Amazon Prime has more movies than you can shake a stick at. It’s a place where you can find some of the latest blockbusters, and at the same time movies that were probably just used as a money laundering front for a crime syndicate.
So, when it comes to a sub-genre as rich, full-bodied, and flooded as found footage, it’s a little difficult to find something that you may like. Allow me to be your guide through the treacherous waters of Amazon Prime and point you in the direction of some pretty solid found footage movies.
10. Bad Ben (2016)
“Tom Riley invested every penny he had into buying a home at a Sheriff’s sale that he hoped to flip. Almost immediately unexplained events happened which led him to realize the house was possessed with the spirits of the previous owners. All the footage was captured on his cell phone and downloaded from the cloud server of 21 security cameras installed in the home by the previous owners.”
Bad Ben is on this list for one reason, Nigel Bach. Bach has directed six, yes six, Bad Ben movies since 2016, and each one has gotten more strange. Because of his touch, this series stands out in a sub-genre that seems to be the go-to for low budget filmmakers. Whether or not one thinks his unique touch is a good thing – what is apparent more than anything else is that these movies are made by a guy who knows exactly what he wants to do. Even if I can’t tell what this series is going for, I don’t mind it, because Bach genuinely seems like he’s having a blast making them.
9. Night Shot (2016)
“A haunting in real time. A beautiful young woman is subjected to a grueling night of terror – all accomplished in one take, as she investigates paranormal reports at an abandoned facility.”
While the plot of investigating an abandoned haunted place may seem generic to some, Night Shot does something different with the classic formula. The entire movie is done in one, single take. There are no cuts, at least none that I noticed. The viewer follows the characters through each and every one of their moves from start to finish. This both makes for an interesting experiment, and tethers the viewers to the characters. While your mileage may vary on how scary you find it, it is pretty undeniable how original it feels. Also, the cameraman is really sassy which makes for quite a few good laughs.
8. Followers (2017)
“A social media celebrity couple’s camping trip is ruined by a couple of filmmakers making a documentary on how easy it is to track someone down off social media and kill them.”
What gets Followers a place on this list is its ingenious use of the element of surprise. What starts out as a clever piece of social commentary on the internet ages quickly turns into something I did not see coming. When I went to watch it, I was expecting one thing, got something different, and then got something way different. The turns it takes could maybe turn off some viewers, but if you’re willing to go along for the ride, it’s one that is very much worth taking.
7. In Memorium (2005)
“In Memorium follows Dennis Wade, who after a grim diagnosis, installs cameras in a rented home with his girlfriend to film his final weeks. Until a presence is caught on tape.”
Before the likes of Cloverfield (2008) and Paranormal Activity (2009) came along and injected an adrenaline shot into the found footage sub-genre, there was In Memorium. There’s a lot of things that make this movie great, but the one I want to focus on is character. The characters in this movie feel and act like actual people. So, when horrible things inevitably happen, it hurts to watch. I really love found footage movies when done right, but even a lot of the really good ones can have a tendency to skip out on character. So, it was nice to see a movie work at making me as the viewer sympathize with the characters’ struggles and want the best for them, even if I knew they wouldn’t get it.
6. Paranormal Activity (2009)
“After a young, middle class couple moves into what seems like a typical suburban “starter” tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to.”
When I first watched this years ago, I wasn’t the biggest fan. To my defense, I was but a freshmen in high school and didn’t understand the concept of slow-burn horror. But, as I’ve gotten older (and hopefully smarter) I’ve grown to appreciate this movie. Its influence alone is enough to get it on this list, but what really sells it is how well it balances horror and mystery. The “why” behind the haunting feels just as important and chilling as the haunting itself. Even though future installments may have stripped away some of the ambiguity, the first Paranormal Activity perfectly scratches that itch that films such as The Blair Witch Project (1999) did. More importantly though, I now have a tough time sleeping with my feet outside the covers, and I love sleeping with my feet outside the covers. Also, beware this movie is leaving Prime at the end of this month.
5. Butterfly Kisses (2018)
“A filmmaker discovers a box of video tapes depicting a disturbing student film project about an urban legend known as Peeping Tom. As he sets out to prove the footage is real, he falls into obsession, along with the film crew following him.”
There’s a lot going on in Butterfly Kisses, with the two plot-lines, the urban legend, and the slowly building sense of dread. What really makes this a great found footage movie (besides it being about characters that literally find footage), is that we get to see the decline of characters in both the past and the present. In the past, there’s two college students trying to make a film about an urban legend who end up becoming the target of said legend. In the present, there’s the filmmaker who finds all their footage years later and sets out to make his own movie with it. I don’t really want to say much more as to avoid spoilers, but what I will say is that if you find a bunch of film reels in your newly bought house, just burn them.
4. Hell House LLC (2016)
“On October 8th, 2009 a haunted house attraction opened its doors to the public in upstate New York. The entire crew was found dead, except for one. Five years later a documentary crew found her…and the video footage from inside the house.”
I knew nothing about this movie on my first watch, and didn’t really expect a whole lot. Luckily, I was wrong and Hell House LLC turned out to be a really good movie. The main selling point for me is the atmosphere. Most of it takes place in a newly renovated haunted house, and the setting works perfectly to create a sense of paranoia. There were moments in this movie movie that actually made me look behind my back a few times, and any movie that can make me do that is one to note.
3. Willow Creek (2014)
“A young couple find themselves face-to-face against a terrifying evil when they venture into the heart of Bigfoot country in Willow Creek”
I’ve never really found Bigfoot to be all that scary, until this movie. I’m not much one for the outdoors or camping, and after this I don’t think I will be for a long, long time. The last twenty-five minutes or so of Willow Creek are unrelenting and don’t let the viewer go until the very last shot.
2. Cloverfield (2008)
“Five young New Yorkers face a life or death struggle in order to escape from the city when a monster the size of a skyscraper suddenly appears.”
When Cloverfield’s marking hit back in 2008 I was all in. It gave me exactly what I was wanting and more. Mystery? Check. Heads exploding? Check. A giant monster? Check. The way director Matt Reeves crafted an intense, up close and personal account of a giant monster attack is nothing less than astounding. I also owe this movie a huge thanks, because when I first went to go see it I was in the front row and now motion sickness isn’t even in my vocabulary.
1. Savageland (2017)
“When a small town near the Arizona-Mexico border is wiped out overnight, suspicion falls on the lone survivor. But a roll of photos the survivor took that night tells a different story.”
Savageland is a fake documentary that recounts a vicious and brutal attack on a small town and the fallout that follows. The movie never exactly says what attacked the town, and even if sometimes it might seem obvious, it’s still very much open to interpretation. If you like your horror with biting political commentary and buckets of blood, this movie is for you.
There we have it, my top ten found footage films on Amazon Prime. Agree with my list? Hate my list? Did I miss anything? Head on down to our Twitter, the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook, and Subreddit to share your thoughts!