When ‘The Blair Witch Project’ came out in 1999 few thought an entire genre of horror movies would emerge. The film looked so original to the point many believed it was real footage of young adults getting slaughtered in the woods. The handheld shaky cameras added to the illusion that we were really watching the end of their lives.
Following the film’s success, others have tried their hand at the found footage genre of horror filmmaking. These are some of the lesser known horror movies that followed ‘The Blair Witch Project.’
According to the IMDB page, this film was entirely unscripted. Not your average comedy improv show, ‘Area 407’ is a darker tale. Beginning with a realistically terrifying plane crash where the survivors face off against a number of unseen monsters eating them, we watch as the horror continues.
The film does drag at some points, which is why it never received a lot of attention. However, considering there were no notable actors and they managed to completely pull off a realistic and believable feel throughout the film, this is still worth watching if you have the time.
Directed by well-known producer Barry Levinson, ‘The Bay’ might be the most terrifying film I have seen. Taking place in Maryland at a 4th of July celebration, we watch as one small town by the sea erupts into its own apocalypse. A disease has broken out and everyone in the city has been quarantined with little knowledge as to what is causing boils to grow all over their skin. Scariest of all, this could potentially happen in real life.
‘The Bay’ is more than a film preaching love for our ecosystem. While there is a direct message, there is still plenty of horror.
There is very little negative about this film other than certain sequences of the found footage seemed a little too convenient. Throughout we switch between the footage caught by a news crew, security tapes, and other home footage. The narrator is one of the survivors recapping the conspiracy the government helped to cover up, keeping the film moving along at some points.
From Norway comes ‘Trollhunter,’ a film about exactly what the title suggests. A trio of college students follows a local hunter around trying to get information from him on what he’s hunting. Eventually he gives in and admits that he hunts trolls. Skeptical, they follow him into the woods where they see their first mammoth blood-thirsty troll.
For what it was ‘Trollhunter’ was a great film on the originality scale. Its biggest weakness is how long it took before we had a chance to see the trolls. Still, the originality of the story outweighs any small problems otherwise present.
The Last Broadcast
Not all found footage horror films came after ‘The Blair Witch Project.’ A film that came out in 1998 is actually the predecessor. ‘The Last Broadcast’ is a clear influence and thanks to calendars we know it came first.
Instead of going into the woods to find the Blair Witch, this film has a search for The Jersey Devil. An equally as elusive and evil creature, we watch as the crew enters the darkness of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey only to suffer a terrible fate.
The film’s ending might be the biggest faux pas of all. It makes it too obvious that the interviews were scripted and that everything we just watched never really happened. The beauty of ‘The Blair Witch Project’ was that they kept to the idea of everything on screen being true. If the directors could go back and do it all over again, I’m sure they would.