“I’m afraid to close my eyes. I’m afraid to open them.”
In 1999, The Blair Witch Project brought the found footage style of horror movies to mainstream audiences, and the world has been plagued by the phenomenon ever since.
As a devout lover of horror movies, I have my problems with the whole found footage subgenre, or any movie “based on real events.” Mostly this is because many such films have low budgets, and the narrative style is a means to cleverly disguise that fact while spending money elsewhere. In reality, found footage films end up with a frustrating imbalance between “rising” action and climax; more often than not, we find ourselves forced to watch unreasonably long expositions before being treated to a few lackluster scares and [anti]climactic moments.
Since Blair Witch was among the first of its kind, however, most notably predated by 1980’s Cannibal Holocaust, and because it came in riding the wave of the self-aware if not downright meta teen-centric horror films of the ’90s, the scare factor was real. The isolation, impending darkness, gradual descent into insanity, and utter helplessness recounted in the discovered video footage of three student filmmakers seeking out the legendary Blair Witch terrified audiences, and the image of one teen’s nose and eyes illuminated only by camera light remain synonymous with horror to this day.
So what’s scarier than well-done found footage in the movies? Real life found footage. And we have it here. Be warned: Some of this footage is disturbing.