Topic: What constitutes a found footage film?

My local paper did a review of Sinister (3 out of 4 stars, by the way), but in the review he mentioned it borrowed the "found footage" aspect of The Ring.  Does anyone consider a character watching a video (or film) for a couple of minutes to be "found footage?"  Is 8MM a "found footage" film? 

Is there a percentage of movie time needed to make a film "found footage," such as Blair Witch 2 or The Last Broadcast?  How do you define a "found footage" film?  Personally, I'll describe it as something that is, say, 80% found with some wrap-around as a basis.

What say you?

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I will definetely watch it because of it's awesome trailer.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Did you actually read my post?

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Hmm, don't know about a specific percentage, but in my mind most of the film must be presented as real footage that was discovered, as opposed to films like The Ring and 8mm where the characters simply watch video or films.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Found_footage_(genre)

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

^^
I just tossed out the 80% as being "most of the film" being found.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

This is an interesting point that I have thought about Az.

For instance, Cannibal Holocaust is generally agreed upon, and considered, to be the first Found Footage movie.  Yet so much of it isn't Found Footage.

Obviously Blair Witch is in its entirety, which clearly ignited the genre (yes I know St. Francisville and The Last Broadcast were made before but they didn't get the genre going).

The Last Broadcast changed course at the end.  Does that change people's perceptions of it being Found Footage?

Then there's The Fourth Kind, which I think has some of the best and most terrifying Found Footage (including the audio part), yet so much of it isn't Found Footage.

So to answer your question Az, I don't know.  I do know The Ring would not be.  Paranormal Activity would be.  Others that are in the middle of having all or some of the movie as actual Found Footage may be if they have enough of it.  I think the best Found Footage movies are the ones that are Found Footage in their entirety.

Last edited by Ghostseeker (2012-10-15 20:55:34)

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

A found footage film, to me, is one which is supposedly nothing but "found footage" from the opening frame, with a documentary feel to them.  The Blair Witch Project, Quarantine, Diary of the Dead, for instance.

I've never considered Cannibal Holocaust a found footage film and would argue against that notion.  The found footage isn't the point of the movie, it's merely a plot device; it's only a part of a larger, fictional story about a guy who's investigating the found footage.  I wouldn't call it a found footage flick anymore than I would the Nic Cage flick 8MM.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

^^
Would you say something like The Last Broadcast is a faux-docu featuring found footage?  (until that odd ending, of course)

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I've never seen The Last Broadcast.  I could try to answer but I'd only be making shit up as I went along. lol

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

azathoth wrote:

My local paper did a review of Sinister (3 out of 4 stars, by the way), but in the review he mentioned it borrowed the "found footage" aspect of The Ring.  Does anyone consider a character watching a video (or film) for a couple of minutes to be "found footage?"  Is 8MM a "found footage" film? 

Is there a percentage of movie time needed to make a film "found footage," such as Blair Witch 2 or The Last Broadcast?  How do you define a "found footage" film?  Personally, I'll describe it as something that is, say, 80% found with some wrap-around as a basis.

What say you?


I am wondering if that guy even watched the ring!  I don't think he knew what he was talking about.  I think a movie has to be mostly shot as FF to be considered part of the genre.  The ring doesn't count!

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

^^
Put it this way, whatever he says about a movie, I take a 180 degree take on it.  He loves his rom-coms, has no idea about horror, and is 50/50 when it comes to action films.  For he is a "critic," on a higher plane than us mere plebeians.  <snarfle>

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

LoudLon wrote:

A found footage film, to me, is one which is supposedly nothing but "found footage" from the opening frame, with a documentary feel to them.  The Blair Witch Project, Quarantine, Diary of the Dead, for instance.

I've never considered Cannibal Holocaust a found footage film and would argue against that notion.  The found footage isn't the point of the movie, it's merely a plot device; it's only a part of a larger, fictional story about a guy who's investigating the found footage.  I wouldn't call it a found footage flick anymore than I would the Nic Cage flick 8MM.

Well said Lon.  I think that the term Found Footage has become too broad and people have a tendancy to lump any film that includes some kind of previously recorded/filmed material into the genre, when they really don't belong.  As for The Last Broadcast, though generally thrown in with The Blair Witch Project, it is really a faux documentary, and really, its claim to fame is that it is considered to be the first desktop feature, completed and even realeased entirely digitally, without the use of any film.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I don't know if I'd consider Blair Witch 2 found footage.  Obviously they review the footage but the bulk of the movie is in real life.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I think found footage is not simply a character in a movie finding footage, and any reviewer that would assume that`s what a found footage movie is, is hopelessly clueless. Found footage has to be a film that is either shot amateurishly or is in a mockumentary style and is purported to be real, it is found by someone (either in the film or not) and presented to us. Most if not all of the film has to be the `found footage`. More often than not the person filming it or at least hosting it dies or goes missing by the end, thus the footage is found. Movies like Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Diary of the Dead, the Last Exorcism etc.

Last edited by Theli (2012-10-16 17:16:15)

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Okay so the way I see "Found Footage" movies are is, it's a film that gives the effect it is (or could be) real - and more so than the way normal movies are shot. It's almost a scare tactic in itself, because it can scare you into believing this really happened. Like The Blair Witch Project, at first so many people believed it was real and that's what scared them more than anything. It also involves you more in the story if done correctly (which I'd say the majority aren't), because you feel as if you are there with the people in the movie ([REC]. - Grave Encounters, etc.).

I personally think the 'Found Footage' sub-genre (if you can call it that) has many different types than just the "one" which decides if a movie is found footage or not.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I watched this indie horror movie "Paper dolls" on youtube (the makers couldn't find a dvd distributor and releaed the entire movie on there) and that movie started off very much like a found footage movie but then after 5 minutes or so , it changed to a normal camera shot and most of the movie was shot like a normal movie with only a  few "found footage" camera shots. Does that count as a "found footage" movie then ?

Paper dolls trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b31kwMt8iOk

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

fmv-
From your description and the trailer, it looks like it would fall more into the Blair Witch 2 area, a movie that uses found footage as a plot device (props to Lon for that definition).

From the responses, it looks like the general opinion is that a found footage film has to be almost all found footage, a la Blair Witch.  Or Grave Encounters, which just has a quick non-found introduction.

Then we have the faux-documentary/mockumentary films like Cannibal Holocaust and The Last Broadcast, that use the found footage inside of a larger tale.

And then there is the full on (false or not) documentary that is just creepy, like Cropsey and the Toynbee Tiles.

Thanks for all the responses, I was wondering how people defined the term.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

For me it's a film made to look like it was made with a handheld camera by an amateur film maker or a home movie sort of thing that is lost by the makers either they hid it (like Poughkeepsie tape) or it was found after their death after an event (like Clover field) and then shown. V/H/S was like the inception of the found footage genre, a found footage within a found footage. The more realistic the better for me.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I thought of it having a found footage element... if that makes any sense. But now that you mention The Ring, I wouldn't consider that found footage at all. It's just inconsistent to me, so I'm just gonna go with saying that movies with majority found footage fit the description e.g. Grave Encounters, Blair Witch Project, V/H/S.

So yeah, your 80% criteria sounds good, but I would probably just think of it broadly as being most of the movie.

Off topic but what's up with the 4 star rating system, I hate it.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Interesting article about Found Footage on BrutalAsHell

http://www.brutalashell.com/2012/10/edi … es-to-die/

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

^ Thanks for the link Vasquez...good article.

I am a lover and supporter of FF, it is my favorite sub-genre and has generated some of my favorite movies ever.  Yet, even saying that, I totally agree with this line form the article:

Sure, there are some good found footage movies – those rare, occasional flashes of brilliance, like Troll Hunter, that can overcome all the motion sickness, but they’re so few and far between that they could never compensate for the rest of the imagination-free dross we’ve had to suffer through in these dark, post-BWP days.

Last edited by Ghostseeker (2012-10-20 21:45:46)

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Ghostseeker wrote:

^ Thanks for the link Vasquez...good article.

I am a lover and supporter of FF, it is my favorite sub-genre and has generated some of my favorite movies ever.  Yet, even saying that, I totally agree with this line form the article:

Sure, there are some good found footage movies – those rare, occasional flashes of brilliance, like Troll Hunter, that can overcome all the motion sickness, but they’re so few and far between that they could never compensate for the rest of the imagination-free dross we’ve had to suffer through in these dark, post-BWP days.


I don't know if I'm just used to it but I don't get motion sickness anymore.  The very first time I watched Blair Witch and Cloverfield I definitely felt green in the gills.  Since then, either they've improved how FF are filmed or I'm just used to it.  I too have become such a big fan of FF films.  It just opens a whole new world of ideas!  I can't wait to see the future of it

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Gardenofstone10 wrote:

I don't know if I'm just used to it but I don't get motion sickness anymore.

Yeah, I don't either.  I do get irritated sometimes when there is the shaky cam with the holder running and people screaming.  Overall though it doesn't bother me.

We talk bout FF a bit in the FF Thread...but will say here, that the article that was linked above did have some good points.  I know all genres and sub-genres have some bad movies, and FF of course is no different.  Still...man, I've sat through some really bad ones to get to some that I liked.  Among the worst in my book are Megan is Missing and June 9.  Though the worst, by far was a movie I don't remember the name of, it was an Exorcism one, but think maybe it was of the Jewish religion or something?  It was beyond horrible, and not in a good way. 

Anyway...again, there were some I loved.

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

I aint gonna get to specific, but if I stumble over a camera in my jaunts in the woods I would call it lost and I found it so it is mine now.... I get the royalties and the fame!

Re: What constitutes a found footage film?

Not a great lover of the sub-genre myself but I've enjoyed a few of them. I prefer the ones where it's not an hour and 20 minutes of paranoid couples then an unseen act happening in the last 10 minutes so PA is well out.