found footage

We review the biggest practical joke of the Halloween season...

It's hard to believe there have been four "Paranormal Activity" films. Even in the year 2012, where sequels and spinoffs are commonplace, it's still unlikely that the series has made it this far. What's even more unlikely? The fact that, at least up until now, the series has maintained and even raised the bar for quality with each entry. Unfortunately, with "Paranormal Activity 4" you can throw that trend out the window.

Many people on Twitter pooped themselves during this movie... find out if we had the same experience.

"Sinister" is an interesting little film. Originally slated for a limited release this fall, it will now be featured in over 2,000 theaters this Friday, due mostly from positive word of mouth from early screenings. After seeing it with an advance audience myself, it's not hard to see why.

Wait, how did a webcam conversation end up on a VHS tape?

Certain films succeed almost entirely because of plot devices, singular performances, concepts, or settings. Others fail because of one missing piece to that same puzzle. Unfortunately in the case of "Hollow", it fails despite having a setting so engrossing that it distracts you of the film's pitfalls for nearly three quarters of the film.

"V/H/S" is a new, independent horror anthology that comes to you from ten, count 'em, ten directors, including current horror golden boy Ti West ("The Innkeepers"). The entire film is shot in a first person "found footage" style, although the subject matter of the stories varies wildly.

There's a very simple premise behind "Grave Encounters"… take a group of cynical, fraudulent "Ghost Hunters" shooting a terrible reality show, and throw them into a situation where they actually encounter ghosts. It's a format ripe for parody and/or satire, given the dubious nature of most of these shows to begin with. Unfortunately, "Grave Encounters" does little with it beyond the setup, and even worse, adds nothing to the found footage subgenre it so tirelessly apes.

"Paranormal Activity" seemed to spawn a dozen copycats almost overnight with its massive success in 2009. The low budget, haunted house, easy to make found footage format was easily replicable for amateurs and studios alike. "Atrocious" appears at first glance to be a Spanish stylization of the film until its abrupt final twists rip off "The Shining" with such audacity its hard to fathom.

Skew Movie

It’s apparent that the nearly consistent 15 year long presence of “found-footage” and subjective camera POV visual aesthetics in film and television (FFSC from here out) has tapped into a certain type of audio-visual experience that connects with viewers. Though at first glance we could write off these stylistic techniques as cash-grabs it is surprising that the novelty of such techniques has continued to raise more eyebrows in curiosity rather than skepticism.