The 25 Best Found Footage Horror Films

Joshua Leonard The Blair Witch Project 560x280Since The Blair Witch Project changed the way we enjoyed the horror genre, films have started to follow the same path to success and a new sub-genre has emerged, found footage.

The concept is simple and cheap. The idea behind a found footage film is to make it seem real, like what we are watching is the real video footage found following the events of the story. Just like in the Blair Witch Project, these films can either be perceived as fictional or rumored to be non-fictional until much later, usually when the film has reached theaters.

It has become such a popular sub-genre of the horror movie that in the past five years, over 100 of them have been made, pretty much making up the entire list of films of that genre. As we prepare for Halloween, let’s take a look at the best found footage films of all time and who knows, maybe you will try and watch a few of them too.

25. Grave Encounters 2

  • Release Date: October, 2012
  • Production Company: Twin Engine Films, Pink Buffalo Films
  • Director: John Poliquin
  • Starring: Richard Harmon, Leanne Lapp, Sean Rogerson, Dylan Playfair

24. The Last Broadcast

  • Release Date: March, 1998
  • Directors: Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler
  • Starring: Stefan Avalos, Lance Weiler, David Beard, Jim Seward

23. The Last Exorcism

  • Release Date: August, 2010
  • Production Company: Strike Entertainment, StudioCanal, Arcade Pictures
  • Director: Daniel Stamm
  • Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell

22. Quarantine

  • Release Date: October, 2008
  • Production Company: Andale Pictures, Filmax, Vertigo Entertainment
  • Director: John Erick Dowdle
  • Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez, Columbus Short, Greg Germann, Dania Ramirez

21. The Den

  • Release Date: March, 2014
  • Production Company: Cliffbrook Films, Onset Films
  • Director: Zachary Donohue
  • Starring: Melanie Papalia, Matt Riedy, David Schlachtenhaufen

20. Afflicted

  • Release Date: April, 2014
  • Production Company: Telefilm Canada
  • Directors: Derek Lee, Clif Prowse
  • Starring: Clif Prowse, Derek Lee

19. As Above, So Below

  • Release Date: August, 2014
  • Production Company: Legendary Pictures, Brothers Dowdle
  • Directors: John Erick Dowdle
  • Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil

18. V/H/S

  • Release Date: October, 2012
  • Production Company: Bloody Disgusting, The Collective
  • Directors: Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg
  • Starring: Several People over the course of the different stories.

17. The Visit

  • Release Date: September, 2015
  • Production Company: Blinding Edge Pictures, Blumhouse Productions
  • Director: M. Night Shyamalan
  • Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn

16. Creep

  • Release Date: June, 2015
  • Production Company: Blumhouse Productions, Duplass Brothers Productions
  • Director: Patrick Brice
  • Starring: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice

15. Paranormal Activity

  • Release Date: September, 2009
  • Production Company: Blumhouse Productions, Solana Films
  • Director: Oren Peli
  • Starring: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

14. The Poughkeepsie Tapes

  • Release Date: April, 2007
  • Production Company: MGM Studios
  • Director: John Erick Dowdle
  • Starring: Bobbi Sue Luther, Samantha Robson, Ivar Brogger

13. Grave Encounters

  • Release Date: June, 2011
  • Production Company: West Wing Studios
  • Directors: The Vicious Brothers
  • Starring: Sean Rogerson, Asleigh Gryzko, Mackenzie Gray, Juan Riedeinger

12. Cannibal Holocaust

  • Release Date: February, 1980
  • Production Company: F.D. Cinematografica
  • Director: Ruggero Deodato
  • Starring: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen

11. Unfriended

  • Release Date: April, 2015
  • Production Company: Bazelevs Company, Blumouse Productions
  • Director: Leo Gabriadze
  • Starring: Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Renee Olstead, Courtney Halverson

10. [REC] 2

  • Release Date: October, 2009
  • Production Company: Filmax International, Castelao Productions
  • Directors: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
  • Starring: Manuela Velasco, Jonathan Mellor, Ariel Casas, Claudia Silva
  • Details: Most horror movie sequels that follow successful films end up terrible because they budget goes up and the number of people involved in the films creation does as well. It basically means that [REC] 2 should not be as good as it ended up being yet somehow they managed to pull it off.

9. The Blair Witch Project

  • Release Date: July, 1999
  • Production Company: Haxan Films
  • Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez
  • Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C.Williams, Joshua Leonard
  • Details: It wasn’t the first found footage film ever created but it was the one that left the largest impression on moviegoers and created an entire culture and sub-genre for film. The Blair Witch Project broke so many records, it is hard to even begin to list them all. Besides creating a new type of movie sub-genre, it also made $248 million at the box office on a budget of only $60,000. As far as independent films are concerned, that was one of the highest grossing.

8. Europa Report

  • Release Date: August, 2013
  • Production Company: Start Motion Pictures, Wayfare Entertainment, Ventures, LLC
  • Director: Sebastian Cordero
  • Starring: Christian Camargo, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Nyqvist, Karolina Wydra
  • Details: This is scary for one reason, space. Space is so big and so massive that your brain cannot even grasp the concept of infinite space. But to see a found footage film of a bunch of astronauts on Jupiter, now that is something we have been waiting for in this sub-genre.

7. Occult

  • Release Date: February, 2009
  • Production Company: Creative Axa Company Ltd., Image Rings
  • Directors: Koji Shiraishi
  • Starring: Mika Azuma, Horiken, Koen Kondo
  • Details: The movie has a documentary feel to it and at times, you might actually believe what you are seeing is real. But make no mistake about it, not a single found footage film on any list, anywhere, is a real life event. That would just not be legal to show, probably.

6. Hotel Hollywood

  • Release Date: July, 2010
  • Production Company: G S Productions
  • Director: Param Gill
  • Starring: Param Gill, Arsh Singh, Mehr Hassan, Rahul Nath
  • Details: It begins with a wedding but ends with a viral outbreak in a Hong Kong hotel for one week. As they are being quarantined, things slowly begin to get out of control as the virus spreads on the inside of the hotel and no one can stop it.

5. WNUF Halloween Special

  • Release Date: October, 2013
  • Production Company: Midnight Crew Studios
  • Directors: Chris LaMartina, James Branscome, Shawn Jones, Scott Maccubbin, Lonnie Martin, Matthew Menter, Andy Schoeb
  • Starring: Paul Fahrenkopf, Aaron Henkin, Nicolette le Faye
  • Details: The vintage style is back! WNUF Halloween Special is one of the most original found footage films ever created because it does not follow the same guidelines, it creates a new one, finding found footage, of a found footage.

4. Hollow

  • Release Date: September, 2011
  • Production Company: Virgil Films and Entertainment
  • Directors: Chris Corey
  • Starring: Stephen Schmaltz, Catrina Fagundes, Peter Wayne Burke
  • Details: Anytime a horror films puts the main characters heading to a monastery in Suffolk, England, you are almost guaranteed to have a grand mess of a blood fest. Hollow creates enough terror in your mind that you end up leaving the film looking over your shoulder.

3. Chronicle

  • Release Date: February, 2012
  • Production Company: Davis Entertainment, Dune Entertainment
  • Directors: Josh Trank
  • Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell
  • Details: The movie isn’t your stereotypical horror movie but it does cover enough elements of a horror film to be considered one. So we decided to chose it as our third best found footage film. It lacks the realism as the others, because you already know some of the actors, but it makes up for it with an incredible story.

2. [REC]

  • Release Date: November, 2007
  • Production Company: Filmax International, Castelao Productions
  • Directors: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
  • Starring: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano
  • Details: The night begins with a cameraman and a local television reporter covering the local fire station only to turn the table on the two of them when an old lady gets trapped inside her house, once inside the building, that is when things truly begin to unwind.

1. O. Unilateralis

  • Release Date: May, 2016
  • Production Company: Gloomy Sunday Productions
  • Directors: Bruce H. Bosley, Michelle Nessk
  • Starring: Bruce H. Bosley, Danial Fields, Michelle Nessk
  • Details: Having just come out earlier this year, it was not easy to make them the top pick but after a ton of research and a consensus of online viewers that would agree, O. Unilateralis is the best found footage horror film of all time. It gives you everything you want in this sub-genre including a government conspiracy and, even, aliens.