Found Footage Roundup

If you’re in the mood for some POV action this steamy summer you should check out these found footage titles currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

First up is Horror in the High Desert (2021), a nice slow burner, structured almost like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Presented as a documentary, the film explores the days and events leading up to the disappearance of survivalist Gary (Eric Mencis) within the Nevada wilderness, including the last known video Gary ever filmed. In standard found footage/mockumentary fashion, this video represents the climax of the movie, and delivers some impressive, WTF creep-out moments.

The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan (2018) is a movie I’d read about for the last few years on FF blogs. Finally available on Tubi, I’m happy to report the film is worth the hype. The flick follows college student Leah (Anna Stromberg), a likable, spunky character who’s making a documentary on a local unsolved murder and, while doing so, stumbles onto the sinister truth. Funny, scary, and always engaging, Leah Sullivan succeeds in delivering a well-rounded and effective little scare show.

One of the more unsettling mockumentaries I’ve seen in recent years is Savageland (2015), a nasty little flick that deserves attention. The story revolves around the unexplained massacre of all 57 residents in a US-Mexican border town. Suspicion falls on the sole survivor, an illegal immigrant branded a psychopath. But the pictures he took that night tell a different story. What sets Savageland apart from the bulk of FF movies is that the footage in question isn’t video but still photographs, which the filmmakers cleverly weave into the story, creating a map of the bloody killing spree and showing some truly chilling imagery.

If you’re a fan of Paranormal Activity-style POV horror you might want to check out 21 Days (2014). In this unexceptional, slightly entertaining “let’s set up cameras to capture evidence of ghosts” movie, three friends lock themselves inside a supposedly haunted house to find out why the previous tenants left in such a hurry. Unfortunately, the movie falls into the overused FF trap of characters who, when in doubt, endlessly scream and shout their lines.

Last, and, unfortunately, least, is Blackwood Evil (2000), an early Blair Witch clone about a spirited journalist (Joanie Bannister), a cameraman (Richard Catt), and a psychic (Peggy Catt), who spend the night in a remote, abandoned house in rural Texas that’s reportedly been used for satanic worship and other sinister activity. The VHS-quality video formatting gives the movie a good atmosphere, but the movie takes way too long for anything interesting to happen, and, just like 21 Days, there’s too much unnecessary bickering between the characters. That said, the movie does attain a goofy charm during the confusing and chaotic climax.

Savageland is available on Amazon Prime. All the other titles are currently streaming on Tubi.