Over the past few years as media technology becomes more available to the every day person, horror mockumentary has grown into a definitive style and sub-genre within horror, to connect to this new generation of technology and how we relate to it. Shaky cam, retroscripting, low budget, independent films remade across countries, all these elements make up the definition of such films. They experiment in how far they can go to make the audience feel like they are experiencing something real, raw, and ultimately more terrifying.
[rec] (DVD 9756)
This Spanish film (English subtitles) is a critically aclaimed claustraphobic and terrifying zombie horror film based in Barcelona, Spain. A reporter and her cameramen are filming a segment for a reality TV series. As they follow a local fire crew around, they find themselves stuck in an apartment building slowly unfolding into horror as they realize something much more disastrous than a routine call is occurring.
The Blair Witch Project (DVD 349 c.2)
The infamous Blair Witch Project gained it’s terrifying authentic feel from “real footage” and actors whom were given no script but outlines of the story to improvise, a technique known as “retroscripting”. One of the most successful mockumentaries and independent films ever, this movie is centered around three student filmmakers who attempt to create a documentary about a legend known as the Blair Witch. As the filming progresses, the students get lost in the woods, and unseen incidents begin to unravel as something or someone taunts them every night.
Paranormal activity (DVD 11903)
Paranormal Activity was initially an incredibly low budget film, shot within a 7 day period and using a home video camera for believability rather than action and gore. Director Peli says that the dialogue was “natural” because there was no real script but instead used the retroscripting technique also used in the making of The Blair Witch Project.
A young middle class couple who are engaged to be married move into a suburban ‘starter’ house in San Diego, California. Strange events influence the couple to reach out to spiritual beings, only causing more frightening experiences. As their sleep becomes a tool for the spiritual precense, the couple may never have a peaceful night again.
Cloverfield (DVD 8752)
This mockumentary is supposedly a piece of evidence in the “Cloverfield” case file. The shaky cam used in this film was so intense it was known to evoke headaches, dizziness, and nausea among audiences.The film begins with Rob who is getting ready to leave New York and is having a goodbye party in a crowded loft, being filmed by a friend. Past tape footage of Rob’s previous relationship with a woman named Beth cuts in and out throughout the movie. As this party is occuring, New York is suddenly under attack from a monster so Rob and his friends take to the streets. Instead of running away, though, they head toward the center of destruction so that Rob can rescue Beth.
Troll Hunter (DVD 13941)
A 2010 Norwegian dark fantasy film. A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter. The filmmakers tried to maintain maximum secrecy around the project. They kept both the title and cast secret until shortly before the premiere, producing teasers to create a viral effect.