Written by: Paul Mannering
10. Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
A documentary crew is given full and exclusive access to the life of up-and-coming psycho killer Leslie Vernon.
The bat-shit insane aspect of this film is that it is set in a world where the movie killers are real. On that basis, the documentary crew carefully record Vernon’s preparations for his rampage.
All the tropes (a medical doctor who is going to be Vernon’s nemesis), teenagers lured to an abandoned house (all carefully prepared by the would-be-killer) and of course the Last Girl (perk and virginal) who will ultimately kill Vernon are in place. It is only when the night of slaying starts that the documentary crew try to call things off. Of course it gets twisted and the teens don’t fit their archetypes and nothing goes according to plan. Clever, original and only a little bit silly at the end.
The US remake of the Portuguese classic [REC] was a shot for shot retelling of the original story. It didn’t completely suck, but even with sub-titles the original was a much better (and more terrifying film) of a news crew trapped inside a quarantined apartment building with a squad of firefighters where the residents are turning into savage zombies. Jennifer Carpenter, more well known as serial killer, Dexter’s, sister was horribly miscast in the role that Manuela Velasco made her own.
8. Grave Encounters
Yes, it got a lot of stick from critics, but for a “Hey lets lock ourselves in an abandoned asylum for the night and film what happens,” movie – this was pretty damn terrifying. To make it even better, the ending was suitably grim – as I think all FF films should be.
7. Paranormal Activity
At the time of its release there were many sins that could be forgiven. The film was fresh, creepy and original. The endless plethora of sequels however have tarnished the original and the entire genre of found footage horror for all time.
6. The Conspiracy
Could also be known as “How to Troll Conspiracy Theorists” the idea of a global secret government and elite group who meet annually to gloat over their elite snobbery, is a common theme among CT’s. This film presents a very tangible conspiracy that plays on that scenario – right up until the end. Then it takes an odd twist. Many won’t be comfortable with that twist, as it doesn’t match their expectations. Which in itself, makes the film well worth consideration.
The Spanish e survival horror re-defined several genres. Using the ideas of an enclosed space, a government cover-up, a deadly virus and of course, zombies – to great effect. This film is carried by the lead actor, Manuela Velasco, who does a great job of well, doing her job (she’s a television host in Spain). The effects are tight, the terror is gripping and the film is the first in an increasingly bad franchise of sub-par sequels.
A classic monster hunting film with decent effects and some really chilling moments. An enhanced experience with a fine script, some good acting, and gorgeous cinematography that showcases the Norwegian countryside. The news clip at the end (an actual news clip, albeit edited) where the Norwegian politician responds to citizen concerns about electricity pylons being constructed in long lines across the landscape is worth the price of admission alone.
3. The Bay
One of my all-time favourite horror films and a classic among found footage films. An ecological disaster causes chaos in a Maryland town and the authorities start to censor and seize any video footage. The most chilling aspect of this film is that it’s close enough to the truth to make you feel very, very nervous.
A series of vignettes that run the gamut from in-freaking-sane to WTF? None of the stories had the meat to be their own full-length features, but in the short film format with the umbrella story was a perfect fit. Another film that went on to spawn some forgettable sequels, it took a saturated genre and gave it a fresh kick.
If you are a fan of the original Japanese movie, or the US remake. The number one terrifying film of 1990’s is unique (apart from the sequels). It is a found-footage film in a very particular way. The infamous video that transmits the curse has to be viewed by others in order to pass on the death sentence. With no clear origin on where the video came from – or how it was made (other than psychically) it stands as the greatest found footage movie ever.