It’s a triple feature with filmed footage, but the intent is to take different approaches to how and why the characters are filming the footage. Let’s see how that worked out for these horror flicks.
CURSE OF AURORE (2020)
If you love found footage films, you should probably check this one out. It sort of combines the long-winded storytelling style of The Blair Witch Project with the cult themes presented later in the Paranormal Activity franchise.
Curse of Aurore is book-ended with a dude who has an internet show in which he covers murder mysteries and such. It’s a pointless gimmick beyond perhaps trying to make the creators feel like they weren’t doing just another paint-by-numbers found footage film.
Anyway, this dude receives a USB drive in the mail, plugs it in, and then the found footage begins. Three young filmmakers—a girl and two guys—travel to her (uninhabited) family home to get inspiration for a script. Seems there’s a story of a young girl in the town who was tortured and murdered by her family, but no one was ever held accountable.
Thing is, the main girl’s house is haunted enough for them to never even have to go to the dead little girl’s house (which they eventually do). Therein lies the problem with this film. While there’s plenty of mystery unfolding along the way, none of it ever adds up or even logically links to what becomes of the trio by the end. Before they even delve into the past of the little girl, they’re being terrorized by something, and we never learn why.
The good news is there are definitely some creepy and chilling moments to keep us entertained, and the ending is a little more exciting than your average low budget found footage film (if not just as predictable).
And finally, as with most found footage films, a huge annoyance is that the guy with the camera never puts it down. It doesn’t even make sense because the characters are not shooting a film or hunting for ghosts or anything like that. So, for instance, when their car gets stuck in a ditch and they go to a stranger’s house for help, it is beyond disrespectful that this dude is welcomed inside and chooses to film the strangers and their home instead of turning off the camera. Ridiculous.
UNTITLED HORROR MOVIE (2021)
Horror movies that take place entirely through video conversations have become a thing in the past few years, in part thanks to COVID hitting. Some of them can be headache inducing, but Untitled Horror Movie is clean and simple, and I was pretty damn entertained.
It’s funny, it’s suspenseful, it has plenty of horror meta references, there are a few successful jump scares, the performances walk the perfect line between serious and campy, and it even features cameos by Kal Penn and Aisha Tyler.
Six actors get the heads-up that they are about to be fired from their television show. So they decide to make a low budget found footage film by simply filming their parts at home on their phones. Little do they know that when they each film an occult ritual scene, they actually conjure some sort of evil presence. Brilliant little concept.
Slowly but surely they begin to experience creepy situations, but no one is really sure if it’s real or if everyone is just acting. It has a found footage feel to it—you’re spooked by what you can’t see—but things ramp up in the last act, which really had me on the edge of my seat.
And the final scene pay-off is just silly plain horror fun.
This fun little movie is like a mashup of a found footage film, home invasion flick, and psycho stalker thriller of the early 1990s.
A straight couple has a travel vlogging channel online. They visit destinations then film videos of the experience, giving reviews of whether or not it’s worth vacationing there.
As they head to a villa in the woods, we learn that he secretly plans to propose to her on the show. As usual, it’s just irrelevant fluff added simply to make you feel something for the characters.
They can’t get into the villa once they arrive and have to call the owner of the place to help. She’s over-the-top, super enthusiastic, overbearing, has no filters, and quickly becomes a little intrusive. And when a woman shows up to give the couple a hard time because they gave her business a bad review (horror queen Barbara Crampton), the owner’s cheery demeanor turns frighteningly nasty in an instant.
In other words, she’s a psycho, and actress Gracie Gillam steals the show playing the part. She should be getting some major horror queen notice, with a long list of roles in TV shows like Z Nation, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and Scream Queens, plus movies like the Fright Night remake, Some Kind of Hate, Dark Summer, and Tales of Halloween.
Her manic, stalk and destroy performance in the final act definitely gives this one more life than similar films.