Seven of the very best found footage horror films ranked

1999 Heather Donahue Stars In "The Blair Witch Project." (Photo By Getty Images)
1999 Heather Donahue Stars In "The Blair Witch Project." (Photo By Getty Images) /
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#1: The Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project – No list of found footage horror films is complete if it does not include 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. A small budget film with a cast of unknown actors, much of The Blair Witch Project’s dialogue was improvised, and the actors filmed themselves.

The unique storyline and filming style, along with a brilliant marketing strategy resulted in a film that became the standard for found footage. At the time of its release, it was widely believed to be a real story about three film students who disappeared in the woods in Burkittsville, Maryland while filming their own documentary about the Blair Witch.

A website was created, which included articles about the “missing students”, along with fake police reports. Missing flyers were made up and distributed when the film debuted at festivals, and on IMDb, the actors were listed as “missing and presumed dead.” There was even a fake documentary created (Curse of the Blair Witch), which only reinforced the belief that these were real events.  It was quite the sensation, and the marketing strategy definitely did its job.

The Blair Witch Project is often lauded as the “first” found footage horror film, but there were others before it (Cannibal Holocaust comes to mind). However, none of them had quite the impact on pop culture as Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick’s film. Two sequels have been released, Book of Shadows and the under-appreciated Blair Witch, but neither managed to hit the same nerve as their source material.

The Blair Witch Project, Curse of the Blair Witch and Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 are available on Tubi. Blair Witch is currently streaming on HBO Max.

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What found footage horror films would you add to this short list? Put your top picks in the comments section.