2. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Found Footage Horror goes back way further, but Blair Witch gave it a new lease of life.
The one that arguably restarted it all and proved that horror film audiences had an appetite for this sort of thing was also the one that changed the moviemaking landscape in how and why you use a handheld camera in cinema.
We spend a long time with this trio of film students lost in the woods, and it’s their panicked reactions to the seemingly mundane events around them, as well as the rapid breakdown of their friendship and increased paranoia that really sells the terror in a film where, let’s be honest, not a lot happens.
Recommended for you: The Blair Witch Project – How Does It Compare to Contemporary Horror Films
1. [REC] (2007)
By the mid-2000s, found footage horror had become a bit stale, but showed no sign of the trend ending. The first [REC] made found footage and zombies scary again as a palm-sweatingly tense thriller full of horrifying imagery and the beginnings of a really disturbing mythology.
This new take on zombies – a demonic possession virus as opposed to a bacterial one – really hits home as the product of a still devoutly Catholic country.
A TV reporter and her cameraman are trapped while filming a human interest story shadowing fire fighters and end up fighting for their lives in the claustrophobic corridors, stairwells and apartment rooms as the virus spreads among the residents.
The final scene easily ranks up there with the most terrifying ever and the final shot will stay with you for a long time.