Found footage is a cinematic technique in which all or a substantial part of the work is presented as if it were film or video recordings recorded by characters in the story, and later "found" and presented to the audience. The events on screen are typically seen through the camera of one or more of the characters involved, often accompanied by their real-time, off-camera commentary. For added realism, the cinematography may be done by the actors themselves as they perform, and shaky camera work and naturalistic acting are routinely employed. The footage may be presented as if it were "raw" and complete or as if it had been edited into a narrative by those who "found" it.

The most common use of the technique is in horror films, such as The Blair Witch Project, Cannibal Holocaust, Paranormal Activity, Diary of the Dead, REC, Cloverfield, Trollhunter, V/H/S, and Incantation, where the footage is purported to be the only surviving record of the events, with the participants now missing or dead. It has also been used in science fiction (e.g., Chronicle, District 9, Project Almanac, Europa Report), drama (e.g., Zero Day, Exhibit A), comedy (e.g., Project X), mystery (e.g., Searching), family (e.g., Earth to Echo), experimental arthouse (e.g., The Connection, The Outwaters) and war (e.g. 84C MoPic) films.

Although found footage was originally the name of an entirely different genre, it is now frequently used to describe pseudo-documentaries crafted with this narrative technique (e.g. Lake Mungo, Noroi: The Curse) and screenlife films (e.g. Unfriended, Searching). The film magazine Variety has, for example, used the term "faux found-footage film" to describe some titles. Film scholar David Bordwell criticizes this recent usage, arguing that it sows confusion, and instead prefers the term "discovered footage" for the narrative gimmick.[1]


Found-footage films typically employ one or more of six cinematic techniquesfirst-person perspective, pseudo-documentary, mockumentary, news footage, surveillance footage, or screenlife —according to an analysis of 500 found-footage films conducted by Found Footage Critic.[2]


As a storytelling technique, found footage has precedents in literature, particularly in the epistolary novel, which typically consists of either correspondence or diary entries, purportedly written by a character central to the events. Like found footage, the epistolary technique has often been employed in horror fiction: both Dracula and Frankenstein are epistolary novels, as is The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft.

Italian director Ruggero Deodato revolutionized the found footage style of narrative filmmaking with Cannibal Holocaust (1980), the first horror film using this technique.

In filmmaking, the 1980 cult horror feature Cannibal Holocaust is often claimed to be the first example of found footage.[3] However, Shirley Clarke's arthouse film The Connection (1961) and the Orson Welles directed The Other Side of the Wind, a found footage movie shot in the early 1970s but released in 2018, predate Cannibal Holocaust.[4] America's Deadliest Home Video (1991), remains a potent use of the format as well as an unsung groundbreaker in the found-footage field - an ahead-of-its-time application of the vérité-video form to the horror/crime genre.[5] The device was popularised by The Blair Witch Project (1999).[6] Found footage has since been used in other commercially successful films, including Paranormal Activity (2007), REC (2007), Cloverfield (2008) and Chronicle (2012).[7] Reviewing V/H/S for The A.V. Club, Scott Tobia notes that the genre "has since become to the '00s and '10s what slasher movies were to the '80s."[8]

The genre appeals to film producers because of its lower cost, as it is believed the illusion of amateur documentary style allows lower production values than would be accepted on a conventional film.

Writer-director Christopher B. Landon, who has made several found footage horror films, posits that the genre is likely to extend in the future outside horror.[9]


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For a more comprehensive list, see Category:Found footage films.

The following entries are notable films in the found footage genre, though some were only partially made in that style.

Title Release year Director(s) Production company Ref(s)
The Connection 1961 Shirley Clarke The Connection Company
Coming Apart 1969 Milton Moses Ginsberg Kaleidoscope Films
Cannibal Holocaust 1980 Ruggero Deodato F.D. Cinematografica
Special Bulletin 1983 Edward Zwick Ohlmeyer Communications Company
Guinea Pig: Devil's Experiment 1985 Satoru Ogura Sai Enterprise
UFO Abduction 1989 Dean Alioto IndieSyndicate Productions
84C MoPic 1989 Patrick Sheane Duncan New Century Vista Film Company
America's Deadliest Home Video 1991 Jack Perez Randum Film Group
Man Bites Dog 1993 Rémy Belvaux
André Bonzel
Benoît Poelvoorde
Les Artistes Anonymes
Forgotten Silver 1995 Peter Jackson WingNut Films
Little Sister 1995 Robert Jan Westdijk Grote Broer Filmwerken CV
Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County 1998 Dean Alioto Dick Clark Productions
The Last Broadcast 1998 Stefan Avalos
Lance Weiler
FFM Productions
The Blair Witch Project 1999 Daniel Myrick
Eduardo Sánchez
Haxan Films
The St. Francisville Experiment 2000 Ted Nicolaou The Kushner-Locke Company
Gang Tapes 2001 Adam Ripp Lionsgate
August Underground 2001 Fred Vogel Absu Films
Toetag Pictures
The Collingswood Story 2002 Mike Costanza Cinerebel Media
August Underground's Mordum 2003 Fred Vogel
Cristie Whiles
Jerami Cruise
Michael T. Schneider
Toetag Pictures
The Great American Snuff Film 2003 Sean Tretta Ominous Productions
The Last Horror Movie 2003 Julian Richards Prolific Films
Snakehair Productions
Zero Day 2003 Ben Coccio Professor Bright Films
Incident at Loch Ness 2004 Zak Penn Eden Rock Media
September Tapes 2004 Christian Johnston Complex Films
Raz Productions
Raz Entertainment
Persistent Entertainment
Noroi: The Curse 2005 Kōji Shiraishi Xanadeux Company
Alone with Her 2006 Eric Nicholas Pin Hole Productions LLC
The Weinstein Company
The Zombie Diaries 2006 Kevin Gates
Michael Bartlett
Off World Films
Bleeding Edge Films
State's Evidence 2006 Benjamin Louis Terra Entertainment
The Hunt 2007 Fritz Kiersch Graymark Productions
Azisa Pictures
Welcome to the Jungle 2007 Jonathan Hensleigh Steelbridge Film Works
Bauer Martinez Studios
Valhalla Motion Pictures
The Poughkeepsie Tapes 2007 John Erick Dowdle Brothers Dowdle Productions
Poughkeepsie Films
August Underground's Penance 2007 Fred Vogel Toetag Pictures
Redacted 2007 Brian De Palma Magnolia Pictures
Long Pigs 2007 Chris Power Clowns After Midnight Productions
Jordan Entertainment
Chris Bridges Effects Studio
Head Case 2007 Anthony Spadaccini Fleet Street Films
B.P.A. Productions Group, Inc.
Exhibit A 2007 Dom Rotheroe Warp Films
Paranormal Activity 2007 Oren Peli Blumhouse Productions
Death of a Ghost Hunter 2007 Sean Tretta Ominous Productions
Live! 2007 Bill Guttentag Atlas Entertainment
Rec 2007 Jaume Balagueró
Paco Plaza
Castelao Producciones
Look 2007 Adam Rifkin Captured Films
Monster 2008 Erik Estenberg The Asylum
Cloverfield 2008 Matt Reeves Bad Robot
Diary of the Dead 2008 George A. Romero Artfire Films
Romero-Grunwald Productions
Lake Mungo 2008 Joel Anderson Screen Australia
Home Movie 2008 Christopher Denham Modernciné
Bryan Loves You 2008 Seth Landau Seth Landau
Quarantine 2008 John Erick Dowdle Vertigo Entertainment
Andale Pictures
Filmax Entertainment
No Through Road 2009 Steven Chamberlain [10][11]
Occult 2009 Kōji Shiraishi Image Rings
Creative Axa Company Ltd.
Evil Things 2009 Dominic Perez Go Show Media
District 9 2009 Neill Blomkamp QED International
WingNut Films
The Ritual 2009 Anthony Spadaccini Fleet Street Films
B.P.A. Productions Group, Inc.
Trash Humpers 2009 Harmony Korine Alcove Entertainment
Warp Films
O' Salvation
Rec 2 2009 Jaume Balagueró
Paco Plaza
Castelao Producciones
Murder Collection V.1 2009 Fred Vogel Toetag Pictures [12]
Paranormal Entity 2009 Shane Van Dyke The Asylum
Bachiatari Bōryoku Ningen 2010 Kōji Shiraishi Creative AXA
Lunopolis 2010 Matthew Avant Media Savant
Love Sex aur Dhokha 2010 Dibakar Banerjee Freshwater Films
Eyes in the Dark 2010 Bjorn Anderson Emerald City Pictures
Hotel Hollywood 2010 Param Gill G S Productions
Shirome 2010 Kōji Shiraishi Stardust Promotion
Shirome Project Partners
The Last Exorcism 2010 Daniel Stamm Strike Entertainment
Arcade Pictures
Undocumented 2010 Chris Peckover Sheperd Glen Productions
The Virginity Hit 2010 Huck Botko & Andrew Gurland Gary Sanchez Productions
8213: Gacy House 2010 Anthony Fankhauser The Asylum
Atrocious 2010 Fernando Barreda Luna Nabu Films
Silencio Rodamos
Programa Ibermedia
Paranormal Activity 2 2010 Tod Williams Blumhouse Productions
Trollhunter 2010 André Øvredal Filmkameratene A/S
Film Fund FUZZ
Unaware 2010 Sean Bardin
Robert Cooley
Cooley Productions
Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night 2010 Toshikazu Nagae Presidio Corporation
Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes 2011 Jude Gerard Prest The Asylum
Doc. 33 2011 Giacomo Gabrielli Filmart Pictures
Giacomo Gabrielli Films
The Tunnel 2011 Carlo Ledesma DLSHS Film
Distracted Media
Zapruder's Other Films
Megan Is Missing 2011 Michael Goi Trio Pictures
Grave Encounters 2011 The Vicious Brothers Twin Engine Films
World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2011 Kevin Gates
Michael Bartlett
Off World Films
Bleeding Edge Films
Straightwire Films
Hollow 2011 Michael Axelgaard Hollow Pictures
Tribeca Film
Untitled 2011 Shaun Troke Shaunywa Films
Apollo 18 2011 Gonzalo López-Gallego Bazelevs
The Tapes 2011 Scott Bates
Lee Alliston
Darkside Pictures
Pure Film Productions
Paranormal Activity 3 2011 Henry Joost
Ariel Schulman
The Amityville Haunting 2011 Geoff Meed The Asylum
Taut Productions
Chō Akunin 2011 Kōji Shiraishi Tokyo Raiders
The Devil Inside 2012 William Brent Bell Insurge Pictures
V/H/S 2012 Ti West
Joe Swanberg
David Buckner
Adam Wingard
Glenn McQuaid
Radio Silence Productions
The Collective
Bloody Disgusting
Chronicle 2012 Josh Trank Davis Entertainment
Project X 2012 Nima Nourizadeh Silver Pictures
Green Hat Films
Evidence 2012 Howie Askins RynoRyder Productions
Hate Crime 2012 James Cullen Bressack Psykik Junky Pictures
Apartment 143 2012 Carles Torrens Werc Werk Works
Kasdan Pictures
Likely Story
100 Ghost Street: The Return of Richard Speck 2012 Martin Anderson The Asylum
The Dinosaur Project 2012 Sid Bennett Moonlighting Films
Shopping Tour 2012 Michael Brashinsky Duty-Free Productions [13]
A Night in the Woods 2012 Richard Parry Vertigo Films
End of Watch 2012 David Ayer StudioCanal
The Conspiracy 2012 Christopher MacBride Resolute Films and Entertainment
Grave Encounters 2 2012 John Poliquin Arclight Films
Paranormal Activity 4 2012 Henry Joost
Ariel Schulman
Room 101
The Bay 2012 Barry Levinson Lionsgate
A Haunted House 2013 Michael Tiddes Open Road Films
The Upper Footage 2013 Justin Cole
Dabbe: Curse of the Jinn 2013 Hasan Karacadağ Hasan Karacadağ
Devil's Pass 2013 Renny Harlin Aldamisa Entertainment
Non-Stop Productions
Midnight Sun Pictures
K. Jam Media
The Frankenstein Theory 2013 Andrew Weiner Rocket
Inner Station
Therapy Content
Arctic Film Group
Cult 2013 Kōji Shiraishi
Willow Creek 2013 Bobcat Goldthwait Jerkschool Productions
V/H/S/2 2013 Simon Barrett
Jason Eisener
Gareth Evans
Gregg Hale
Eduardo Sánchez
Timo Tjahjanto
Adam Wingard
The Collective
Bloody Disgusting
8383 Productions
Snoot Entertainment
Haxan Films
Yer Dead Productions
Europa Report 2013 Sebastián Cordero Wayfare Entertainment Ventures
The Borderlands 2013 Elliot Goldner Metrodome Distribution
The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill 2013 Kevin Gates
Michael Bartlett
Second Sight Films
Head Cases: Serial Killers in the Delaware Valley 2013 Anthony Spadaccini Fleet Street Films
B.P.A. Productions Group, Inc.
The Dirties 2013 Matt Johnson SModcast Pictures
Frankenstein's Army 2013 Richard Raaphorst Dark Sky Films
XYZ Films
Sx Tape 2013 Bernard Rose Aeroplano
La.Lune Entertainment
Hooked Up 2013 Pablo Larcuen Uncork'd Entertainment
WNUF Halloween Special 2013 Chris LaMartina
James Branscome
Shawn Jones
Scott Maccubbin
Lonnie Martin
Matthew Menter
Andy Schoeb
Midnight Crew Studios
Skinwalker Ranch 2013 Devin McGinn
Steve Berg
6-5=2 2013 KS Ashoka Swarnalatha Production [14]
Best Night Ever 2013 Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer Magnet Releasing
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones 2014 Christopher Landon Paramount Pictures
Devil's Due 2014 Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Tyler Gillett
Davis Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Black Water Vampire 2014 Evan Tramel BWV Productions
Ruthless Pictures
Exists 2014 Eduardo Sánchez Lionsgate
Haxan Films
Court Five
Open Windows 2014 Nacho Vigalondo Antena 3 Films
Apaches Entertainment
Spiderwood Studios
Wild Bunch
The Den 2014 Zachary Donohue Cliffbrook Films
Onset Films
Afflicted 2014 Derek Lee
Clif Prowse
Automatik Entertainment
Téléfilm Canada
Babysitting 2014 Nicolas Benamou
Philippe Lacheau
Axel Films
Madame Films
Cinéfrance 1888
Good Lap Production
A Haunted House 2 2014 Michael Tiddes IM Global Octane
Wayans Bros. Entertainment
Baby Way Productions
The Sacrament 2014 Ti West Worldview Entertainment
Arcade Pictures
Alien Abduction 2014 Matty Beckerman Exclusive Media Group
Big Picture
Next Entertainment
Lawrence Bender Productions
Mob Scene Creative Productions
Inner Demons 2014 Seth Grossman Schorr Pictures
Earth to Echo 2014 Dave Green Relativity Media
Into the Storm 2014 Steven Quale New Line Cinema
Village Roadshow Pictures
The Possession of Michael King 2014 David Jung Gold Circle Films
Quickfire Films
As Above, So Below 2014 John Erick Dowdle Universal Pictures
Legendary Pictures
The Hunted 2014 Josh Stewart Fortress Features
Allegheny Image Factory
Gore, Quebec 2014 Jean Benoit Lauzon Green Lake Films [15]
The Taking of Deborah Logan 2014 Adam Robitel Eagle Films
Millennium Entertainment
Hangar 10 2014 Daniel Simpson Newscope Films
V/H/S: Viral 2014 Nacho Vigalondo
Marcel Sarmiento
Gregg Bishop
Justin Benson
Todd Lincoln
Bloody Disgusting
The Collective
Haxan Films
The Pyramid 2014 Grégory Levasseur Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
The Atticus Institute 2015 Chris Sparling SND Groupe M6
Project Almanac 2015 Dean Israelite Insurge Pictures
Platinum Dunes
MTV Films
Creep 2015 Patrick Brice Blumhouse Productions
Nightlight 2015 Scott Beck, Bryan Woods Herrick Entertainment [16]
The Final Project 2015 Taylor Ri'chard Cavu Pictures [17]
Unfriended 2015 Levan Gabriadze Universal Studios
Blumhouse Productions
Area 51 2015 Oren Peli Paramount Pictures
The Phoenix Incident 2015 Keith Arem PCB Productions
The Cutting Room 2015 Warren Dudley Itchy Fish Film
The Gallows 2015 Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing New Line Cinema
Blumhouse Productions
Management 360
Tremendum Pictures
JeruZalem 2015 Doron Paz
Yoav Paz
Universal Pictures
The Visit 2015 M. Night Shyamalan Blinding Edge Pictures
Blumhouse Productions
Universal Pictures
Hell House LLC 2015 Stephen Cognetti Cognetti Films
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension 2015 Gregory Plotkin Paramount Pictures
Unlisted Owner 2016 Jed Brian Lawford County Productions
Aksbandh 2016 Emran Hussain Cinematic Media
Population Zero 2016 Adam Levins A71 Entertainment
Operation Avalanche 2016 Matt Johnson Vice Films
Blair Witch 2016 Adam Wingard Lionsgate Pictures
Be My Cat: A Film for Anne 2016 Adrian Țofei Adrian Țofei
The Lost Case 2017 Chayan Itthijatuporn Kantana Group
The Dark Tapes 2017 Michael McQuown Epic Pictures Group
Phoenix Forgotten 2017 Justin Barber Cinelou Films
Scott Free Productions
#FromJennifer 2017 Frank Merle Lone Morsel Productions
Found Footage 3D 2017 Steven DeGennaro The Ubiquitous Studio 42
Creep 2 2017 Patrick Brice Blumhouse Productions
One Cut of the Dead 2017 Shin'ichirō Ueda Enbu Seminar
Unfriended: Dark Web 2018 Stephen Susco BH Productions
Universal Studios
Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum 2018 Jung Bum-shik Hive Mediacorp
The Devil's Doorway 2018 Aislinn Clarke 23ten
The Other Side of the Wind 2018 Orson Welles Royal Road Entertainment
Searching 2018 Aneesh Chaganty Bazelevs Company
Screen Gems
Stage 6 Films
Insanity 2020 Miska Kajanus Piilo Productions
Black Lion Pictures
Hacksaw 2020 Anthony Leone Leone Films
Host 2020 Rob Savage Shadowhouse Films
Spree 2020 Eugene Kotlyarenko RLJE Films
Scary Stories: Dark Web 2020 Bryan Renaud Random Acts
The Widow 2020 Ivan Minin QS Films
The Medium 2021 Banjong Pisanthanakun GDH 559
Vazhiye 2021 Nirmal Baby Varghese Casablanca Film Factory
Fresh Hell 2021 Ryan Imhoff

Matt Neal

Purr Boy Productions
V/H/S/94 2021 Jennifer Reeder
Chloe Okuno
Simon Barrett
Timo Tjahjanto
Ryan Prows
Radio Silence Productions
Bloody Disgusting Films
Shudder Original Films
Cinepocalypse Productions
Raven Banner Entertainment
Dwellers 2021 Drew Fortier Ellefson Films
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin 2021 William Eubank Paramount Pictures
Incantation 2022 Kevin Ko
Dashcam 2022 Rob Savage Blumhouse Productions
The Outwaters 2022 Robbie Banfitch 5100 Films
Fathom Film Company
LOLA 2022 Andrew Legge Cowtown Pictures
Everybody Dies by the End 2022 Ian Tripp
Ryan Schafer
Children of Celluoid
Deadstream 2022 Joseph Hunter Winterspectre Entertainment
Cook Filmworks
Stonehaven Entertainment
V/H/S/99 2022 Johannes Roberts
Vanessa & Joseph Winter
Maggie Levin
Tyler MacIntyre
Flying Lotus
Bloody Disgusting
Soapbox Films
Cinepocalypse Productions
Radio Silence Productions
Shudder Original Films
Blue Hour: The Disappearance of Nick Brandreth 2023 Dan Bowhers Glass House Distribution
V/H/S/85 2023 David Bruckner
Scott Derrickson
Gigi Saul Guerrero
Natasha Kermani
Mike P. Nelson
Bloody Disgusting
Cinepocalypse Productions
Radio Silence Productions
Shudder Original Films
Invoking Yell 2023 Patricio Valladares Welcome Villain

TV series, made-for-TV specials and TV episodes

Music videos

Web series

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Though the episode was animated, it is done in the style of found footage.


  1. ^ Bordwell, David (13 November 2012). "Return to Paranormalcy". Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Found Footage Film Genre – Found Footage Critic". Found Footage Critic. Found Footage Critic [Michael Steinberg]. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  3. ^ "Visual Trends: A History of the Found Footage Genre". Videomaker. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 2019-08-28.
  4. ^ McBride, Joseph (2017-03-17). "Before the Beginning and After the End: An Insider's Look at the Saga of 'The Other Side of the Wind'". Wellesnet | Orson Welles Web Resource. Retrieved 2022-09-07.
  5. ^ Editorial: DVD Review: America's Deadliest HomeVideo - Fangoria
  6. ^ Eggertsen, Chris. "From 'Blair Witch' to 'Project Almanac': A history of the found footage genre". Hitflix. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Editorial: An Apologist's Rant: In Defense of Found Footage". Dread Central. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
  8. ^ Tobias, Scott (4 October 2012). "V/H/S". AV Club. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  9. ^ Topel, Fred. "Christopher Landon interview". Crave. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  10. ^ Peters, Lucia (November 16, 2020). "The Weird Part Of YouTube: The Making Of "No Through Road" And The Power Of Unanswered Questions". The Ghost in My Machine. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  11. ^ Kok, Nestor (March 18, 2022). "Ghosts in the Machine: Trick-Editing, Time Loops, and Terror in "No Through Road"". F Newsmagazine. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  12. ^ Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (2014). Found Footage Horror Films: Fear and the Appearance of Reality. McFarland & Company. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-7864-7077-8. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  13. ^ Lê, Paul (10 August 2021). "Cannibals and Midsummer in Russian-Finnish Found Footage Movie 'Shopping Tour' [Horrors Elsewhere]". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 10 September 2023.
  14. ^ 6-5=27.140 personen vinden dit leuk · 544 praten hierover. "6-5=2". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-12-28.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ Brownridge, William (13 November 2014). "Review: Gore, Quebec". Toronto Film Scene. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Nightlight Trailer Flickers On – Dread Central". 17 February 2015.
  17. ^ Fuelier, Herman (2015-04-15). "Church Point native directs horror film in local setting". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  18. ^ "Vihanpidot" (in Finnish). Finnkino. Retrieved 2022-07-18.
  19. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (September 26, 2022). "Cinedigm Takes North American Rights to Found Footage Horror 'The Outwaters' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2023.
  20. ^ Detwiler, Grace (February 1, 2023). "Movie Review: Cosmic Horror and Found-Footage Collide in "The Outwaters"". Rue Morgue. Retrieved February 1, 2023.