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7 Best Found Footage Films About  Hauntings

Written By Vanessa Maki

Vanessa Maki is a queer Blerd and artist. She has written for a variety of publications including The Pink Advocate, The Gay Gaze, Dread Central, Horror Movie Blog and many more. She is weirder than you realize.

The idea of being haunted and stalked by forces that are aiming to hurt or kill you is terrifying. It’s part of why supernatural horror freaks people the fuck out. We can’t control what we can’t see or possibly understand. If you make it into found footage, then it’s even scarier because it looks more real and uncomfortable. You feel like you’re watching violence and potential tragedy (if the characters are likeable enough) play out for real on camera.

Found footage horror films with supernatural elements don’t always land, but when they do…you remember them. It’s not difficult to insert yourself into a situation that doesn’t feel so manufactured. So that’s why I’m focusing on some found footage horror films that hone in on haunting. And not just haunted houses, but also other spaces.

The Blair Witch Project

It might not be as effective as it was in the late ‘90s, but it’s still an eerie watch. The Blair Witch Project has a simple premise as it focuses on a group of friends making a documentary about the myth of the Blair Witch. Of course, they go missing and are never to be seen again. Everyone does die, and the film plays out in such a way that people thought it was real because the actors used their real names. The haunting expands beyond just the house that Heather ends up dying in, the woods are also being haunted by the witch. So there is no escaping your fate the moment you go beyond a certain point. And that’s why it’s somewhat effective. I do also recommend watching the direct sequel, Blair Witch (2016) as well, if you want a more modern feeling.

Paranormal Activity franchise

The franchise isn’t perfect by any means, and there are a few entries that aren’t great. But it still remains a popular found footage horror franchise. The films (aside from Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin) all focus on a demon named Tobi that terrorizes and haunts several families, working toward an end goal. Certain films in the franchise are more creatively scary than others. And the haunting themselves would make anyone run for the hills. After all, who wants to deal with your stuff or space being upended by a demonic presence?

Grave Encounters

Haunted asylums can be really hit or miss, and Grave Encounters might not be for everyone. However, it’s very nail-biting and uncomfortable to watch. The film follows a paranormal television crew that stays inside a haunted psychiatric hospital and never comes out again. Obviously, the initial decision to stay inside overnight was stupid. Of course, that doesn’t make the events any less scary as everyone is picked off one by one. It’s pretty damn creepy when you turn the lights off and sit in the dark to watch it. There’s also a sequel (that’s not generally liked), but if you want to see what happens to one of the characters, it might be worth watching.

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    Unfriended

    People can say what they will, but Unfriended is actually great and does properly capture the time in which it came out. The film follows some friends who are having a group Skype video call and are haunted by the vengeful spirit of a former classmate. Several of the deaths are gory, the characters are relatively unlikable and yet that aids to the film, and the haunting isn’t as easily escapable. Vengeful spirits are just that, vengeful. Yes, all the characters die, and whether they deserved to be haunted in the first place is up to you.

    Hell House LLC franchise

    A haunted hotel or a mansion might not sound interesting, but that’s entirely wrong. Hell House LLC is a good found footage horror franchise. The first and fourth film are the best of the four, with the middle films being up for discussion on their effectiveness. All the films (minus Hell House LLC Origins: The Carmichael Manor) take place in the Abaddon Hotel and focus on various people who are terrorized by the demons and spirits inside of it. The first film is one of the scariest horror movies (genuinely) in general, and you actually care what happens to the characters. The fourth film is also pretty scary and will make you yell at your screen for the characters to make better decisions. As for the middle films, it’s all about perception.

    Host

    The early days of the pandemic left a lot of us uncertain and scared in regard to sickness as well as isolation. But it’s impressive how creative people got when they were stuck inside. The film was done entirely on Zoom, the cast and crew did their own stunts etc., and overall it was a creative group effort. Host focuses on a group of friends who create a demonic entity during a seance that won’t leave them alone. It might sound like a typical premise for a found footage film, but it does it differently than you might expect. Instead of there being an existing entity, these characters create their own demise by playing stupid games. It’s creepy and does exactly what it needs to do.

    Deadstream

    Insufferable characters aren’t a new concept within the horror world, but the main character for Deadstream takes it to another level. The film follows Shawn (Joseph Winter), a YouTuber that’s looking to become popular again by staying overnight in a haunted house, one in which people have died within. The haunting isn’t meant to be fully scary, as there is a fair amount of humor in this film. But the scares that we do get work, and that’s in part due to the characters, especially the pathetic lead Shawn. The house itself is also effective in that nobody would want to stay there overnight by themselves, not to mention with someone who claims to be a super fan. Shawn does suffer, and the haunting is chaotic and silly. It’s a good watch if you want to laugh and yelp.