50 Greatest Found Footage Moments

Apartment 143 (2011)

The Moment: “Is there anybody there?” During a séance scene, Caitlin (Gia Mantegna) is possessed by an evil spirit, which turns her eyes white.

Say ‘no’ to séances, kids.

Why It's Great:
There’s just something about those all-white eyes...

Zero Day (2003)

The Moment: Zero Day comes to a violent climax with security cameras showing us Andre Kriegman (Andre Kreuck) and Calvin Gabriel (Cal Robertson) as they storm into school and carry out a bloody massacre.

Why It's Great: It’s intended to shock and dismay, which is exactly what this scene does.

It’s particularly upsetting given the similarities to real-life high school atrocities.

Atrocious (2010)

The Moment: We get answers and not a little blood as Christian (Cristian Valencia) discovers an old videotape of his mother being interviewed in an asylum.

As the truth outs, revealing Christian’s mother as a murderer, she sneaks up behind him with an axe…

Why It's Great: It’s a great pantomime-style boo scare.

Evidence (2011)

The Moment: When the group of campers start hearing noises in the night, they soon discover trees that have been engraved with words like ‘listen’.

The group quickly realise that somebody has been inscribing their reactions to the noises in the bark…

Why It's Great: It’s one of the film’s first mysteries before it turns into an all-screaming, all-running monster chase flick, and a tantalising hint at some of the horror to come.

8213: Gacy House (2010)

The Moment: The shit really hits the fan at the end of this horror flick as an unseen force puts a team of paranormal investigators through the wringer.

Cue levitation, body dragging and creepy shadows.

Why It's Great:
It’s obviously heavily influenced by Paranormal Activity, but that doesn’t stop it from being pretty effective.

Begotten (1990)

The Moment: Director Elias Merhige’s disturbing debut opens as it means to go, with the grubby image of a god-like creature gutting itself before its distressed offspring is buried by Druids…

Why It's Great: The entire film is completely dialogue-free, relying on its over-exposed and grainy visuals to unsettle and terrify.

That approach works particularly well in this scene, which throws you right in at the deep end, and doesn’t let up for the next 70 minutes.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

The Moment: In one of the tapes of a seriously depraved serial killer, teenager Cheryl Dempsey (Stacy Chbosky) is bound and gagged in the killer’s basement.

Scared and alone, Cheryl can only sense the creeping figure that enters the basement on all fours, a white mask covering his face…

Why It's Great: It’s not especially graphic, but Cheryl’s escalating panic and the lithe, exaggerated movements of the killer are enough to have us twisted up in terror.

Punishment Park (1971)

The Moment: An anti-war prisoner lets rip at an emergency tribunal, eloquently condemning the Vietnam war and eventually being dragged out of the room – along with the chair he’s chained to.

Why It's Great: It highlights the injustice of the war as sane, eloquent arguments fall on deaf ears.

Lovely Molly (2011)

The Moment: Grubby and naked, Molly (Gretchen Lodge) slowly eases herself up from the floor, opens the front door, and steps out into the darkness – where a tall figure with glowing eyes opens its arms to embrace her.

Why It's Great: Disturbing on a physical and psychological level, this pretty much represents Molly’s descent into insanity.

Plus there’s nothing spookier than a big thing in the darkness with glowing eyes.

The Tunnel (2011)

The Moment: That horrible, excruciating moment when journalist Natasha (Bel Deliá) watches as an eyeless security guard, who’s chest-deep in water, has his head twisted by a creepy humanoid.

Why It's Great: It’s just about the scariest head-twist since The Exorcist.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.