Top 10 Found Footage Films

The latest movie craze is the found footage genre. This method of shooting a film as though it was compiled from real archival footage gives movies a greater sense of realism by removing all of the Hollywood gloss. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these films are horror flicks! Join WatchMojo.com, as we count down our top 10 favorite found footage films to celebrate the release of the found-footage comedy 'A Haunted House'.
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Top 10 Found Footage Films


These flicks are shoddy on purpose! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite found footage films.

Just so you know: a found footage film is not made from real-life recordings; it’s just shot to look like it was gathered and re-assembled from such footage.

#10 – “Diary of the Dead” (2007)


Kicking off our list is the fifth entry in George Romero’s long-running zombie series. The story is told from the perspective of a group of student filmmakers who decide to record the pandemic, and this allows the low-budget apocalypse film to involve us more directly in the hysteria. While this is by no means the best entry, this flick does give us a new sense of interest and involvement.

#9 – “Project X” (2012)


Inspired by an actual Australian party that ballooned out of control courtesy of social media, this movie aims to be the most immediate and extreme house party flick ever! Cast cell phones were used to record some scenes, to ramp up the film’s amateur look. As a result, it’s packed with everything parents instinctually fear, and its amateur styling packs added shock value, especially during the street-wide Armageddon scene!

#8 – “Man Bites Dog” (1992)


This Belgian film predates mainstream interest in the genre, and centers on a camera crew that’s following a pleasant and talkative serial killer who’s only too happy to share his tricks of the trade. A satire of society’s unending fascination with violence, it increasingly blurs the line between reporter and subject, and raises some pretty serious morality issues. This experience would be hard to replicate with Hollywood’s usual arsenal.

#7 – “Trollhunter” (2010)


Another foreign film, this one focuses on three Norwegian college students as they follow a hunter, and discover that their government has long covered-up the existence of trolls. During their shoot, we are treated to an unforgettably satirical spin on classic folklore that remains relentlessly unnerving and realistic. Fortunately, as the credits point out, no Trolls were harmed in the making of this film.

#6 – “Cannibal Holocaust” (1980)


This documentary-style production centers on an anthropologist who finds the footage of a film crew that disappeared while documenting cannibalistic tribes of the Amazon. The oldest and most controversial film on our list, it was made with real indigenous tribesmen and contained graphic violence. In turn, it was mistaken for a real snuff film, the director was arrested and the movie was banned in several countries.

#5 – “Chronicle” (2012)


While horror films are the go-to genre for found footage, this incredible tale instead puts a new spin on the sci-fi and superhero theme. Shot as a teen video journal after a fateful encounter that leaves a group of friends with strange powers, the story doesn’t get bogged down with the usual trappings or mythology. Instead, it relies on its captivating characters brought to life by their realistic sense of excitement and fear, as well as some wild visual flourishes.

#4 – “Cloverfield” (2008)


Directed by J.J. Abrams, this monster story focuses on a group of friends who are stuck in New York when a Godzilla-sized creature attacks. Franticly paced and expertly shot, its handheld camera permits us to go on one heck of a cinematic rollercoaster ride! It also gives us a lasting image of a certain beloved statue lying in ruins…

#3 – “REC” (2007)


This Spanish found footage flick takes the zombie horror genre in a realistic direction that even Romero can’t quite match! Shot to make you feel like you are actually on location, it creates a gritty and unsettling atmosphere as it follows a news reporter and her cameraman as they tail a fire crew into an infected apartment building. This film is so effectively scary that Hollywood instantly remade it.

#2 – “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)


This is the found footage film that tricked countless unsuspecting viewers into thinking they were watching real footage left behind by a group of students who went missing. Their search for a fabled witch not only took the genre mainstream, but also revealed how queasy and unprepared audiences can be when exposed to shaky raw footage. Is there any wonder it left an impression with scenes like this?

#1 – “Paranormal Activity” (2007)


Taking the top spot on our list is the found footage horror phenomenon that never lets up on the suspense or terror. The film modernizes the timeless haunted house story, but removes the Hollywood gloss and gore by turning on the night vision to produce its increasingly ominous atmosphere. The realism is so effective; the film literally propelled audience members out of their seats and spawned an entire franchise.

Do you agree with our list? Which is your favorite found footage film? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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