Found footage films have been a popular sub-genre of horror for decades. Unlike traditional horror films, found footage films often feature amateur footage that supposedly documents real events. These films have gained a devoted fanbase over the years, and many have become fan favorites due to unique filming techniques like shaky cames and the element of realism they add to a film. These are the top 12 picks for fans of this niche.
1. Missing (2023)
Found footage has taken on a new shape in the modern era, and Missing is a great example of that. The film is all about a girl whose mother goes missing in another country, and her attempt through the internet to find her.
2. Unfriended (2014)
However, found footage through a laptop isn't a new thing! Unfriended is a film about a group of teenagers who are being stalked by a ghost through their webcams.
3. Rec (2007)
A reporter and her cameraman are trapped inside an apartment building that's been quarantined after a mysterious virus breaks out. A viewer says this movie blew their mind when they first saw it. Another fan of this found-footage film describes it as one of the genre's most relentless, fast-moving films.
4. Grave Encounters (2011)
A crew of paranormal investigators lock themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital to film a TV show, only to realize that the hospital is haunted and they can't escape. This film got one found-footage film enthusiast interested in the subgenre, but they warn that the sequel doesn't hold up as well.
5. Ghoul (2015)
This movie is raved about by fans of the found-footage genre. A prisoner arrives at a remote military interrogation center, where he is brutally questioned by a mysterious interrogator who seems to have supernatural powers.
6. Hell House LLC (2015)
Hell House LLC isn't just a good film for this subgenre, as one viewer insists it's their favorite movie ever and involves a haunting conclusion. A group of friends sets up a haunted house attraction in an abandoned hotel, but strange occurrences begin to happen, and they soon realize that the hotel has a dark past. There are two sequels that fans add are worth seeing.
7. The Fourth Kind (2009)
A psychologist in Alaska discovers that her patients have all been experiencing the same disturbing hallucinations, which she believes are evidence of alien abductions. Milla Jovovich and Will Arnett give tremendous performances in this creepy film about aliens.
8. As Above, So Below (2014)
This fan favorite follows a team of explorers who venture into the catacombs beneath Paris in search of the Philosopher's Stone but soon realize that the spirits of the dead haunt the tunnels.
9. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
A documentary crew follows a serial killer as he prepares to go on a killing spree, but they soon realize he's not quite what he seems. The serial killer models himself after slasher film conventions, offering a unique meta-commentary on the horror genre.
10. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Three film students venture into the woods to make a documentary about the local legend of the Blair Witch. However, they soon become lost and experience strange and terrifying events. Like the lore surrounding The Fourth Kind, the marketing surrounding The Blair Witch Project led mainstream audiences to believe the footage they witnessed was 100% real, making the viewing experience all the more terrifying.
11. Afflicted (2013)
Two best friends set out on a journey around the world to film a documentary. However, their adventure turns dark when one of them begins to experience bizarre and terrifying symptoms after a night with a mysterious woman. As they try to uncover the truth behind his condition, they realize that a powerful and ancient evil force is hunting them.
12. Chronicle (2012)
Chronicle is an exception to most of the other films on this list, which are thriller and horror films. Chronicle, however, is an action sci-fi drama. Three high school students gain superpowers after coming into contact with a mysterious object, but they struggle to control their newfound abilities, and their friendships are put to the test.
13. Europa Report (2013)
A crew of astronauts on a mission to explore Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, encounter unexpected and terrifying phenomena. A large portion of the film is told through security cam footage.
14. Cloverfield (2008)
A group of friends in New York City witness and record the chaos and destruction caused by a giant monster that attacks the city. Cloverfield is a modern classic of the found-footage subgenre, and it has a respectable 7 rating on IMDb.
Jaimee Marshall is a culture writer, avid movie buff, and political junkie. She spends the bulk of her time watching and critiquing films, writing political op-eds, and dabbling in philosophy. She has a Communication Studies degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she flirted with several different majors before deciding to pursue writing. As a result, she has a diverse educational background, having studied economics, political science, psychology, business admin, rhetoric, and debate.
At Wealth of Geeks, Jaimee places an emphasis on film and television analysis, ranking the best [and worst] in media so you can find more diamonds in the rough and waste less time on box-office duds. You can find her articles on politics and culture in Evie Magazine, Katie Couric Media, Lotus Eaters, and Her Campus. You can also find her find her episode of Popcorned Planet, where she analyzes the Johnny Depp & Amber Heard trial. She has written extensively about due process, free speech, and pop culture.