A found footage triple feature

For someone who isn’t even a huge fan of the subgenre, I somehow ended up watching three found footage films in a row, and each one is a subgenre within the subgenre, including possession horror, a comedy creature feature, and some torture porn.

STAY (2021)

If you need a found footage fix with some of the cliché elements that make the better films of the subgenre fun, this little indie is a good choice.

It goes right for the rip-off from the start with an oscillating camera right out of Paranormal Activity 3. It also has an inspiring model/influencer and her boyfriend moving into a new place, in this case a city apartment building.

There is a creepy mannequin left behind in the living space that delivers plenty of cheap scares over the course of the film. The couple immediately begins to experience plumbing problems. Of course they keep a camera rolling at all times because they are influencers. Not sure why that includes having one focused on their bed at night, but at least it lets us see a scary situation unfold…

The model basically morphs into an Asian horror flick ghost girl, all in white with her long black hair down over her face.

She spends a lot of time passing by the camera in the shadows to freak us out, and eventually we get to the running and screaming climax when the boyfriend brings in some friends to help him cleanse the house. As derivative as it all is, it totally delivers on the cheap thrills.

THE LEGEND OF SIX FINGERS (2013)

This silly little found footage horror comedy doesn’t try too hard to be anything more than a cute and somewhat entertaining film. It has funny moments, but no one went out of their way to write a comedy masterpiece.

In true Blair Witch mode, film students head into the woods to do a documentary. They interview the likes of Debbie Rochon and Lynn Lowry–total horror veteran stunt casting considering the actresses don’t get a chance to shine with what little material they’re given.

In fact, the standouts of the film would be these two funny guys, but sadly they’re just passing by…

The monster first appears 30 minutes in, and the confrontations are all quite casual. There’s really no aggressive horror action here, and the monster clearly doesn’t want to be bothered, and just looks bored by the filmmakers’ taunts.

There’s a tent scene to add to the Blair Witch nods, and things finally get physical, leading to a totally unexpected, out of place, and always welcome gory scene at the end. Yay!

HACKSAW (2020)

 

This hybrid found footage film runs just over an hour, which is fine, because it gets straight to the point. There’s very little plot and it’s not a high end production, but damn! If you’re just looking for some seriously nasty practical gore effects and some gritty, grisly atmosphere, this movie nails it.

I have to warn you, the gore is gory and repulsive. I don’t know what the powers that be are trying to tell me, but after I just watched a film from the 80s featuring a horrifically explicit vaginal impalement with a poker (Patrick Still Lives), the first few minutes of this film subjected me to an unapologetic in your face drilling of a vagina with a power tool.

In order to establish the back story of murders at a derelict hospital, clips of some guy with his own sensationalism show talking about the building and its horrible history are interspersed between the setup of the main couple’s story.

So what’s the couple’s story?

They are on a road trip. They take a detour. The guy is filming their trip and wants to go to check out the old hospital building.

It is when they enter the building that the film is at its roughest as it poorly transitions from found footage to standard third person during a switch from an exterior shoot to an interior shoot. It’s bright daylight outside, but when the perspective cuts to a fixed camera inside showing the guy enter the building, the set is drenched in gloomy horror tinting and there is no daylight pouring in through the door. Then we jump back to the guy’s camera perspective, and he points it down a stairway inside the building and there is bright daylight at the bottom of the steps! WTF? Some bad editing here for sure.

But it’s easy to look past that, because in just a matter of minutes, all hell breaks loose. There is some brutal slicing and dicing, flashbacks to the killer’s raping ways from years before, some sort of masked slave lurking in the darkness, a psycho in a creepy red mask and hoodie, a chase scene, and a battle to the death.

And that’s it. That’s the whole movie. It’s like so many movies we’ve seen compressed into a quickie that simply cuts outs all the excess victims.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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