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Author Topic: Okay...enough with the "found footage" horror film craze already  (Read 1541 times)
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hepcat
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« on: October 31, 2011, 08:22:37 PM »

So I watched not one, but two found footage horror films last week.  You know the genre.  Its biggest and most influential entry was The Blair Witch Project, but it's been shoved into the limelight even more by the success of the Paranormal Activity franchise.  

Let's recap the found footage horror films I've had to sit through over the last 3 years:

1) Paranormal Activity 1 (okay, but the hype was more impressive)
2) Rec (actually enjoyable...this is the original Spanish version and it still packs one of the scariest endings to a film ever)
3) Paranormal Activity 2
4) Rec 2 (okay, but not as good as the first)
5) Quarantine (Rec remake)
6) Paranormal Entity (it was late, I was drunk, I thought it was Paranormal Activity 2 on netflix streaming)
7) Fourth Kind (the less said about this, the better)

And I'm being honest when I say that I don't think that's all of them.

So last week I hear good things about a horror movie out of Canada called Grave Encounters.  I see it's on Vudu so I rent it Friday night.  While not awful, it was far from good.  Mediocre with a really stupid, lazy ending is how I'd define it (imho).  I don't regret seeing it, but I do regret paying 5.99.  

Saturday night I was invited to see a special screening of some new (new to the states, that is) Spanish horror film called Atrocious.  Sure, I thought.  Why not?  

Why not?

Those two words will haunt me to my dying day.

What happens when you don't really have a story and you need to get at least 70 minutes onto a tape so you can get it in theaters?  

You pad.  And boy, this movie is the king of padding.  It's the godd#mn Orsen Welles of padding.  It pads like it invented padding just last night.  

We have numerous scenes of a camera held at waist height while the carrier runs through a forest for...and I kid you not...10 minutes at a time.  It doesn't help that it has the single stupidest villain/monster/plot ever encountered in a film in this area.

So that's it.  I hereby declare the found footage genre to be done.  It needs to end now.  Seriously, why do we have to be punished for the lack of any real ingenuity in today's horror film makers?
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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 08:27:30 PM »

But I just found these weird tapes in my basement... Oh well, into the trash they go.
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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 08:28:25 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on October 31, 2011, 08:27:30 PM

But I just found these weird tapes in my basement... Oh well, into the trash they go.

If they're anything like the ones you "found" last Halloween, it's just 42 minutes of you in a Pokemon outfit screaming at a plate of cocktail weenies.
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 08:30:18 PM »

There was that one with monster attacking Manhattan. Ick.
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« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 08:32:39 PM »

Quote from: Purge on October 31, 2011, 08:30:18 PM

There was that one with monster attacking Manhattan. Ick.

I kind of enjoyed that because at least it was a unique take on a Godzilla style film.  It was weak in a lot of areas, but I appreciated what they were trying to do.  I didn't really consider it a horror film.  More of a monster of the week, sci fi flick.

That being said, I know A LOT of people who don't agree with me on this and absolutely loathe Cloverfield.
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« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 08:34:27 PM »

Ive seen 'The Blair Witch Project'. 'Atrocious', The Blair Witch Project you ain't. 
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 08:41:07 PM »

I saw The Last Exorcism and Troll Hunter recently on Netflix. I thought they were okay.

Screened wrote a piece on this recently.
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hepcat
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 08:47:13 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on October 31, 2011, 08:34:27 PM

Ive seen 'The Blair Witch Project'. 'Atrocious', The Blair Witch Project you ain't.  

Were you equally annoyed at the "reveal" at the end of Atrocious?  

Quote from: spigot on October 31, 2011, 08:41:07 PM

I saw The Last Exorcism and Troll Hunter recently on Netflix. I thought they were okay.

Screened wrote a piece on this recently.

Troll Hunter wasn't really a horror film, though. And yeah, it's quite good.  And the Last Exorcism was definitely one of the better entries in a usually disappointing field of filmmaking (at least in my opinion).
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« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 08:57:54 PM »

Cloverfield was a "Survival Horror" flick all the way. They also had shaky cam far too much (due to the "lost footage"). They all die. Kinda meets the requirements, no?
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 09:01:57 PM »

Quote from: Purge on October 31, 2011, 08:57:54 PM

Cloverfield was a "Survival Horror" flick all the way. They also had shaky cam far too much (due to the "lost footage"). They all die. Kinda meets the requirements, no?

I also feel that Godzilla films aren't horror films but I can see where others would disagree with me.  To me, the intimacy isn't there.  The horror in that type of film is a giant, 200 foot tall monster that can never, ever sneak up on you and isn't really after you exclusively.  It wants to destroy all of mankind...and not always because of hostile intent, but just because of its nature.  I know I'm nitpicking but that's just how I view those types of films. 

Cloverfield, to me, was just a found footage version of a kaiju film.
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2011, 09:08:01 PM »

Loved Blair Witch and Cloverfield.  The PA films were good (lame on-screen CGI ending spoiled 1, IMO).  Looking forward to Troll Hunter, as I've heard good things.

Also, has anyone seen Apollo 13?  How was that?
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« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2011, 09:10:30 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on October 31, 2011, 09:08:01 PM

Loved Blair Witch and Cloverfield.  The PA films were good (lame on-screen CGI ending spoiled 1, IMO).  Looking forward to Troll Hunter, as I've heard good things.

Also, has anyone seen Apollo 13?  How was that?

Apparently Tom Hanks was very good and folks really liked...

...wait...you mean Apollo 18? 

Ah, that's different.  Wasn't well received I guess.
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« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2011, 09:11:04 PM »

Liked Blair Witch, loved Cloverfield, and I've greatly enjoyed all of the Paranormal Activity movies. I don't know if it's "found footage" but I think The Devil Inside looks great.
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« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2011, 09:12:59 PM »

The tragedy is that if done right, found footage horror films can be devastatingly scary (Watch the closing scenes of the original Spanish version of Rec for a damn good example.).  It's just that so few film makers are actually good at it and Hollywood (and horror film makers in general) are so blatantly out of ideas for the genre that they just crank them out no matter how bad they are.  They're banking on the concept to sell the movie, not the execution.  
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« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 09:35:09 PM »

Hollywood is mostly about repeating a successful formula. That includes slasher films, handi-cam movies, The Matrix style slo-mo, spinning camera effects, 3-D, "found footage," everything. But they're in love with "found footage" imho because it's a way to make cheap horror films with usually no-name casts that often rake it in at the box office. Or that are so cheap they don't need to even do well at the box office to cover production costs.

imho, the format isn't inherently terrible. If the screenplay and cast are good, then the "found footage" stuff can really make it work but I think most films that resort to it are just lousy or mediocre to begin with. In a lot of cases, the "found footage" gimmick is the only thing the movie has going for it because the characters are unappealing, or the story's lame, or the FX are mediocre etc.

Paranormal Activity 3 dropped from a $54 million opening weekend to $18 million, so perhaps there's a sign people are getting tired of the gimmick.
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2011, 09:51:22 PM »

ah, Paranormal Entity... I felt dirty after watching the ending to that one.
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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2011, 10:51:07 PM »

To this day the shaky cam footage of Prince of Darkness gives me shudders.  That movie messed me up as a kid.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2011, 10:54:23 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on October 31, 2011, 10:51:07 PM

To this day the shaky cam footage of Prince of Darkness gives me shudders.  That movie messed me up as a kid.

God I love that movie.  It's like someone took acid and decided to explain religion using quantum physics as the language and then just said, "Ah f it, I'm making a horror movie!". 
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2011, 08:42:18 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on October 31, 2011, 10:51:07 PM

To this day the shaky cam footage of Prince of Darkness gives me shudders.  That movie messed me up as a kid.

"We are broadcasting from the year 1-9-9..."   Aahhhhh!

Yeah, that one did a number on me too.
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2011, 01:37:58 PM »

I was just thinking that someone needs to make an entry into this genre in which the ghosts actually have the camera.

Ghost:  So, Bob here is going to levitate that urinal cake into the air just as the mortal starts to take a leak.  I'm going to move his hair and we're going to see if we can get him to whiz on himself.  Here, Mary, hold the camera for this.  Oh man, this is gonna be epic!  Casper who, bitch!?
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2011, 01:45:03 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on November 03, 2011, 01:37:58 PM

Ghost:  So, Bob here is going to levitate that urinal cake into the air just as the mortal starts to take a leak.  I'm going to move his hair and we're going to see if we can get him to whiz on himself.  Here, Mary, hold the camera for this.  Oh man, this is gonna be epic!  Casper who, bitch!?

Chronicle  icon_twisted
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« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2011, 02:02:58 PM »

So it's kinda like a co-op inFamous or Prototype meets high school drama then?
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« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2011, 02:06:01 PM »

While they're not ghosts, that still looks fun.  I'll have keep an eye on that one.
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« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2011, 02:11:39 PM »

Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino should do one where nothing actually happens, it's just all conversations while looking around the woods.
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« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2011, 02:16:24 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on November 03, 2011, 02:11:39 PM

Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino should do one where nothing actually happens, it's just all conversations while looking around the woods.

That was The Blair Witch Project in a nutshell.   icon_wink
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« Reply #25 on: November 03, 2011, 02:19:31 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on November 03, 2011, 02:11:39 PM

Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino should do one where nothing actually happens, it's just all conversations while looking around the woods.

So, kinda like The Happening then?
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« Reply #26 on: November 03, 2011, 02:35:12 PM »

I wonder if M. Night's career will ever recover from the string of horrible, horrible films he's made in recent years?
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« Reply #27 on: November 03, 2011, 02:39:18 PM »

Wasn't that Devil in the elevator thing an okay movie?

On topic - I loved Cloverfield and kinda liked Bare Witches as well. The new Chronicle actually looks interesting as well.
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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2011, 02:43:16 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on November 03, 2011, 02:35:12 PM

I wonder if M. Night's career will ever recover from the string of horrible, horrible films he's made in recent years?

You mean the bulk of his work?

The last movie of his I'd recommend to anyone is oh ... 11 years old? His movies trigger a Pavlovian response from me - but rather than salivating at the prospect of food, instead it's a flinch reaction to the idea of throwing away money and time.
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« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2011, 02:44:57 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on November 03, 2011, 02:39:18 PM

Wasn't that Devil in the elevator thing an okay movie?

it was decent, but he didn't direct it, he only came up with the story (someone else did the screenplay).
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« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2011, 02:46:21 PM »

Honestly, I have to agree.  Sixth Sense and Unbreakable are the only films I ever actually walked out of the theater feeling satisfied with.  The Village and Bitch in the Pool just felt cheap and amateurish.  The Happening I still refuse to believe was ever allowed to be made by a studio.  The Last Airbender was obviously a prank.
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« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2011, 02:48:12 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on November 03, 2011, 02:39:18 PM

Wasn't that Devil in the elevator thing an okay movie?

On topic - I loved Cloverfield and kinda liked Bare Witches as well. The new Chronicle actually looks interesting as well.

Bare Witches? Was this on Skinemax recently? And Devil was pretty bad, in both concept and execution. Who had a brain fart and thought it a good idea to greenlight a Shamalamadingdong movie about a group of people trapped in an elevator?
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« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2011, 02:50:58 PM »

They should do a movie where there's a group of filmgoers trapped in a theater having to escape watching a M. Night film.
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« Reply #33 on: November 03, 2011, 02:51:45 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on November 03, 2011, 02:50:58 PM

They should do a movie where there's a group of filmgoers trapped in a theater having to escape watching a M. Night film.

Brilliant.
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« Reply #34 on: November 03, 2011, 02:52:56 PM »

I would love to see Guillermo del Toro or Peter Jackson try their hand at a found footage horror film.
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« Reply #35 on: November 03, 2011, 02:55:19 PM »

Quote from: spigot on November 03, 2011, 02:51:45 PM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on November 03, 2011, 02:50:58 PM

They should do a movie where there's a group of filmgoers trapped in a theater having to escape watching a M. Night film.

Brilliant.

I've lived it - as close to real life tragedy as there ever was. slywink
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« Reply #36 on: November 03, 2011, 02:55:36 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on November 03, 2011, 02:52:56 PM

I would love to see Guillermo del Toro or Peter Jackson try their hand at a found footage horror film.

So you haven't seen "Bad Taste" then? slywink
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« Reply #37 on: November 03, 2011, 03:01:09 PM »

Perfect example of why he would be great at it (even though it was just cheaply made, not an actual example of the genre).  He made that film on a shoestring budget decades ago.  Imagine what he would do now?  
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« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2011, 01:08:09 AM »

While I am also a little tired of the "found footage" craze, I just watched a trailer for Chronicle, and while at first I thought I had an idea as to what it was about, it wasn't until the final rewind that got me pretty intrigued. 
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« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2011, 02:09:26 AM »

Yeah, I'm in for that one.  Kinda reminds me of what would have happened if the character from Prototype had a buddy with a flip cam with him when he started discovering his powers.
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