Yet another found footage movie, Apollo 18, hits theaters tomorrow. The found footage genre has become a mainstay of horror, with its flickering video and shaky cameras. But what are the best, most terrifying moments of found footage horror?
We've gone through the whole history of the genre and compiled the absolute best of the found footage genre. Ranked in order of terror, here's our list of the best "found footage" scares.
Diary of the Dead
George A. Romero's hand held zombie movie may not of had a lot of scary moments, but it did have one particularly creepy scene. When the group meets back up at the mansion of the spoiled rich kid Ridley, he informs them that he had to "bury" his parents and servants. And by bury, he meant throw them in the pool. Cue the scene of a bunch of discombobulated zombies walking around at the bottom of a full pool.
The Fourth Kind
This Milla Jovovich starring alien abduction mockumentary was cobbled together with "actual" patient footage from Dr. Abigail Emily Tyler and her troubled (alien-abducted) patients. To give it a spin, the production recreated the fake footage with a team of actors (Milla) to show what they couldn't show you on the tapes in an attempt to give the film some "found footage" cred. It didn't really work, but the first time Dr. Abbey hypnotizes a patient and he turns into a CB radio for a pack of pissed-off aliens (hovering oddly over the bed) is fairly creepy. Granted, that trick gets used again and again, but the first time, there were visible chills in the theater.
An assignment for a ghost hunting reality show goes horribly bad when the "Grave Encounters" crew explores the Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital (an abandoned mental hospital with a history of patient abuse and spooky activity). We would have included the creepy half naked spirit girl (above) moment but we all already saw her in the trailer. So that ghost cat was out of the bag way before the release date. So instead we give you the big jump-scare finale. Sure, it may be an homage (or giant rip off) from the creepy video camera moment from House on Haunted Hill but the roaring ghosts got out butts out of the seats (even if only for a second).
Paranormal Activity 2
The kitchen surprise scene in PA2 almost made up for the hours of nothingness that movie otherwise delivered. Almost.
Not a horrifying film overall, but this movie set the bar on awesome monster gore when it went full Troll in the first half of the film. The audience had no idea what to expect to come lumbering out of those trees, and holy shit were they surprised.
When a giant monster attacks New York, who knew the tiny little fuckers it sheds off it's back would be more horrifying than the giant sea beast itself? A gaggle of 20-somethings try and hoof it up the subway system of NYC to help a friend. What they find in the tunnels is a collection of big nasty spider creatures hungry for their flesh! Rule number one of any apocalypse movie, avoid tunnels!
Let's give credit where credit is due, Quarantine is a shot for shot remake of the Spanish outbreak horror flick REC (which is also crazy scary). Sadly I couldn't find the above scene from REC online, so we'll just give praise to both pictures. While many folks think the last five seconds of the film (where the girl is dragged off) is the scariest moment. They are wrong. The best part is the one-two punch of the first reveal of the evil zombie followed by the stumbling whitey tighty zombie the quarantined news crew finds themselves trapped in an attack with (don't make any sudden noises!).
The Last Exorcism
We thought we'd had our fill of little girls writing around possessed by the devil. Not so. Lost soul Reverend Cotton Marcus spends his days "exorcising" the demons. But the truth of the matter is, he's a con man who's lost faith (haven't they all). But everything changes when he meets Nell (played by the brilliant Ashley Bell) who is the real deal. Without spoiling the end (which was another pretty scary moment) we have to vote the barn exorcism scene as the best bit of found footage we've seen in a while. Especially with the sound effects they added with every bone snapping head twist.
Paranormal Activity There are so many moments to choose from the first Paranormal Activity. But, the final clip basically encompasses everything that made this movie terrifying. Thudding footsteps, hours of creepy bed hovering, and finally the big off camera kill. What happened? Who knows! Everyone's dead!
The Blair Witch Project Truly, Blair Witch set the bar on found footage scares. And while many folks would argue that the final corner scene is the scariest moment of the feature, we would argue that shit really takes a turn the morning Heather finds pieces of their lost camper Josh wrapped up in his flannel shirt. Then has to wash off his remains in the river. Is he alive, is he dead, what exactly did this witch cut off, teeth, hair and eyeball, doesn't matter it's all frightening.