Following the release of 1980 video nasty Cannibal Holocaust and 1999 hit horror The Blair Witch Project, found footage films have experienced a boom in popularity.
Found footage films are among the most popular sub-genres of horror movies, gripping audiences with ‘true story’ marketing and horrifying visuals that you want to look away from, but can’t.
Home security footage, documentary crews, and even streaming websites carry the central plot lines, making them relatable to everyday audiences.
And right now, there’s plenty you can enjoy with some popcorn and a pillow to hide behind on streaming services.
Here are 20 found footage horror films you can watch right now, if you dare…
This new found footage offering on Netflix has been terrifying TikTok users and has even inspired its own challenge where people try and watch the film without looking away or hitting pause.
Released in March, Incantation is a Taiwanese supernatural found footage film follows a mother who is determined to protect her child from a mysterious curse she has experienced firsthand.
Incantation has become the highest-grossing Taiwanese horror film, making NT$170million (£4.76million).
Inspired by director Patrick Brice’s experiences on Craigslist and the movies My Dinner with Andre, Misery, and Fatal Attraction, Creep sees Brice portray videographer Aaron assigned to record an eccentric client, Josef.
Josef, played by writer Mark Duplass, quickly reveals that his intentions may not be as innocent as they may seem, and Aaron quickly finds himself in the middle of a nightmare.
A sequel to the film, Creep 2, was released in 2017 and is also available to stream on Netflix.
The rise of social media has seen a rise in found footage films that utilise technology such as streaming, as seen in 2018 psychological thriller Cam.
When her account is stolen by a look-alike, a cam girl sets out to get her identity back and unmask the mysterious woman and her intentions.
The story is partially drawn from writer Isa Mazzei’s own experience working as a camgirl and received positive reviews following its premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival.
Back when Paranormal Activity was released in 2007, it reignited the found footage genre and led to a boom of new films.
It inspired a whole franchise including eight films, and the series as a whole has grossed over 30 times the overall budget.
The original film sees couple Katie and Micah who become increasingly disturbed by a nightly demonic presence after moving into their suburban home.
Often compared to The Blair Witch Project, 2017 science fiction horror Phoenix Forgotten was produced by Alien’s Ridley Scott among others.
Two decades after three teenagers disappeared after mysterious lights appeared above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, revealing the trio’s final hours.
The film is based on the true story of Based on the Phoenix Lights of Phoenix, Arizona, a supposed UFO sighting witnessed by thousands on March 13, 1997.
Also based on a real-life event, Devil’s Pass is based on an the Dyatlov Pass inicdent in which nine Soviet trekkers died in the northern Ural Mountains in 1959 under mysterious circumstances.
The film is a mockumentary that sees a group of American filmmakers investigate the Dyatlov Pass incident.
As the secrets of the tragedy begin to unravel, the team become engrossed in their own ‘real-life’ horror movie.
Another film that blends real-life mysterious phenomena and found footage horror, Willow Creek tackles the legend of Bigfoot.
Set in Humboldt County, California, Jim, a firm believer in Bigfoot, and his girlfriend Kelly, who doubts the creature’s existence, travel to Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California, to film their own evidence.
But deep in the woods and isolated from society, neither are prepared for what they experience when the camera starts rolling.
The Lost Coast Tapes
There’s not just one, but two Bigfoot found footage films available to stream right now.
Released in 2012, The Lost Coast Tapes begins with a Bigfoot Hunter claiming to possess the body of a dead Sasquatch.
A disgraced investigative journalist stakes his comeback on proving the find to be a hoax.
Where many found footage horror films delve into the supernatural, Exhibit A bucks the trends and instead focuses on the frightening sides of the human psyche.
Filmed on location in Yorkshire and Suffolk, the 2007 film is shot on central character Judith King’s new camera as she captures footage of her family, including dad Andy, mother Sheila, and her brother Joe.
As the family faces mounting financial pressure, cracks begin to show within the home and tensions mount, culminating in some brutal scenes.
M.O.M.: Mothers of Monsters
M.O.M.: Mothers of Monsters is the debut film from long-standing TV showrunner Tucia Lyman and, much like Exhibit A, deals with a very real horror at the centre of its plot.
A mother suspects her teenage son is plotting a school shooting, and she is forced to take matters into her own hands when the authorities in place to prevent tragedy do not heed the warning signs.
She installs a system of spy cameras in their home, capturing a series of disturbing videos that seem to confirm her worst fears, leading her to find an online community of other ‘mothers of monsters’.
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum
Korean horror has experienced a wave of attention with the release of Train To Busan, The Wailing, The Host, #Alive and many others.
Though maybe not as well known as these titles, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum was a commercial success upon its release in 2018, becoming the third most-watched horror film in South Korea after A Tale of Two Sisters and Phone.
The narrative centers around a horror web series crew that travels to an abandoned asylum for a live broadcast in order to garner views and publicity, soon experiencing extreme paranormal phenomena.
If you can’t pick one found footage horror to watch, why not sample a few with anthology horror film V/H/S.
The 2012 film features six different found footage horror short films, featuring everything from ghostly children to stalkers, digital serial killers, and a violent exorcism.
The film spawned three sequels, spin-off, Siren, and miniseries V/H/S: Video Horror Shorts on Snapchat’s Snap Originals platform.
Canadian film Grave Encounters garnered a cult-like following after going viral online ahead of its release in 2011.
Produced by the Vicious Brothers, the success of Grave Encounters led to a sequel being released in 2012 which can also be streamed on Shudder.
For their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted, quickly realising that the rumours they do not believe may, in fact, be true.
REC is often cited as one of the best films in the found footage horror genre making numerous top horror lists and spawning a whole film franchise.
The Spanish horror follows the unfolding of a breaking news story followed by reporter Angela Vidal as emergency workers descend on an apartment building.
They are quickly confronted by the true horror within – something is spreading between the residents, and it is turning them into monsters.
Horror films that deal with the inner-workings of family life, grief, and mental health have risen in recent years with the popularity of The Babadook, Hereditary, and Midsommar.
Similarly, 2008 Australian psychological horror Lake Mungo focuses on a family as they come to terms with the drowning of their daughter.
The mockumentary features interviews with the family as they come to terms with their loss, and the supernatural events they seem to face in the aftermath.
Hell House LLC
Scare attractions and haunted houses are a staple of Halloween entertainment with thousands of people lining up for the fright of their life.
Hell House LLC tells the story of a documentary crew investigating the death of 15 people on the opening night of a Halloween haunted house tour five year after it happened.
As they explore the attraction, they soon realise that the unexplained malfunction the tragedy was blamed on may not have been strictly true, and the deaths may have been caused by a much more insidious source.
Travel blogs are commonplace on social media showcasing some of the most glorious locations and adventure-filled trips people enjoy.
In Canadian offering Afflicted, two friends travel plans turn sour as one begins to experience strange side effects after contracting a mysterious illness.
Stranded in a foreign land, the pair desperately search for the cause of the ailment and its source to eradicate it for good.
Noroi: The Curse
There is plenty of discourse online between film fans questioning whether Noroi: The Curse is actually real after the found footage film took the internet by storm after its release in 2005.
Director Koji Shiraishi garnered first came to prominence when he directed horror anthology Honto ni atta with the help of Takashige Ichise, famed for producing iconic j-horrors Ju-On: The Grudge, and Ring.
Noroi begins by telling viewers what happened to central character Masafumi Kobayashi, a paranormal researcher, and his wife Keiko, and spends the rest of the 115 minute run-time looking at how and why as Kobayashi embarked on an investigation into mysterious deaths attributed to a spirit called Kagutaba.
Conspiracy theories have experience a boom in mainstream media in recent years, and this 2012 films explores the theme with a horrific twist.
The Conspiracy tells the story of two documentary filmmakers who set out to create a film about a conspiracy theorist named Terrance G who disappears during the making of the film.
The duo then find themselves into the world of a dangerous and ancient secret community.
The Medium tells the story of a Thai documentary team as they film the daily life of a local medium, Nim, who is said to be possessed by the spirit of Bayan, an ancestral deity that has been possessing women in Nim’s family for generations.
It was selected as the Thai entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards but was not nominated.
However, it enjoyed positive reviews and became the sixth highest-grossing Korean film of 2021.