By Josh Templin
Found horror “artifacts” now fail to frighten.
It was sometime during the eighty-five minutes of the movie Alien Abduction that something broke inside me. I remember watching the found-footage horror film and slowly descending into a kind of mild insanity. The film went from slightly boring to absolutely agonizing, in no small part due to its pseudo-documentary style. Unfortunately, the “found footage” device has become a tiring crutch for many horror and thriller films, and the madness needs to stop.
The first really successful found-footage film was, of course, The Blair Witch Project. That film, for all its flaws, effectively used its documentary approach to give us an unfiltered view from the characters’ viewpoints. What it traded away in cinematographic terms were things like composition and careful editing in favor of a visceral feeling of being right in the characters’ shoes.