10 The Best Found Footage Horror Movies, Ranked

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The found footage or “discovered” footage film genre as we know it kicked off in 1961 with The Connection, a harrowing faux documentary about drug addiction. Found footage made the leap to the horror genre with 1980’s controversial Cannibal Holocaust, but it wasn’t until 1999’s The Blair Witch Project when it really took off. In the two decades since, found footage horror has been embraced by both indie filmmakers and Hollywood studios, due to the inherently low budget and immersive quality it affords.

While there have been plenty of flicks in the genre, the best found footage horror movies have a habit of getting under the skin and sticking with audiences for a long time. They feel authentic and real, offering some of the most terrifying and suspenseful scenes in horror. While found footage has bled into other genres to moderate success, horror is where this unique filming technique has really paid off. As we reflect on this unique sub-genre and gush about our favorites, we’ve compiled a list of the best found footage horror movies to help you sort between the chaff and the treasure. Listed in no particular order, here are our picks for the best found footage horror movies that you should watch!

If you are in rush here are the top 3 of the best movies that made it into my list.

Now, let’s get into the list of the best Found Footage Horror movies you have to watch.

1. V/H/S 2 (2013)

The original V/H/S came out in 2012 and offered an engrossing anthology of found footage short films created by talented up-and-coming horror directors. While the first movie was absolutely fantastic, V/H/S 2 turned everything up a notch, offering bigger scares, more blood, and better consistency between segments. Bouncing between tales of supernatural technology, alien abductions, and a good old-fashioned zombie apocalypse, V/H/S 2 hits all the high notes you’d expect from a quality horror anthology. Featuring stories from directors like Eduardo Sanchez, Gareth Evans, Simon Barrett, and more, there’s a pleasant variety in tone and terror. As with any other found footage horror movie, you’ll have to contend with a bit of shaky-cam, but it’s easy to see why this franchise reignited public interest in found footage horror. Thanks to the popularity of V/H/S and V/H/S 2, the series has become a mainstay in modern horror, with five total films in the franchise to date.

Click here to stream V/H/S 2 on Amazon.

2. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

It’s impossible to write a list about found footage horror movies and not include The Blair Witch Project, the flick that pushed the genre into the public eye. The movie was a phenomenon in the world of horror cinema when it was released, leading to dozens of copy-cats hoping to replicate the film’s success. Written and directed by Daniel Myrick, this supernatural suspense film follows a group of friends who embark on a hike into the woods of Maryland in search of a local urban legend. Hoping to catch the eponymous Blair Witch on film, the three pals descend into a nightmare they will never return from. When compared to some of the other found footage horror movies on this list, The Blair Witch Project is pretty slow-paced, but that didn’t stop audiences from being terrified in 1999. Without the ability to quickly fact-check their theories on the internet, movie-goers were left stumped after leaving the theater, unsure if they had just witnessed fact or fiction. Although the sequels leave a lot to be desired, there’s no denying just how influential and iconic The Blair Witch Project is.

Click here to stream The Blair Witch Project on Amazon.

3. As Above So Below (2014)

Fusing supernatural scares with an absolutely amazing premise, As Above So Below is easily one of the most underrated found footage horror movies ever made. The movie was written and directed by John Erick Dowdle and follows Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), a scholar and archaeologist who travels to Paris, France seeking the legendary philosopher’s stone. After recruiting friends both new and old, Scarlett and the team head into the winding catacombs beneath the city, voyaging deeper and deeper into the dark. Visceral, claustrophobic, and packed with cool ideas, As Above So Below mostly suffers from underdeveloped characters and a significant amount of shaky-cam, but it’s inventive and engaging all the same. Critics might turn up their nose at the film, but found footage fans who value a unique setting and concept will find a lot to love about As Above So Below. At the very least, watching this movie will send you down a rabbit hole about the Paris catacombs, which any fan of spooky places and interesting history will surely appreciate.

Click here to stream As Above So Below on Amazon.

4. REC (2007)

REC is a found footage film that’s so good they made it twice, starting with the 2007 Spanish original and followed by the American remake called Quarantine in 2008. While Quarantine is a respectable movie in its own regard, REC offers a far more anxious and unsettling viewing experience. Co-directed by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, the movie follows news reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) as she documents a night of work with a group of firefighters in Barcelona. When they answer a call at an old apartment building, Angela, her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso), and the firefighters run headfirst into a viral outbreak. Both suspenseful and in-your-face with its scares, REC is an unforgettable movie that will have you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of its 78-minute runtime. At the very least, it’ll be hard to get the haunting final shot out of your mind, likely resulting in an uneasy night’s sleep.

Click here to stream Rec on Amazon.

5. Cloverfield (2008)

The best found footage movies do an excellent job grounding the audience with a small group of characters and forcing them to view events from their perspective, making them far more immersive than a standard Hollywood blockbuster. This masterfully mysterious movie takes that concept and mixes it with classic monster movie tropes, providing viewers with a truly unique experience. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the movie follows a group of New York City residents whose party is interrupted by chaos and a city-wide evacuation. Disoriented, confused, and unsure of how to proceed, the small group of friends take to the streets with a camera in hand and try to get a better grasp on the unfolding situation. Cloverfield is one of those movies where it’s best to go into it blind, so we wouldn’t want to spoil anything here. Simply put, Cloverfield is one of the coolest and most intense found footage horror movies out there, provided you can withstand the excessive amount of shaky-cam.

Click here to stream Cloverfield on Amazon.

6. Paranormal Activity (2007)

If there’s one movie that demonstrated how a low-budget found footage production could still hit big at the box office, it’s Paranormal Activity. Released in 2007 and directed by Oren Peli, this suspenseful flick follows Katie (Katie Featherson) and Micah (Micah Sloat), a couple who experience an onslaught of supernatural experiences at their home in California. Filmed without a proper script and minimal camera crew, the movie cost around $15,000 to produce, but still made nearly $200 million at the box office. Echoing a similar reaction from audiences as The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity received tons of praise for its realistic performances, slow-burn terror, and inventive use of the found footage technique. While other movies on this list bask in bloody violence, Paranormal Activity applies the brakes and achieves a remarkable atmosphere of dread and suspense by utilizing long, unbroken shots and haunting visuals. Like the V/H/S series, Paranormal Activity has since become a full-blown film franchise, containing seven films in total.

Click here to stream Paranormal Activity on Amazon.

7. Creep (2014)

We all know someone that’s a bit too peculiar for their own good, often leaving us feeling uncomfortable in their presence time and time again. Creep, directed by Patrick Brice, takes that idea and runs with it, offering up a found footage horror movie that’s deeply unsettling. The movie centers on Aaron (Patrick Brice), a videographer who takes up a gig recording a video diary for a terminally ill client named Josef (Mark Duplass). As the pair work on the project together, things get weirder and weirder, leaving Aaron feeling paranoid and anxious. With a stunning performance from Mark Duplass and a notable amount of restraint that prioritizes quality suspense of cheap jump-scares, Creep takes a bare-bones setup and executes it to stunning results. Culminating in a shocking ending that will leave you slack-jawed, Creep serves as a reminder that if something feels off, you should probably turn tail before it’s too late.

Click here to stream Creep on Amazon.

8. Trollhunter (2010)

Trollhunter (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen (Actors)
  • Andre Ovredal (Director) - André Øvredal (Writer) - Marcus B. Brodersen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

Last update on 2024-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Written and directed by Andre Ovredal and combining fantasy action with unnerving horror, Trollhunter is an exceptionally original found footage film that deserves your attention. This Norwegian horror flick follows a group of students who set out to create a film about wildlife poachers, but in the process, stumble upon the existence of mythological trolls in the wilderness. Despite the questionable premise, Trollhunter smartly uses found footage to create a spectacle that’s both believable and entertaining. Refusing to be a one-trick pony, the movie doubles down on its wild story and builds up a solid mythos, keeping the monster encounters fresh throughout. While it doesn’t provide the same level of scares as many other heavy hitters on this list, Trollhunter excels with its unique concept and tremendous execution. It’s not every day you see a movie about trolls that’s bloody, creepy, and exciting, so we’ll take every chance at our disposal to praise this quirky Norwegian flick.

Click here to stream Trollhunter on Amazon.

9. Noroi: The Curse (2005)

While we’ve covered Noroi: The Curse before on our list of the top 15 best Japanese horror movies, this is a found footage film that more people should watch, as it’s both complex, disturbing, and does a great job highlighting Japanese folklore. Directed by Koji Shiraishi, Noroi: The Curse centers on Masafumi Kobayashi (Jin Muraki), a paranormal investigator who tracks leads across Japan and makes documentaries about his investigations. Following a string of strange occurrences, Kobayashi begins to unravel a conspiracy involving demons, psychics, and even a possessed actress. In addition to the positive reception regarding its use of the found footage technique, Noroi: The Curse has also been praised for its intricate mythology, anxious atmosphere, and effective scares. While the runtime of nearly two hours might feel a bit long at times, Noroi: The Curse is worth the investment, as it’s easily one of the best found footage horror movies ever made.

Click here to stream Noroi: The Curse on Amazon.

10. Apollo 18 (2011)

Found footage horror movies usually follow somewhat similar premises, for better or worse. Ghosts, killers, and monsters are often the subject of a given found footage film, so it’s a nice treat when a movie shakes things up. While Apollo 18 might not be the most terrifying or impressive movie on this list, it deserves a nod, as it’s one of the few found footage horror movies set in space. Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, the movie follows a crew of astronauts as they travel to the Moon in 1974. Although they intend on gaining military intelligence, the crew uncovers signs that they may not be alone on the cold and desolate planet. Overall, Apollo 18 is a great movie to turn on when you just want to kick back, relax, and check out a horror film that doesn’t make you think too much. With its interesting setting and fun scares, Apollo 18 is a guilty pleasure that should excite both sci-fi and horror fans.

Click here to stream Apollo 18 on Amazon.

Final Thoughts on Found Footage Horror

We’ve covered ten great found footage horror movies on this list, but there’s still a sea of other quality titles that are worth checking out. In fact, if you’re truly enamored by the technique, almost every found footage movie out there is worth watching. If the horror genre grants the audience a window into worlds of terror from the safety of their seat, found footage horror pushes that one step further, often placing the viewer directly behind the camera. Through this intimate and grounded filming technique, we get a front-row seat to all the action, slowly becoming a part of the action rather than an observer. It’s a testament to the genre that even after twenty years, found footage movies continue to push the boundaries of horror, creating unforgettable moments and remarkably creative stories. With any luck, the next two decades will be just as bountiful for this understated genre, as we can’t get enough of the best found footage horror movies that the cinematic world can throw at us.