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Horror Film: Found Footage Horror

An exploration of the modern horror film, examining how we can successfully break down horror through a social justice lens.

Found Footage Horror

Found footage horror is a unique genre of horror, playing on the idea that the film is a real thing that happened that was recorded by the participants and later found and presented unedited. This is rarely the case and is almost always an aesthetic choice, but the modicum for how terror is created is vastly different from regular horror, and is definitely worth examining.

The films listed here are simply examples and are not a comprehensive list.

All posters are cited from


Cloverfield (2008) is an American found footage horror film documenting an extraterrestrial monster destroying New York City, and the journey that some of the New Yorkers take to not only escape, but to save one of their own. The film draws heavily on science fiction but, for the most part, is horror in that there is an incredible amount of tension created between the relationships of the characters and what they value: their own lives, or the lives of others. The film is incredibly reminiscent of 9/11 as well, speaking to issues of terrorism and attacks on the country.

Cloverfield can be viewed on Amazon.

Man Bites Dog

Man Bites Dog (1992) is a Belgian mockumentary found footage horror film that employs black comedy to tell a gruesomely dark story. In the realm of torture porn, it follows a series of documentary makers filming a serial killer as he murders people brutally. Eventually, they themselves get involved and are complicit in the murders, even murdering some of the people themselves.The film is shot through the lens of the documentary makers and is incredibly, incredibly horrific, but it's a great example of a combination of genres in horror.

Man Bites Dog can be rented from UK Libraries or viewed on Amazon.

The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project (1999) is, without a doubt, the most famous found footage horror film in current recorded history. It explores three people attempting to make a documentary based on an urban legend, The Blair Witch, and it follows their camerawork as they attempt to find this creature, only for them to be killed by it. It revolutionized the found footage technique and essentially created the genre as we know it today.

The Blair Witch Project can be rented from UK Library or viewed on Amazon.

Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity (2007) is an American found footage horror film, documenting a family being harassed by a supernatural presence in their home. Katie, one half of the couple who move into the house, becomes possessed by said demon and ends up killing her partner, Micah. The film is told through security cameras throughout the house, and has spawned five sequels, becoming wildly popular among fans of horror.

Paranormal Activity can be viewed on Amazon.

The Taking of Deborah Logan

The Taking of Deborah Logan.png

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) is an American found footage thriller film, exploring a documentary maker attempting to interview Alzheimer patients in their last years. Whilst filming, they discover something sinister going on with Deborah, and discover that she was possessed by a doctor attempting to achieve immortality. The film toys with the occult and with rituals, all through the lens of a filmmaker.

The Taking of Deborah Logan can be viewed on Amazon.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) is a Documentary style horror film following police attempting to use the video tapes of a series of horrible murders to identify the killer. It is documentary in style, but employs use of found footage in using the video tapes of the murders. It examines issues of terrorism, violence, and those who are innocent being charged with crimes they did not commit. It's incredibly brutal as well, looking at necrophilia and the use of balloons as a fetish in the murders.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes can be purchased from Amazon.