Cast your mind back to 2014 when I decided to do a little horror movie series for October. I spent the whole month watching as many horror films as I can then doing terrible reviews on them. I always meant to do it again but life got in the way as usual, plus my reviewing skills really were terrible.
However, with October fast approaching once again, I've decided it is time to bring it back but with a little twist. Okay, not so much a twist as it is clearly in the title but this time around I am going to focus primarily on found footage.
Love it or hate it, it's a genre which has kinda taken over the world of horror.
I'm not sure why I'm so drawn to the subgenre but something about it just grabs my interest, especially when you find a hidden gem. It's almost like a game of mine in a way, I'm so determined to watch as many as I can.
Primary found footage is shot on a low budget and a lot of the time by independent filmmakers. Of course, you get the odd big budget Hollywood scare fest but I am going to try my best to avoid them.
Not everyone film I mention I will have loved - trust me there are some truly laughable ones I've sat and watched.
So, without further ado let's kick off my first post in this ridiculous obsession of mine.
The Monster Project
- Year - 2017
- Director - Victor Mathieu
- Synopsis - A recovering drug addict takes a job with a documentary crew who plans to interview three subjects who claim to be real life monsters.
During a random search online I came across The Monster Project. The poster stated it featured a vampire, a demon, and a skinwalker. It sounded utterly ridiculous and shock horror, it was.
The first part of the film was slow like your usual found footage film but then delved into a frantic mess. The concept itself was decent and the acting wasn't too bad but it went in too hard. Without giving too much away you can imagine an interview with three "monsters" isn't exactly going to go to plan but I felt the actual interview concept was far too rushed.
I spent most of my time wondering what the hell was going on during the middle section of The Monster Project, by the time we got to the big finale, I had totally lost interest. However, the ending was a darn good twist and totally grabbed my interest again, sadly it was a little too late.
I totally get what they were trying to achieve with this film but it felt like they wanted to play with far too many themes and the result ended up a big old confusing, shaky camera mess.
Rating - 2/5
Hell House LLC
- Year - 2016
- Director - Stephen Cognetti
- Synopsis - Five years after an unexplained malfunction causes the death of 15 tour-goers and staff on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour, a documentary crew travels back to the scene of the tragedy to find out what really happened.
You know how I mentioned that sometimes you can find a damn good hidden gem? This is one of them. I originally read a spoiler-free review of this and was quite skeptical of the glowing feedback it got. I may be a sucker for a found footage film but I know too well not to always believe the hype - The Blair Witch Project anyone?
Hell House LCC had a fairly meh concept behind it but it was so well done that you totally overlooked the cliche faux-documentary style of it all.
Out of all the found footage horrors I've watched this featured some of the best acting I have seen. Each actor gave a strong and believable performance even when they made ridiculous decisions - you actually understood why they did what they did.
The found footage aspect made sense, it featured CCTV footage and phone videos from the guests checking out the house tour, as well as the faux documentary aspects. Of course, it did have one character wandering around with a handheld camera but again it made sense why they had it.
Did it scare me? Nope but look I am pretty sure I've become pretty jaded to the horror genre so it is never wise to take my advice on if something it is scary. It did, however, have great pacing and the scary moments didn't feel cheap or overused.
Rating - 4/5
- Year - 2015
- Director - C.A Smith
- Synopsis - Two skeptic researchers investigate a mother's claim that an unknown presence may be trying to communicate with her 7-year-old daughter.
Two researchers check out a house that could be haunted which involves a little girl and a creepy ass doll? Predictable right?
The synopsis may be full of typical horror film cliches but this was a film that took me by surprise. The pacing is slow but totally works, you spend most of the time flipping and flopping between if anything is actually going on or is this just a family with a whole load of baggage.
The tension between the cast is what drew me in. The two researchers are constantly at odds with what is going on and the mother's desperation is completely believable.
If you are a fan of in your face jump scares, this isn't going to be the film for you but the last fright of the film delivers and oh boy does it deliver well. When I jump after a cheap jumpscare I get pretty darn annoyed but this jump made me feel utterly satisfied. I was genuinely scared and this is a rarity these days.
You could easily dismiss this film as your typical paranormal activity nonsense but there was a heart to this film, one that should really set the bar for future paranormal based found footage films.
Rating - 5/5
Always Watching: A Marble Hornets Story
- Year - 2015
- Director - James Moran
- Synopsis - A small town news team discovers a box of videotapes where a faceless figure dressed in a dark suit, haunts and torments a family... slowly driving them insane. Soon after, they realize that the "Operator" has begun to stalk them as well.
A Slenderman horror film you say? Sign me up!
I love the whole Slenderman story, the fact the people believe it to be real makes it even more intriguing. What started off a competition entry turned into a famous Creepypasta then become one of the biggest internet legends of all time.
I was so ready for this film, especially since I heard the web series its based on is really good and it features Alexandra Breckenridge from American Horror Story & The Walking Dead (she is a babe by the way).
First thing first, this is a fairly fun film but it really didn't deliver or even add much to the Slenderman tale. It has amazing potential especially since its source material is creepy as hell but alas it just fell flat.
I feel like if I went into without much knowledge of the Slenderman myth I may have enjoyed it more. Maybe I just set the bar too high.
I wanted to be scared so bad, I wanted to flick my glasses down my nose slightly so I couldn't see it properly, I wanted to distract myself with popcorn but instead, I sat there watching it all, frame by frame and feeling nothing.
Slenderman is a bloody creepy bitch but he had zero effect on me and that is unforgivable if you are going to make a film all about him.
Rating - 1/5
So, here endeth part one of my found footage round-up. I am hoping to do this at least every two weeks leading up to Halloween, who knows maybe I'll do it every week (I find it better not to promise that kinda thing giving my track record with blogging).
My list of found footage horrors is long and steadily growing but if you have any recommendations for me please comment below. Let me know if any of these tickle your fancy or if you've already seen them before. Would love to hear your thoughts!
Till the next time!