The Most Underrated Found-Footage Horror Movies

Over 1.4K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Underrated Found-Footage Horror Movies
Voting Rules
Vote up the films that had you erasing all your home movies.

Found footage is one of horror's most divisive sub-genres. The often shaky, typically low-budget movies either have people running to the box office or throwing popcorn at the screen before popping two ginger chews to quell their rapidly rising nausea. Stomach issues aside, It's hard to deny the appeal of movies that immerse viewers within the confines of whatever horror they're watching.

Based on box office numbers alone, people are still willing to fork over hefty movie prices for grainy shots of strangers running down hallways. Often credited as reigniting the genre, The Blair Witch Project grossed a worldwide total of $248.6 million, paving the way for more recent heavy hitters like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity.

Their combined popularity is proof that audiences are hungry for handheld horrors, but it's undeniable that for every quality film, there's a deluge of “some dumb guy with a camera” snoozefests. Hidden in the weeds of lackluster films are underappreciated gems that prove found footage still reigns supreme as one of horror's best sub-genres.

If a bit of motion sickness hasn't stopped you from flocking around firsthand accounts of (fictional) disasters, vote up your favorite underrated found-footage film from the list below.

  • It's easy to dismiss Grave Encounters as another found-footage film featuring a group of characters who stick their noses where they don't belong, but the cheeky Ghost Hunters knock-off subverts tired tropes to deliver a generally pleasurable - and frightening - viewing experience.

    After locking themselves in the infamous Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital for the night to film the sixth episode of their show, the Grave Encounters crew slowly realizes they may have stumbled upon a location that's actually haunted. Unfortunately for them, it's too late to escape once they realize something is stalking them down the hallway, stealing both their sanity and their lives.

    By focusing on a group of ghost hunters who pay off “witnesses,” employ a fake medium, and generally don't believe in ghosts, Grave Encounters perfectly primes a premise that's cheesy and fun but also full of suspense. The film draws out an undeniable tension as the audience waits for the crew to face the consequences of their mistake - just don't expect the subtle horror popularized by the other movies on this list.

    Grave Encounters leans on in-your-face scares, fully utilizing ghosts and special effects to leave you jumping in your seat.

    620 votes

    Available On:



  • 2
    289 VOTES

    Noroi: The Curse

    Japan produces some of the most nightmare-inducing films in the horror genre. Box office hits like The Ring and The Grudge have cemented their place in horror history, but their well-deserved popularity has overshadowed notable films that deserve more credit.

    The growth of streaming services over the last decade has evened out the playing field, allowing international films to circumvent traditional distribution to attract new audiences. 2005's Noroi: The Curse has benefited from recent exposure and accumulated a cult following after being named one of the most terrifying found-footage films in existence.

    Best described as a collection of recordings that make up the last few days of a paranormal investigator's life, Noroi is slow-burn horror that relies on tension to gradually build a growing sense of unease. Instead of jump-scares, Noroi leans into the psychological, using seemingly unrelated interviews, TV clips, and daily recordings to unravel the spine-chilling mystery at the heart of the film.

    Paired with grainy, VHS-quality shots that become increasingly more terrifying as the film progresses, it's impossible to walk away from Noroi without being at least a little shaken up.

    289 votes
  • The Taking of Deborah Logan begins as a case study of degenerative disease. A film crew records Alzheimer's patient Deborah's experience with her disease in exchange for enough money to keep her out of the hospital and inside her home. Often emotional, it's easy to sympathize with Deborah and her daughter, Sarah, who has been caring for her mother (or attempting to) as her illness progresses.

    The ambiguity between mental illness and possession drives the film forward, creating disturbing scenes that leave the characters - and audience - questioning the reason behind Deborah's changing behavior. Is it really an illness causing an otherwise docile and soft-natured woman to attack crew members?

    The question becomes harder to answer as Deborah continues to deteriorate. Shots of her angrily whispering to herself and digging up the yard in the middle of the night become all the more jarring when an ulterior explanation for her actions comes under scrutiny. Deborah's descent into dementia would be terrifying enough without the sinister transformation that pushes the film to a satisfying climax.

    822 votes
  • 4
    319 VOTES


    Photo: BBC

    Found footage heavily relies on creating believable atmospheres that blur the line between reality and fiction. When done right, this manipulates the audience into forgetting scenes were filmed by a professional crew and not simply found on a discarded camcorder.

    Some films were so believable, they caused widespread panic. Harkening back to the days of The War of The Worlds, the BBC's infamous Ghostwatch broadcast scared a nation so badly, it caused one woman to go into early labor.

    Set in a fictional haunted house, Ghostwatch reported on the alleged paranormal experiences of the Early family, who claimed they were under attack from supernatural forces. While the documentary contained subtle clues pointing to its fiction, audiences were fooled by the use of prominent TV personalities acting as themselves as they came face to face with an evil spirit.

    Without a clear indication that the show was meant to be a hoax, viewers believed they were witnessing evidence of an actual demonic entity. Ghostwatch was so effective in terrifying the audience, it gave some children post-traumatic stress disorder and was even accused of being responsible for someone's death.

    So severe were the reactions that the mockumentary was banned from ever being played again.

    319 votes
  • 5
    872 VOTES

    As Above, So Below

    Almost as divisive as its sub-genre, As Above, So Below follows an archeological student who drags a group of unwitting explorers into the catacombs beneath Paris to seek out the fabled Philosopher's Stone.

    Even though the quest drove Scarlett's father to take his own life (and even though she would have been better served going to therapy than dragging her friends underground to their deaths after they inadvertently stumble into the gates of hell), her poor decisions lead to a chaotic, camera-shaking viewing experience.

    Glaring plot points aside, As Above, So Below's use of cramped catacomb tunnels filled with human bones and eerie visuals feed into the film's claustrophobic and increasingly hopeless tone. Even without quick flashes to mysterious hooded figures and hints of the occult, tangible, real-life dangers of cave-ins and getting stuck in tiny passageways make As Above, So Below absolutely horrifying.

    872 votes

    Available On:

  • 6
    144 VOTES


    Deeply uncomfortable and unsettling, Creep uses the threat of impending violence to create an inescapable atmosphere of dread. Remarkably well-developed, Creep blurs the line between social awkwardness and psychopathic tendencies so delicately, it's impossible to pin down the motives of Josef, the focus of the film.

    Josef fluctuates between being a strangely sympathetic, if odd, man who may be dying of cancer and a lunatic who drags videographer Aaron out in the middle of the woods to film a "day in the life”-style movie for a son who may not even exist. Josef is unpredictable, shifting between deep, introspective meditations (that increasingly err on the side of menacing) to wildly upbeat antics, jumping out at Aaron in playful scares that begin to feel like they're leading up to something far bigger and more sinister.

    Increasingly bizarre behaviors pave the way for jarring scares that eventually give way to genuine horror.

    144 votes

    Available On: