What is found footage? Found footage is a genre where instead of the film coming across professionally done, it looks more like a home movie. Made popular by The Blair Witch Project, the genre has taken off in the past eight years or so. This may sound cheap and actually it is. What is great though is how it makes directors get creative with camera angles and presentation on the limited budgets.
The characters are typically more real than anyone you would see in a normal film. All of this can be great if done correctly. Unfortunately, it is also used as the lazy way out for many films. Despite how easy it is to make a found footage film, there are not that many that are worth your time. Here are the five found footage films that you should watch.
5. Project Almanac (2015)
Time traveling teenagers. Who doesn’t love themselves some time travel? The name is obviously a play off of the almanac in Back To The Future Part 2 as Marty McFly acquired a sports almanac in the year 2015. The premise is that a few kids find time machine blueprints in their basement that one of their dads was working on before he died. The teenagers end up putting it together and do what most people would do with a time machine, before things go horribly wrong. I would not recommend this to anyone under sixteen. HERE is our review.
4. End of Watch (2012) [amazon template=add to cart&asin=B008220CTW]
A group of police officers have a knack for finding trouble and solving it, until they get themselves into something much deeper than they anticipated. This movie is one of the best cop films ever, despite having an abundance of language. Anyone who is a police officer or knows one will enjoy this film. I would not recommend this to anyone under eighteen.
3. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010) [amazon template=add to cart&asin=B003Q6D25U]
Horror is usually not a genre I enjoy. However, I did like Paranormal Activity. I believe the found footage approach to be fresh and actually genuinely scary. Paranormal Activity 2 is the perfect horror sequel as production values, creativity, and acting are all improved. Many scenes in this film will remain with me forever. I would not recommend this to anyone under eighteen.
2. Cloverfield (2008) [amazon template=add to cart&asin=B00AEFXNGE]
A disaster/monster attack in New York leaves a group of friends desperate to simply survive and escape. What amazes me is how New York is made to look destroyed all on 25 million dollars. The director did a wonderful job here to really make you feel as if you are also trapped in New York. Aside from some language, this is the cleanest film of the list and I can highly recommend it to anyone who is thirteen and older.
1. Chronicle (2012) [amazon template=add to cart&asin=B005LAIGPU]
A few teenagers find a mysterious rock and all of a sudden develop super powers. Project Almanac could have been this good except it had an unnecessary love story. Chronicle is a beautiful film, because you feel for each of the main characters. There is a perfect balance of comedy, drama, and action. This not only ranks as my favorite found footage film, but also one of my top ten films of all time.
Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical):
Earth To Echo (2014) – I recommend this for families, because it is PG and clean for the most part. Think ET combined with found footage.
Into The Storm (2014) – Imagine the film Twister combined with found footage.
Paranormal Activity (2007) – A pure low budget, horror film.
Quarantine (2008) – Another horror film that was actually all done in one building and in one night.