Top 10 Found Footage Films: Skinwalker Ranch (2013) – Europa Report (2013) & Dytlove Pass Incident (2013) Reviews

Ever since I saw Blair Witch Project & Chronicle, I have had a soft corner in my heart for the found footage subgenre of horror film. I firmly believe that when they’re done right, they can be profoundly interesting takes on horror iconography, scary for their entailed, realism and the way this realism involves that we don’t see more than our civilian cinematographer would.

Here are few found footage films which I have watched this December & Even includes my top 10 list of found footage films.

Movie Review: Europa Report
Star Cast:  Daniel Wu, Sharlto Copley, Christian Camargo, Karolina Wydra, Michael Nyqvist, Anamaria Marinca, Embeth Davidtz.
Director:  Sebastian Cordero.

Synopsis: Six astronauts on an international, independently financed mission fly to Europa, the ice-caked moon of Jupiter, seeking life believed to exist under the frozen surface. Bad things happen to them. This is the story of what happens, as pieced together by mission control.

The acting is fantastic and comes across as realistic and natural. I was really pleased with the delivery of every actor. The special effects are realistic looking and seamless, so much so I didn’t even think about them until now. Europa Report appropriately falls somewhere between Prometheus & Sunshine. A good-looking, found footage/pseudo-documentary movie.

Bottom-line: Worth A Look!!

Movie Review: The Dyatlov Pass
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Vikram Weet
Star Cast: Holly Goss, Matt Stokoe, Luke Albright

The Dyatlov Pass Incident, retitled Devil’s Pass in syllable shunning territories, is a low-budget addition to the increasingly well-worn found footage sub-genre.

Movie based on a real-life tragedy of a group of nine Russian skiers, mysteriously killed in the Ural Mountains in 1959. The official explanation was that it was from a natural force i.e. an avalanche. The film, rather fascinatingly, opens with genuine photos of the group before their demise, led by Igor Dyatlov (hence the name). The Soviet authorities closed the area for some years afterwards, leading to the birth of a range of conspiracy theories.

Synopsis: A small group of US student filmmakers head to the Russian Ural mountains to investigate the mysterious deaths of nine Russian skiers in the 1950’s. But they soon realise that trying to uncover the truth will lead to their own frantic battle for survival.

Director Renny Harlin’s (Cliff hanger fame) The Dyatlov pass is live found footage horror depends on how exonerative you are feeling. Movie has Lot of mess, bad dialogues, includes snowmen, soviet conspiracies, and a sensationally high concept. The factual premise the film is based on is pretty interesting but in the hands of Renny Harlin, it is never really going to be anything more than what it is – A below average found footage horror movie.

Bottom-line: A compelling story with an awesome avalanche scene.

Movie Review: Skinwalker Ranch
Star Cast: Taylor Bateman, Steve Berg, Michael Black
Director: Devin McGinn

Skinwalker Ranch is a real place located in middle-of-nowhere Utah. For many paranormal researchers, it is considered to be Mecca. Strange reports, including UFO sightings, Bigfoot encounters, bright lights in the sky, and poltergeist activity, have all been reported. Researchers spent years trying to capture and document this activity but were largely unsuccessful.

Synopsis: The ranch of the title is a farm where a little boy mysteriously vanished a year earlier and where the boy’s distraught father hopes he will return. The rancher reluctantly lets a team of supernatural researchers (led by Steve Berg) set up its multiple surveillance cameras, in hopes of solving the mystery. But the ghost hunters, joined by a skeptical journalist (played by Devin McGinn), find even more strange things happening.

Skinwalker Ranch is a low-budget supernatural thriller, shows there are still some good scares to be found in the found footage genre.

Bottomline: Skinwalkers Ranch is passable but totally nonsensical, found footage mystery thriller that goes barmy as the final revelations are spelled out.

My Top 10 Found Footage Films:

1   The Blair Witch Project: The story is simple; in 1994 three students go to the woods to shoot a documentary about a local witch and after a couple of days they disappear without a trace. What I like about this movie is that it shows you don’t need gore, special effects and CGI to make an effective and scary horror. This is a perfect example of found footage movie done right.
2.      Grave Encounters: A fake ghost hunters are exploring haunted asylum and find more they were hoping for. Has good performances, CGI, black humour and thrills.
3.       V/H/S: When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for. EPIC!!
4.      Paranormal Activity Series: Probably the best Found Footage series. No gore, no special effects, just simple tricks, game with shadows and horrible feeling of something going wrong with no ability to stop it.
5.       Cloverfield: A found footage monster movie about a giant creature attacking New York City. Movie vas very intense and creepy scenes. Godzilla + Found Footage = Cloverfield.
6.      Chronicle: Chronicle totally a different found footage film. Movie about three teenagers, Andrew, Steve and Matt find a hole in the ground and uncover something that gives them the power to move things with their minds.
7.       [REC] & [REC 2]: Both the movies are on the same level of true found footage horror.
8.      The Tunnel: The Tunnel is part found footage movie and part mock-umentary about a group of australian journalists, who are exploring the system of abandoned tunnels in Sydney and discover something horrible. Very Intense film.
9.      Trollhunter: A funny and exciting trip into dark forest, filled with trolls. The ending of this makes this film special.
10.   Occult: A big fan of Kôji Shiraish. Occult is a bit long found footage film. But a decent film that won’t disappoint you.

Waiting to Watch:
1.       The Last Broadcast
2.      Man Bites Dog
3.       Exhibit A
4.      Zero Day
5.       Cannibal Holocaust

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