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6 Freaky Found Footage Movies on Peacock This October
Sometimes the found footage genre is overlooked during the Halloween season, but Peacock's got several bangers.
Found footage horror films have escalated in popularity since 1999, back when The Blair Witch Project revolutionized the format for more mainstream audiences. The technique features a film being presented by a primary character's POV as they record footage in real-time, and then that footage is presented as materials found in the wild with a "raw" look of what the person saw and experienced.
Surprisingly, found footage's cinematic origins go all the way back to Orson Welles' The Other Side of the Wind, which was shot in the 1970s. But some of the greatest example of how its used best include the Paranormal Activity franchise, Cloverfield, and more recently the V/H/S series.
With October upon us, it's a great time to revisit the genre as found footage films — when done right — can be even scarier than more traditionally told horror films. SYFY WIRE has curated six worthy titles streaming this month on Peacock, which show off different yet effective approaches to the technique.
Best Found Footage Horror Films Streaming Now on Peacock
With a really interesting historical approach, Apollo 18 posits that there was a secret U.S. Government backed trip to the Moon in December of 1973 that was kept secret until footage surfaces from the two American astronauts aboard the failed mission. It's notable for its period piece authenticity and the implication that this is truly really footage that is the real reason why there have been no more Moon landings ever since.
Be ready for a surprise: Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait wrote and directed Willow Creek, which is an excellent found footage movie that actually makes the Bigfoot legend terrifying. This one has a couple hiking into Willow Creek, the Bigfoot capital of the world, to try to get to the bottom of the sightings and lore. He's a big believer and she's not... until something large starts to stalk them as they camp in the woods. A great character piece well acted by Alexie Gilmore and Bryce Johnson, you get invested in their personal story so the scares have more stakes.
Before The Visit came out in 2015, M. Night Shyamalan's career was in transition. He was coming off two high profile duds, The Last Airbender and After Earth, so he went back to his indie days and wrote this very small story about two siblings — 15-year-old Becca and 13-year-old Tyler — visiting their grandparents for the very first time in rural Pennsylvania by themselves. What ensues is both a hilarious and very scary found footage film told from the kid's perspectives as they come to believe something is very much wrong with their grandparents.
Writer/director Ti West is one of horror's new "it" creators with the success of his X trilogy starring Mia Goth. He wrote and directed The Sacrament, which mines the case of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre and marries it to a contemporary story of two VICE journalists documenting a young man trying to get his sister out of a religious cult. The blurring of the lines with reality style documentarian techniques reveals West's ability to generate real tension and scares from a "real world" topic.
One of the OG franchises in this genre, V/H/S is now a firmly established franchise with five sequel installments from creator Brad Miska. But this one is the originator that was a Sundance and SXSW selection. An anthology collection of found footage short stories, its framing device centers on a gang of petty thieves who are paid to break into a house and retrieve a single VHS tape. Once inside, they watch what's on the tape and its five different found footage stories. The film gave a platform to some incredible talent, who have gone on to have successful directing careers including David Bruckner, Adam Wingard, Ti West, and the Radio Silence collective.
The first sequel in the V/H/S franchise, V/H/S/2 offered a new anthology with a central framing device that connects four standalone found footage short stories. Director Adam Wingard returns to do his own short this time around with Simon Barrett (You're Next), and a new story from The Blair Witch directors Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale.
Once you've watched your fill of found footage, check out the rest of Peacock's incredible line up of horror titles for October.