it’s audience but these are often long drawn out tension filed scenarios more than faux jump scares which is a credit to some brilliant film making, although in the attempts to make everything so very real these scenes are often displayed as terrible quality home video recordings showing phenomena in a “bigfoot” blur and the scare is often lost in the quality.

Alice Palmer (Zucker) is just like any other team girl, but one fateful day on a trip to a local camping site at Lake Mungo she goes missing. Her distraught family and emergency services  go to the limit to find her, unfortunately all this is pulled form the lake is her body. Continue reading Lake Mungo (2008)

The Devil’s Doorway (2018)

 

Director: Aislinn Clarke
Starring: Lalor Roddy, Helena Bereen, Lauren Coe, Ciaran Flynn . Ireland / UK. 1h 17m

This found footage horror is set in the swinging 60’s but it isn’t influences by mini skirts and being hip instead the women involved are quite different, Devils Doorway sees Father Thomas Riley (Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Flynn)  despatched by the vatican to investigate reports of a miracle in a Catholic asylum based in the wilderness of Northern Ireland.

At this remote asylum for immoral women, the statues of the Virgin Mary have been weeping blood. The two priests open their investigation by filming each other, the younger, Father John arms himself with a 16mm camera to record their findings and often interrogates father Thomas about his life and beliefs as a priest, after some adjustments they head to the vast home and begin their investigation but are confronted by some fiercely protective nuns who see their presence as insulting and can’t wait to see the backs of them. Continue reading The Devil’s Doorway (2018)

Occult Angel (2018)

Director: Andy Roberts
Starring: Jack Angel, Andy Roberts,  UK. 1h 06m

While not wanting to dumb down the power of this movie, but it has to be said that this is like a British version of The DaVinci Code (2006) set around the city of Bath

and surrounding countryside,  Andy (Roberts) is a talented young student in photography  and film hooks up with his psychic uncle Jack (Angel) and friends  to uncover the secret mysteries behind the architecture and history of the city. Jack,  has a knack of hearing supernatural entities and sensing presences that are ethereal in nature, after getting his young nephew to join him in filming his investigations, young Andy starts noticing some life-changing events.

Drawing on the success of various other found footage and mockumentary films, there’s a lot of charm in occult angel. Initially a digs deep into the history of the city and the formation of famous landmarks and churches,  and then it starts to look at the prehistory, pagan beliefs and uncanny connections between prestigious buildings and pagan icons. Continue reading Occult Angel (2018)

Unfriended (2014)

Director: Levan Gabriadze
Starring. Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Shelly Hennig, Moses Storm, Jacob Wysocki. USA. 1h 23m

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on your pc and bitch about your dead class mates.. think again mofos! Unfriended is a modern found footage desktop horror. A group of friends are chatting together online when their dead “friends’” account comes online and starts terrorising them both on and offline, with the threat that if they close the chat then they die, but staying in the group chat doesn’t change their fate either they are stuck between a rock and a hard place and forced to sit back and watch each others demise, but they get to view the disgusting violent ends of their BBF instead.

It’s the anniversary of Laura Barns suicide, a year to the day she committed suicide after a video of her passing out and crapping herself at a party went viral. On this tragic anniversary her former best friend Blaire enters a skype chat with her boyfriend and some of her close friends but when Laura’s facebook account starts sending messages they expect that someone in the group is pranking them. One by one each of the teens are outed on social media and then begin to act strange and appear to kill themselves, has Laura come back for revenge?

Well it’s so obvious what’s going on here, it’s pretty easy to work out who leaked the video and who’s back for her revenge, the only expectations are the slayings and they are pretty silly, one girl drinks some bleach, which is plausible, as she was skyping from the laundry room, another guy just happens to have a blender in his bedroom and finds a way of using that off himself. A blender? I don’t even have one to hand in my kitchen I keep it in a cupboard, is that weird?

The idea is pure gold, using social media as a tool for a found footage basis is something that really awoke the genre again and I think that’s what got a lot of bums on seats in the cinema, but the payoff was just lousy,  it’s hard to feel afraid when you’ve personally not encouraged someone to kill themselves so really the audience were routing for the dead chick, but with a year of planning she coulda come up with something a bit more elaborate, I’d wanna make em suffer bwhahaahaaa!

It’s quite a familiar scene, teen faces looking down their webcam in a group chat on Skype and/or DMing each other on facebook, but when things start to go awry usually you just turn it off and put on a movie, call an adult or something right? These teens didn’t even work out how to go live or work out a neat hashtag for their night of bloody carnage. #allmyfriendsaredying  #shoudlaneveruploadedthatvideo #godgaveusrockandroll. In terms of the movie being an experiment of a real time online horror it could have worked better as a live “game” experience, but in the terms of a movie which is limited to mobile and laptop of the main characters also limits the audience’s depth of perception and attention. It would have been cool if you could have dialled in on your mobile while the film was on to “tune in” to some of the action.. not there’s an idea!!

Let’s hope that lessons have been learnt for the upcoming sequel, and I hope that we all know that cyberbullying is bad.. ok..

Rating 3/10

RUnfriended : Dark Web (2018), Friend Request (2017), E-Demon (2018), Truth or Dare (2018), Dark Summer (2015)
L – A-Z of Found Footage Movies, Cyber Found Footage Movies
A – How believable does horror have to be?

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E-Demon (2018)

Director: Jeremy Wechter
Starring: Julia Kelly, John Anthony Wylliams, Christopher Daftsios.  USA. 1h 26m

It’s quite easy to simply explain this movie as being a demonic indie version of Unfriended (2014) but that would be doing it a disservice as it’s actually better than unfriended, not only is the creepy atmosphere more enhanced it has much better setups to it’s more shocking moments.

Launching with a masked figure warning us about “certain events”and truths that have to be exposed to the public, an  Anonymous style broadcast is a stark warning from the E Demon Resistance that opens with a group of friends start a routine web chat, and start to enact their favourite past times which is basically pranking each other which they lightheartedly called “getting freaked”.  The first uber elaborate prank involved a young man speaking with his grandmother who warns him about a haunted trunk and witchcraft. He proceeds to go into the loft where he has opened the trunk and starts to perform a ritual which results in him releasing a deviously clever demon that had been trapped for centuries in Salem, Massachusetts. Continue reading E-Demon (2018)

Unsane (2018)

Unsane1

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring. Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple. USA. 1h 38m

Everything about the opening of this movie is just dull and unassuming, which is a risky and dangerous move from director Steven Soderbergh, luckily it doesn’t last too long. While introducing the lead, Sawyer (Foy), we learn just how mundane her life is, the faceless office worker, who suffers all the nagging and office politics as the rest of us, she eats lunch while skyping her disapproving mother and later hooks up with a (not tinder) date, but after taking him back to her place with no strings attached sex, she freaks out thinking that he’s her stalker and the film re opens with her talking to a therapist.

We start to learn that Sawyer has been running away from an unknown stalker, hiring professionals (Matt Damon) to secure her routes to work, protect her personal details etc., but simultaneously we are also privy to the idea that she might be suffering from delusions and that the stalker is a fabrication of her overactive and vivid imagination, Unfortunately at this point in the movie she accidently signs herself into a psychiatric ward for observations, and for the rest of the film we, alongside her have to try and piece together just how sane or unsane she really is. Continue reading Unsane (2018)