5 found footage films to love in honor of Blair Witch


Believe it or not, the movie that popularized found footage, The Blair Witch Project, turns 20 on July 14. Found footage seems to be the most polarizing sub-genre in all of horror, people either love it or loathe it.

Spoiler alert: I love found footage, and in honor of TBWP, I’m going to recommend some of my favorite flicks. Note that I am focusing on lesser-known independent flicks, rather than super-popular ones like Paranormal Activity.

5 Found Footage Films to Love:

5. Hell House LLC

A cast of unknown actors portray the staff of Hell House, LLC, who put together a very popular haunted house attraction each year at Halloween. In 2009, Hell House was operated out of the abandoned Abaddon Hotel in New York, and things didn’t go as planned.

On opening night, what authorities describe as “an unknown malfunction” caused the deaths of fifteen staff members and tour-goers inside Hell House. One staff member, Sara, was missing, but shows up five years later with previously unseen video footage shot by staff members during their preparation for the ill-fated opening night.

As is often the set-up for ff films, a documentary crew wants to interview Sara and tell the story of Hell House LLC. Folks, this video footage is genuinely creepy, and coulrophobics should note that it includes the most terrifying clown I have ever seen onscreen.

Hell House LLC – Courtesy Terror Films

For the ultimate experience, watch this one with all of the lights in your home turned off. Hell House LLC can be seen on Shudder.

4. The Houses October Built

Another Halloween haunted house storyline is the setup for this one. A group of haunted attraction loving friends set out to visit the scariest haunts in America during the Halloween season.

They’ve heard rumors of an extreme haunt called Blue Skeleton, which is said to use real torture techniques, and moves around from location to location. During their pursuit of this haunt, they manage to tick off staff members at the locations they visit, due to the fact they are filming everything.

Found Footage – The Houses October Built – Courtesy Room 101

People in creepy costumes show up at their RV at night, and it seems they might be part of the coveted Blue Skeleton experience. Our group gets to experience Blue Skeleton, but it’s not fun. There’s also a decent sequel to THOB, and you can see both on Amazon Prime.

3. The Last Broadcast

Documentary film-maker David investigates the mysterious murders of two cable tv hosts and their sound man while in search of the mythical Jersey Devil. A psychic was the sole survivor of the brutal attack, and was subsequently charged with the murders.

David receives damaged video footage that includes the murders, and hires an expert to repair the footage and solve the murders. As we get closer to seeing the restored footage, the story gets scarier. Despite its far-fetched ending, The Last Broadcast is a creative found footage movie, especially since it was made on a budget of $900. I could not locate a streaming option for The Last Broadcast, but you can purchase the DVD on Amazon.

Found Footage – The Last Broadcast – Courtesy FFM Productions

2. The St. Francisville Experiment

This one gets a lot of hate from the horror community, but I actually liked it a lot, amateur acting performances aside.  It’s the standard story of a group of paranormal investigators spending the night in a haunted location while armed with video cameras.

The location is a mansion in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and its back story is based on the horrifying true story of Delphine LaLaurie. You may remember her story, since Kathy Bates portrayed LaLaurie in American Horror Story: Coven. If not, look it up, she was one twisted sister!

Again, these are NOT great actors, so please know that going into it. But, despite some cheesy scares (including a cockroach crawling into a sandwich), I found some of the scares effective, and I really like this obviously cheaply made movie. You can watch The St. Francisville Experiment for free on Amazon Prime.

1. Butterfly Kisses

This is a recent movie, and it gave me new hope for the found footage genre, which has gotten kind of stale over time. I LOVED this flick.

Film students Sophia and Feldman are making a thesis film about the legendary Peeping Tom and we first see Sophia’s self-recorded image telling us that she doesn’t expect to be alive too much longer. Peeping Tom is said to materialize if you stare down the Ilchester Tunnel for an hour without blinking, and he gets closer to you each time you blink. Eventually, he gets close enough to brush you with his long eyelashes, which will cause you to blink a final time before dying.

Found Footage – Butterfly Kisses – Courtesy Cyfuno Ventures

Cut to aspiring documentarian Gavin, who found Sophia’s tapes in his parents’ basement. He wants to make a documentary proving whether or not the tapes are fake, and is using up all of his money (and his parents’) to make his movie happen.

As we go back and forth between Sophia and Gavin, we see Gavin’s obsession sending him into a downward spiral, and we learn that Sophia and Feldman theorized that their camera would simulate an unblinking eye. Unfortunately, shutting the camera off counts as a blink, so what does that mean for their chances of encountering Peeping Tom?

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The final third of Butterfly Kisses is a roller coaster ride, and I thought it ended perfectly. If you want to see a creepy, fresh approach to the found footage genre, you can watch Butterfly Kisses for free on Amazon Prime.

Now I want to know what your favorite found footage movies are, readers. Use the comments section to give me your recommendations.