Tag Archive: Found Footage

The Bay (2012)


It’s been four years since the horrific 4th of July innocent in a small Maryland fishing town, when hundreds of people died under mysterious circumstances.  Up until now the government has done a good job keeping everything quiet, but someone wants the truth to get out.  This shadowy figure has found one of the lone survivors of that day who saw everything go down, a female reporter who was doing her first assignment as an intern, and she has agreed to be interviewed via Skype.  The movie then switches between her cameraman’s footage from that day, other cameras that were found and security footage to tell the tale, with her narration over the footage to keep it going where needed.

The whole outbreak started a few weeks earlier with some marine biologists noticing an abundance if dead fish. Turns out they were killed by parasites in the water, which isn’t really a big deal, it happens all the time.  But these parasites were much larger than normal, it is almost although they mutated in some way.  It couldn’t be due to the runoff from the local chicken farms that use excessive amounts of steroids in their chicken feed?  Yes. Yes it is. Soon the ‘roided up parasites begin breeding exponentially and the larvae make it into the town’s drinking water supply, where they grown inside the townsfolk and eat them from the inside out.

Alex’s Thoughts:  I wasn’t too sure about this movie after sitting through it for the first half hour.  There is a lot of buildup to the outbreak, and it takes a little too long to get there, but once it does, it hits hard and fast.  You sort of get lost in the fallout as people are dropping left and right and/or bleeding out of their faces.  Once you finish, you realize that it has been sort of preachy the entire time about genetically enhanced livestock and pollution, but the gore and viscera more than make up for that being shoved in your face.  It has a few jump scares here and there for the horror fans, and is a pretty good watch. Alex Rates This Movie 7/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I am never swimming again. At least not anytime soon, in a natural body of water. While this movie clearly has an agenda, it’s not all that different than the  old Godzilla movies talking about radiation, and nuclear power being the reason he pops out and stomps Tokyo to dust. So that caveat aside, I think this is an excellent horror movie. Found footage without the shaky cam, and showing you plenty without showing you too much. Unlike Alex, I thought the pacing was excellent, and I was rapt almost immediately. The various accounts are interwoven perfectly, and the suspense (especially because you already know why it’s happening) is sickening. I cringed every time they showed someone doing ANYTHING with water. Effective and entertaining, you can’t ask much more from a movie, especially a horror movie. I won’t even knock it’s preachiness, what classic science fiction movie isn’t a thinly veiled morality tale? Sometimes that’s what makes them great. Tim Rates This Movie 10/10

the bay

View the IMDB entry for this movie here.


V/H/S 2 (2013)


This movie opens with pretty much the same scenario as the previous one: people huddled around a bank of static filled televisions with a stack of video tapes just waiting to be watched.  This time around it is a pair of private investigators at the home of a missing college student.  They check out his video blog and see that he was watching these tapes before he disappeared, so let’s make some popcorn and watch 3 or 4 of these together shall we

PHASE I CLINICAL TRIALS – These held-held camera point of view movies try to find something to use instead of just a shaky camera, in this case it is an artificial eye that gives the wearer the ability to see again, but also conveniently records the images.  Not long after getting the implant, a man goes all Sixth Sense and starts seeing all these dead people in his house.  They don’t do anything, just sort of stand and stare.  The next morning a girl he recognized from the doctor’s office shows up and tells him the same thing is happening to her with her cochlear implant: hearing these dead folks talk all the time.  She tells him to ignore them and they can’t her them, but how do you ignore a house full of corpses?

A RIDE IN THE PARK – A guy is going for a quick mountain bike ride through the woods, straps his Go Pro on his helmet and he’s off!  Dude is tearing up the trails… big time, until he comes upon a chick looking pretty beat up and asking for help.  There isn’t much the guy can do for her and she dies right away, but since this is a horror flick and she is covered in bites, you know she going to come back as a zombie; and gives him a little love bite.  We are then shown a first-person perspective of a living person’s change into a zombie, and it isn’t pretty.  Now we have the first ZOMBIE CAM as he hunts along with other zombies; and all hell breaks loose as they encounter a little girl’s birthday party at a nearby park.

SAFE HAVEN – A documentary crew meets up with a controversial cult leader, and they ask for his permission to come to his compound so he can set the record straight about all the crazy stuff the public thinks is going on out there, but mostly they just want to see what this kook is up to.  He reluctantly agrees, and it turns out the public might have legitimate concerns, as this leader wants to purify all he followers by putting his greasy wang in them.  They picked a good day to come over, as it turns out today in the rapture!  As the crew is filming, the Jonestown flavored Kool-Aid is passed out and consumed by the women and children, and all of the men put a bullet in their own heads.  So it turns out this nut job was right since a huge demonic goat shows up and starts killing everyone!

SLUMBER PARTY ALIEN ABDUCTION – We see mom and dad pulling away for a weekend away from the kids, and seconds later the kid’s friends start to show up for a party weekend.  Things are going well, with plenty of fun being had and pranks being pulled.  The big sister puts a mini camera on the family terrier to catch her bother touching himself in his special place, and everyone had a good laugh. It’s then that they hear a loud noise followed by bright lights around the house.  The lights go out, and all of a sudden the house is full of aliens!? That’s right kids, it’s abduction time!  The kids and their little dog spend the next ten minutes running around with nothing but a strobe light to see by.  If you don’t end up having a seizure, you get to see the aliens catch these kids, where we’re sure they will have something stuck up their butts within the hour.

Alex’s Thoughts: I really liked the first V/H/S. It was low budget, but full of imaginative stories by small time indy directors.  I was excited to see a larger budget sequel with big time horror movie directors was in the works.  I think I hyped myself up too much, because I was sort of disappointed.  This isn’t to say that V/H/S 2 isn’t good, and doesn’t have some great moments because it does.  I guess I was just expecting for bang for buck.  The highlights for me were A Ride on the Park, with the exception of the ending, and Safe haven, which was gust so good due to it’s shear strangeness.  The other two I didn’t like quite as much. For one, watching an alien abduction happen from a dog’s POV with no lighting except for a strobe is enough to make almost anyone queasy, but there isn’ enough of a payoff for all of that nausea.  The robot eye story wasn’t bad, but I didn’t connect with the actors, as their sense of dread just didn’t come through for me.  I would say that if you like the first one and horror movie anthologies, you will enjoy this.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Unlike Alex I was not disappointed with VHS 2 at all. It suffers from only one weak story (Slumber Party) and the wraparound story is much better this time. I really found the first story creepy, and the zombie bike ride was a lot of fun. Like a lot of horror movies the Safe Haven story went on about 1 minute too long, and could have ended stronger, instead it just gets silly. Not having much hope for this I came in skeptical, and left impressed. Unlike last time, I am looking forward to what they come up with next. Plus some of the anthology horror movies are the best, i.e. Creepshow. Tim Rates This Movie 8/10


View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

grave encounters 2 poster

A film student posts his online review of the horror movie Grave Encounters, denouncing it as an awful piece of trash and something that should be avoided.  A few days later he gets an anonymous email from someone living near the asylum telling him that the movie was real and those people who died on-screen in that flick really are dead; killed my the ghosts inside the old hospital.  The kid calls bullshit, but decides to do a little research; and sure enough, those people are missing. After traveling to LA and meeting with the producer, he tells the kid to leave it alone and not get involved as he thinks it’s real too.

The student gets another email from this stranger telling the kid to meet him at the hospital and the truth will be revealed.  Sounds sort of ominous, huh? The guys brings a group of his film school friends and they recreate the first movie while they wait for the mystery guest to appear.  When they get to the agreed upon meeting spot, there is only a Ouija board. It goes off on its own and tells them to ‘film everything’. Just like in the first one, the ghosts materialize and chase them all around, killing a few in the process.  Unlike the first one, the survivors find the front door and escape back to their hotel room, but this haunted place isn’t going to let them go so easily. They find themselves trapped again in this cursed place that would give M.C. Escher fits, but find help from an unlikely source.

Alex’s Thoughts: The first movie was pretty good, and they should have left well enough alone, as this thing is a complete turd in so many ways. The first half of the movie is full of pointless college jabbering and parties shot on shaky hand-held cameras that do nothing for the story, except for you wanting these kids to die a horrible death. Once they finally get in the asylum it is more of the same stuff from the first one, but with effects that are laughable at times. The twist (where their hotel turns into the hospital) didn’t make any sense at all.  I was extremely disappointed the entire time I was watching this, but most of all that fact that (SPOILER ALERT) the asylum was the one sending the emails; what the shit was that? If you liked the first one, leave it at that and keep your fond memories of this franchise there. Alex Rates This Movie 1/10

Tim’s Thoughts: There are a few bright spots in this otherwise uninspired movie which borrows endlessly from better films, including it’s predecessor. I enjoyed the shiftiness of the asylum, and some of the things they did with that, but when they run into a character with the worst wig I have ever seen in a movie, I am out. Especially when combined with a lame climax, that is completely ripped off from Chronicle, and don’t get me started on some of the laughable effects. The attempts to be self aware are lame, not to mention the lead’s desire to revolutionize horror films, while his magnum opus is also just a series of bad horror tropes. Lame. Tim Rates This Movie 1/10

grave-encounters 2 girl

View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Grave Encounters (2011)

grave encounters poster

After taping just five episodes, the paranormal investigation show Grave Encounters is about to film at their scariest location yet: an abandoned psychiatric hospital.  The legend is, like most movies that use this location as a backdrop, that the head surgeon there use to experiment on the patients, killing dozens in the process, until the patients started a riot and killed a lot of the staff. The four person team, plus an actor portraying a psychic, plan on being locked in this place overnight to document any strange happenings, but will resort to faking things if need be.

Luckily for them the place really is haunted, and starts out slowly with doors opening and closing on their own, but things soon amp up and the sprits start to get aggressive; pushing and scratching the crew members.  Several of the crew go missing, only to be found later dressed as patients and batshit crazy.  They attempt to break down the front door, they only find a new hallway to go along with the endless other mazes within. Morning never comes and they are trapped there, in the dark, for days, as the ghosts torment them and kill them off one by one. Can the show’s host, and lone survivor, escape to tell the world that ghosts do exist?

Alex’s Thoughts:  This thing starts out really slowly, and I was sure I was going to be disappointed, and about a half hour in was already mad at Netflix for suggesting this and rating it so high. It didn’t take much longer after that, that things started going nuts, and it got really creepy real quick.  There are a lot of jump scares later in the film, and a few of them got me.  It ended up being one of those movies where so much awful stuff is happing you just want it to end, but it seems to drag on and forces you to be tormented along with the cast.  Some effects, while totally predictable, were pretty good, and overall it was well done for a low budget flick.  It isn’t perfect, but if you liked getting scared this one is for you. Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts:I was sure that this would be a run of the mill “Found Footage” movie, and I was pleasantly surprised. It starts off pretty typical, but once it escalates, it gets pretty good. Not all of the effects are great, but they get the job done. I think this will get the people who don’t think Paranormal Activity has enough punch, and will keep the fans of the “Found Footage” ghost story movies interested. Nothing revolutionary, but definitely fun, and worth a watch. Tim Rates This Movie 7/10

grave encounters ghost

View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Before DVD There Was…

V/H/S  (2012) w/ a guest review from Matt Deitchley


A group of punk twenty-something hipsters are hired by a friend-of-a-friend to steal a VHS tape from a home belonging to an old man.  They bring along their camcorder to film their shenanigans, as per usual (despite this being present day).  Upon entering the home they find  all of the rooms empty except for one. It has a dead guy in it, surrounded by a bunch of TVs with a VHS tape player.  They proceed to take a look and see what are on these tapes, so they know what there are stealing.  Each tape they view is more gruesome than the last. Here’s what they saw:

Tape 1: A group of three d-bags decide to film each other having sex with whatever girl they can bring back to their hotel room after a night out drinking, with a camera built into a pair of glasses.  The three boys manage to bring back two girls, one of whom passes out before they can make their little video.  So that leaves three dudes and one odd quirky girl who doesn’t seem quite right, but is attracted to the guy with the camera glasses.

The alpha of the group sets about doing his thing, but she wants to be with glasses guy. The third guy tries to get in on the action too be she ends up biting his hand.  They open the bathroom door to find the girl ripping alpha guy apart, not sexually, but literally.  She then kills the other guy as glasses escapes down the hall, but the oaf falls down the stairs and breaks his wrists.  She gives chase and you get a good view of how this once cute girl is now a grotesque monster.  She still claims to like the boy and tries to give him a BJ.  Maybe it is the fact that his bone is sticking out of his hand, or maybe that this girl just ate his friends, but he can’t get it up.  She is upset by this and starts to cry, so glasses takes-off again.  As he goes for help he is lifted into the air, as we get a glimpse of the girl flying away with him as his glasses fall back down to earth.

vhs monster

Tape 2:  A young couple is recording their road trip through the Southwest.  Most of it is your basic tourist type stuff.  One night in their hotel they hear a knock at the door: someone is asking for some help, but they ignore them and go to sleep.  The camera comes on as we see the guy sleeping, then we see the girl sleeping too. Who could be filming this if it isn’t them?  Whoever has the camera makes threatening gestures with a knife before stealing their money and sticking their toothbrushes in the toilet. They are none the wiser.

Some more touristy stuff, then back to another hotel room as the guy is being filmed again as he sleeps.  This time it isn’t just to rob them, as someone sticks a knife in his throat.  The next shot is of his girlfriend and another girl making out in the bathroom, both covered in his blood, it just stops there.

VHS stabber

Tape 3: A girl takes her three friends out to a secluded lake, all the while dropping hints that they will be killed out there.  As they sit around the water the girl tells the story of when she came out here a few years ago, and all her friends were killed by some psycho, and no one believed her.  She explains that they are just bait for him, and she plans on catching the killer.  Sure enough he shows up and kills them off one by one until only the girl is left, but she has rigged the woods like Arnold in the end of Predator.  The killer falls into her traps, but isn’t slowed by any of them, any of which would kill a normal person.  The last thing we see if the guy pulling out the girl’s intestines.

VHS woods

Tape 4: A girl is web chatting with her boyfriend, and after showing him her boobs, takes him on a tour of her new apartment.  She shows him all of the spots where weird things have been happening, like the sound of footsteps. The next night they are chatting and she hears a knock at the door, no one is there when she opens it, and leaves it open just to be sure. It’s then that a creepy looking kid runs into the apartment, and then shuts the door behind it.  The guy plays it off like it was the wind, but he scared for his girlfriend. She calls the next night and hears the same noise, and instead of turning on a light like a normal human, she uses the flash from her camera, which reveals a kid sitting in front of the TV, who starts to chase her. She is officially freaked at this point.

The next day while talking, she tells him that her arm has been hurting then proceeds to show him the huge hole she has cut into herself where she is poking around looking for what’s causing the discomfort. Maybe it’s the silver dollar sized hole you cut yourself? Another night, but this time there are like 5 ghost kids in the room. She faints, and then her boyfriend, who is supposed to be a thousand miles away comes into the room and cuts a demon baby out of her, then breaks her arm and tells her doctors she was hit by a car.  She thinks she is crazy, but her boyfriend tells her it will be ok and hangs up. Seconds later he is chatting with another topless girlfriend, where we are lead to believe that this whole thing will happen to her as well. WTF?

vhs skype

Back to the movie itself:  The group’s leader returns to the room with the tapes and TV, after searching the rest of the house, to find everyone missing, even the dead guy.  He finds one of his friends minus a head in the hall, and also sees the dead guy, who is no longer dead as we are treated to one final tape as the guy is ripped to shreds.

Tape 5: A group of frat guys are headed off to a Halloween party in a part of town they don’t know. They get to the house but find it empty, and figure that someone is just playing a prank on them.  They hear some voices coming from the attic, and when they go to investigate, find a bunch of cultists about to sacrifice a girl.  They run for the hills, but they realize they can’t leave this girl to die and the hands of these crazy mofos, so they go back.  They fight off the cultists who are soon pulled into the rafters by an unseen force as the guys grab the girl and go.  The house is now 100% haunted with arms coming out of the walls, birds flying around inside, and stuff floating and crashing.

They get the girl to their car and speed off in the nick of time.  She isn’t doing well and they need to get her to a hospital ASAP.  That is when the car stalls and the lights go out.  When they come back one, the girl is gone, but soon appears outside of the car looking all sorts of spooky.  The doors won’t open, but that is the least of their problems… as they are on a train track with one barreling down on them!

Alex’s Thoughts: I like horror movie anthologies; getting different directors and stories all in the same movie keeps my attention and the movie fresh. This was a good concept, and was pulled off decently, though it could have been better with some sort of explanation about the old guy and the house.  All of the tapes were open-ended without the viewer knowing what happened, so it would have been nice to have at least one story explained to us.  The shaky cam footage was way shaky this time around, and if you have vertigo you will lose it within the first 3 minutes for sure.  The acting was fine and the effects were decent, but with found-footage movies the effects don’t have to be great, since the film quality is often poor.  Here is what I would rate the tapes: Monster Girl (Tape 1) 9/10, Road Trip (Tape 2) 2/10, Haunted Woods (Tape 3) 6/10, Scary Skype (Tape 4) 6/10 & Wrong House (Tape 5) 8/10.  Although reviews are mixed among horror fans, I liked it. Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I am going to be the bad guy here. There has been some discussion about our rating system and how our numbers really represent our feelings. There will probably be a post sometime soon regarding this, but for now assume that anything six and up is a recommend, and this is a solid 6. First things first, this movie is way too long. Some of the vignettes are stronger than others, and I think we all agree on what those are, but the flaws are rampant, and almost damning. I disliked the first part of this movie so much that I would have turned it off if it weren’t for the blog. That also means I would have missed some really good stories. The real appeal for me is the way the mini-movies reminded me of ghost stories I would read as a kid, and like all those generic compilations there is always a clunker, and most of the stories have weak parts where it takes too long to get going, or lingers too long in their endings. Long story short (too late) see this and decide for yourself, it’s good enough to see it in it’s entirety, but not great. Tim Rates This Movie 6/10

Matt’s Thoughts: I’m always conflicted when it comes to horror movies. I really enjoy the good ones, but I get creeped out really easily too and I’m not a big fan of cheap scares. I’m pretty much a 9 year old girl. So, for me to sit through an entire horror movie and get freaked, the movie better be worth the hefty electric bill that follows when I turn every light on in my house for a week afterward, in addition to the awkward conversations with my wife:

Me: “Gah! Where did you come from?! Stop jumping out of the shadows like a Ghoulie!”

My Wife: “Uh, I just asked if you wanted fish for dinner. … Anyway, did you have any laundry to do?”

Me: “GAH! Stop it!”

I’d say this movie qualifies as worth my terrified-ness. There are some definite flaws with V/H/S, namely the storyline that attempts to connect all the random tape viewings is weak. This would have worked better if the teens found these videos randomly, or even if they kept the existing storyline of teens breaking into a house for a tape, but didn’t add a killer dead guy into the mix. It often makes very little sense and becomes distracting from the others stories, most of which are engaging and fun. This movie is also much too long, at 2 hours. The Road Trip (Tape 2) and The Killer in the Woods (Tape 3) are both the weakest and could be cut altogether. But Monster Girl (Tape 1) is a slow build with a cool/creepy climax and good effects. Scary Skype (Tape 4) is a nice Paranormal Activity-esque short, that’s predictible but geniunely creepy. And Wrong [Haunted] House (Tape 5) appears to be unoriginal and boring, until the last five minutes when some killer effects will have you sitting up in your chair and saying, “Oh shit! They is effing screwed!” Overall this is a fun movie with surprisingly impressive effects for low budget horror. It’s good enough to share with friends so you can take credit for “finding it” when they like it. Plus, if one of the stories is dragging for you, just skip ahead to the next. Matt Rates This Movie 8/10

View the IMDB entry for this movie here, or add it to your Netflix queue

Apartment 143 (2011)

Guess what, kids? It’s another found footage horror movie! In this one, we have a group of professional paranormal investigators at the apartment of a recently widowed guy and his two kids.  Some crazy things were happening at his house right before his wife died, and progressively got worse, so they left everything behind and moved to a dumpy little apartment to try to escape whatever was going on.  It must not have worked, otherwise this crew wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t have a movie.

 The crew sets up all sorts of cameras and fancy ghost detecting equipment, and over the course of the next 12 hours get some really solid proof that this place is haunted: things move by themselves and they catch a glimpse of a ghost in a picture they took.  The next day they try to exercise the spirit with a fancy machine, but that doesn’t do much. So the next logical step is to get the ghost to manifest itself so they can try to reason with it.  They get their wish, but everyone is too freaked out at the sight of an adult-sized Regan from The Exorcist to do anything but scream and look for the nearest light switch.  The ghost isn’t content to just be seen, it wants to hurt them; the dad specifically.  It’s there to seek revenge for the death of the wife, but how exactly it came to be is the main focus of the rest of the movie. 

Alex’s Thoughts: This one starts to pick up after a very slow start, and it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that someone stopped watching after twenty minutes, because there is nothing going on; just people setting up video equipment.  Once the haunting stuff starts, it begins to pick up, but even that wasn’t enough for me.  It is essentially a Paranormal Activity meets Ghost Hunters; you know that something is going to happen at the end of that long lingering 2-minute shot of the wall, and we’ve seen it all before.  It tries to be edgy by actually showing the spirit tormenting the family, but it isn’t anything all that scary. The cause for the haunting is somewhat of a plot twist, but not enough to warrant the time spent watching.  I have mixed feelings about it; I want to like it, but it is just too much like movies that I’ve already seen.  I would say if you like the Paranormal Activity sequels, you would like Apt. 143Alex Rates This Movie 6.5/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Yet another Paranormal Activity clone, starts off interesting enough, then becomes impatient and starts going for cheap scares. The original movie works so well because it doesn’t give in, they wear you down with suspense. Apt. 143 is more of the same, and quickly becomes predictable. Despite all of this, it did hold my attention, but by the end the payoff is negligible. Tim Rates This Movie 5/10

View the IMDB entry for this movie here, or add it to your Netflix queue.