Let me just be clear, I don’t hate found-footage films. In fact, I’ve enjoyed many. When done right the sub-genre is capable of producing fear inducing horror movies. When done wrong, there can be an abundance of issues. The general consensus seems to be that people either love or hate them. The success of franchises like Paranormal Activity cannot be denied. However, it feels like the popularity has severely waned in recent times. Anyway, prepare yourself for negativity. I’m going to highlight 10 aspects of found-footage horror movies that suck. Each entry is a cliché that can almost always be found. They are staples of the sub-genre but they need to go away and never return.
10 – Jump Scares
Most modern horror movies could be accused of overusing this annoying trope. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of them. It’s gotten so bad that I barely even react anymore. This is mainly due to their increasing predictability. For some reason the found-footage genre abuses this trope more than any other.
09 – Shaky Cam
It’s disorientating, nauseating and it needs to stop. You can have an effective and scary found-footage film without having someone running around with a camera and turning it in circles.
08 – Low Visual Quality
Combine this with shaky cam and you’ve lost me. It’s already hard enough to see what the hell is going on without the footage being grainy as well.
07 – Low lighting/Night Vision.
I get it, horror movies are much more effective in the dark. However, when talking about found-footage films specifically this can be a huge issue. Mainly if it dares to be combined with shaky camera work and grainy footage.
06 – Unlikeable Characters
In some cases the characters in found-footage films might simply be unlikeable because you’re angry at them for how much of a shit camera man they are. Also, in some cases you’ve been listening to them scream into the microphone for an extended period of time. Regardless, the “characters” in found-footage films are usually supposed to be ordinary people. In most cases they are portrayed as being very obnoxious. I guess you’d have to be if your idea of fun is filming everything you see.
05 – Continuing To Film
This is one of my biggest pet-peeves about the sub-genre. Having a person that continues to record and hold up a camera when they are being chased by some kind of demon. There is no way that catching it on camera would be something that you would actually be concerned about in that scenario. Literally, doing this makes you one handed and much less likely to survive. The best found-footage films that I have seen that do this properly is VHS and its sequel. In that they always give you a great reason as to why the recording continues.
04 – Screen distortions/Glitches
This is a somewhat smart way to hide the editing in a found-footage film so it maintains some authenticity. Still, it’s tiresome.
03 – A Pointless Reason For Filming In The First Place
Says it all. Usually some moron who maintains that they “have to get this” or something equally as absurd.
02 – When They Say They Are Based On A True Story
Simple, they are not.
01 – Being Marketed As The “Scariest Horror Movie Of All Time”
We’ve all seen those trailers that show theatres full of people over-reacting in an exaggerated fashion. The biggest issue with this type of statement is that it can never be lived up to. It sets something up for failure before it even began.
Those are the 10 worst clichés in found-footage movies. Do you agree? How do you feel about the genre in general? Let us know!