Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lost and Found - Best Found Footage Films

I have not yet gotten the chance to see the new Blair Witch, but I know I will. It was not necessarily a foregone conclusion, since found footage style filming is generally a turnoff for me. But, there are some shining examples that use this technique to its best creative ability, where the choice to do this is organic, and not an obvious side effect of a nonexistent budget. Most horror films, especially from upstarts, are all in this predicament, but those writers and directors don't all turn out garbage as a result. The deliberate and careful choice of found footage can pay dividends. Here's where.

Always important for me is the use of found footage in a way that makes narrative sense to the film. That's done beautifully here, as it records the very premise of the film, namely, the fraudulent performance of exorcisms and the exploitation of the spiritual gullible. It pulls you into a realistic world, so that the supernatural as it's filmed here can be much more effective. A unique approach to an overdone style, AND an overdone topic? Wonderful.

This should not come as a surprise. We have made fun of this film without end ever since it was released, but let's be honest. That is more due to the acting than anything else. The pacing of this film, and especially the rotation of different kinds of cameras, was effective storytelling, highlighting those horrifying moments in their simplicity. Perhaps we could argue that certain scenes are too forced, too staged, but it does not detract from the outcome, most importantly, putting found footage on the map.

Here is tension mixed with horror, and the deft ability of the filmmakers to weave the connection between their tale and deeper ethical issues of journalism, evidence creation, cover-ups, and the like. The man holding the camera is a true character, who acts and makes decisions. It's truly a shame this was remade, because it overshadows the power of this original.   

Of course you try to capture trolls on camera. Obviously. Are you seeing the thread here? Organic storytelling is paramount, as is using the right film qualities to properly convey not only your plot but your mood. Done brilliantly in this Norwegian piece -great filters and coloration, so that when you do actually capture the troll on film, my jaw dropped at the sheer scale of the frame. That darn good. Euro indie filmmaking at its best.

Hands down, the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. And I've seen it all. Part of it is the film quality, the grainy grittiness of it that makes you feel unclean just watching it. The other part is what you're watching. The line between reality and filmmaking is very grey, especially with actual violence against animals and sexuality approaching porn. I am not at all ashamed to say that I had to turn my head away. The only horror film I could not finish. And unlike some small minded people who scoff and cry out about films such as this degrading our society, I can appreciate this as a supreme artistic effort. Art should challenge and disgust us. Else, why does it exist at all?  


  1. Kathrym, I'd like to link to this for my 10/26 World Wide Wednesday column at fanlit. It's so good and thought-provoking.