Two Unique Takes On Found Footage Horror
Found footage film burst onto the scene as a new genre of horror, and while it was the filming method of the cult favourite The Blair Witch in 1999, it didn't really hit it's stride in popularity until the 2007 horror Paranormal Activity. What came next was a rush of found footage type horror situations to put the viewer firmly within the action, and while some were successful others just succeeded in making the audience feel motion-sick.
Since everyone started doing found footage the trend got outdated quickly. The idea behind why production crews wanted to make found footage films was sound - less production costs, more successful scares etc. - but the flood of the market and the rapid update of technology caused problems in found footage type methods. New and smarter technologies became the go to items of literally everyone, and when you have these updated mega pixels sitting in your pockets, watching a chunky hand-held camera throws the scare-factor back a few paces. Because of this, found footage horror movie makers had to get smarter.
And there are a few production companies that dared to bring the found footage horror genre into the modern age, and actually kind of managed it. Here are a few horror movies that focus on just that - but did the nail the new modern twist? Check them out here:
Jeruzalem is about two American girls who decide to go backpacking through the Middle East and in meeting a new friend on the plane, decide to head to the Holy city of Jerusalem in Israel. As they enjoy the sights and sounds of the city they soon discover that Jerusalem is under siege to demonic entities rising up through the gates of Hell in the biblical apocalypse.
This movie is filmed through the idea of "Google Glass" - ie. smart glasses that record everything and allow you to access internet information through the glasses. It's an intriguing way to combine the camcorder view of one person with the Internet connection, as it means that other programs can appear in the viewers eyes, such as news reports etc. It's filmed pretty smoothly, and a unique idea for sure that has some scary bits, such as the main girl wondering around lost in the darkened city, as well as having the smart glasses "find" faces in the dark.
But there are some really bad decisions in the movie too, which can make viewing the movie irritating and make you really hate the girl behind the glasses. Some of these decisions include going into what appears to be an abandoned mental hospital to find her friend she had only known for -what, a few days? - who has been "checked in" there for Jerusalem syndrome (wasn't it abandoned? If it wasn't abandoned, why is it abandoned now?), and the fact that she leaves the nightclub in a huff only to promptly get lost. She refuses to tell the group she is with that her friend is very clearly sick, and she is also the slowest runner ever. Any bad parts of the movie aren't just about her though - the image of a giant King Kong like demonic entity strutting around Jerusalem is just unnecessary and not really discussed at all.
If you can get over the negatives of this movie though, it is a pretty unique idea on both horror movies and the found footage genre. Definitely worth a watch.
Unfriended: Dark Web
I watched Unfriended: Dark Web on my friends big screen TV on their Xbox, and I was so accustomed to watching them use the Xbox Controllers to log in to streaming services that when we put Unfriended: Dark Web on I actually thought they were still doing things on the Xbox. The fact that this kind of control, and clicking, and chatting with your friends from the ease of your laptop, phone and TV is what made Unfriended: Dark Web work on a horror scale. There is nothing worse than the breech of your privacy, which is what the horror movie starts escalating as the main character buys a new laptop and becomes the target of the old owner who wants it back.
I was not expecting a good horror flick, so this took me a little by surprise. It seemed very realistic, what with cyber-stalking, fake images online, and the dark web being completely real. Using the screen as an all-encompassing laptop rather than just shaky images on a camcorder, Unfriended: Dark Web actually nailed the new genre of found footage horror.