The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for. Its groundbreaking deployment of the ‘Found Footage’ concept created an entirely new sub-genre, which to the delight of skinflint movie producers everywhere, made non-existent production values an integral part of the appeal. In the right hands, found-footage movies can be chillingly effective. Viewed in context, very few possession-moments in cinema history are as spine-freezingly frightening as the brief shot of Mike stood silently facing the wall of the Blair Witch’s old house.
Paranormal Activity’s phenomenal box office success gave new life to the Found Footage genre, after several years of Torture Porn horror movies had started to outstay their welcome. Shot entirely on camcorders, this is purportedly the result of a suburban couple documenting strange goings-on in their house. In the grand tradition of The Haunting, director Oren Peli creates extraordinary amounts of tension via the simple expedient of slamming doors and loud footsteps. Things escalate until the climax when a possessed Karen rises from her bed and stands, silently watching her sleeping husband for hours. Eventually she leaves the room and goes downstairs. Her husband is woken moments later by an ear-drum rupturing scream and…well, I don’t want to ruin it for you.