Selfies with raging monsters

Selfies with raging monsters

I had a happy thought today. There’s a gimmick in movie-making that’s becoming really cliche. The premise is the movie is made from compiled found footage from personal cameras. I believe The Blair Witch Project kicked off this fad. I’m hopeful it’s going to fizzle soon. Why do I think the fad is almost at an end and why am I happy about that?

I was just watching a movie that included some personal video footage and it occurred to me that it’s getting increasingly unbelievable. It looked like shit, and that was intended. The point was for the personal footage to appear significantly different from the much higher quality of the rest of the movie, but I just wasn’t buying it. This wasn’t the style of movie I’m talking about but this is what got me thinking about this theme.

Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, the quality of even a cheap Walmart camera has increased significantly. One of the primary incentives for found-footage types of movies was that you could either shoot your movie on cheaper cameras and get the audience to be forgiving of the crappy quality or you could incorporate special effects that look more believable on a crappy resolution. These days, even half-assed YouTube videos done in people’s bedrooms look better than these movies. So now when I see low-res footage, it looks like something from ten years ago. This actually makes me hopeful. Without the primary incentives for it, maybe the gimmick will die.

The Blair Witch Project was just an okay movie with really good marketing. They managed to fool a lot of idiots people into believing it was a true story. That made the experience a lot more visceral for the people who bought into it. I knew it wasn’t true going in and I ended up feeling let down after being told how scary this movie was. People are still trying to milk that idea of making a movie seem more real and therefore more visceral because it was shot on crappy personal cameras and apparently it’s still working on a lot of people because they keep pooping out these turds of movies.

It’s starting to get painful watching how contrived they get. Why the Hell are you still holding up a camera while zombies are trying to eat you? Why are you still videoing while running through the dark tunnels of the subway while the extremely aggressive and deadly Cthulu spawn chase you? Why are you videoing your boyfriend fighting for his life when you could be doing something helpful? Put the camera down, idiot!

I’ve trained myself to forget the camera is there during a movie. I’ve convinced myself that I’m somehow magically peeking into the private lives of people who don’t know I’m there. Okay, that’s a little creepy. Anyway, making me painfully aware of the camera is a huge distraction from the action. Coming up with increasingly contrived reasons for why people are recording every scene that is necessary for the audience to follow the plot is even more distracting. The latest is helmet cams or some other strap-on cam excuse, but even people who make YouTube channels about their daily shenanigans don’t just record constantly because all that footage then has to be edited!

I hope I’m right that this fad is soon on its way out. What do you think? Do you like these types of movies? Do you want more of them? Do you find it distracting or are you able to press the “I believe” button more easily than I am?

Discussion (3)¬

  1. Dust says:

    I like found footage movies if the story is well done, but you make some very good points that I have not considered much before. I’ll have to take this into account from now on when judging the quality. I still believe they can be potentially well done, but some of them certainly are contrived. I know this is an older post, I came here via Stumbleupon, but I want to respond anyway.

  2. Mattie says:

    When it arose the wrath of movies “mockumentary” my fascinated me the fact that the story is captured in real time. I have seen many of these films, but I found a lot of garbage. Beyond the technical issue of the quality of the cameras I think the trick to success of such films is that, the idea of capturing the moment, but really very few of these films have achieved the ingredient of “casual” and “terrifying “. One I thought was very good, which is a precursor, is Cannibal Holocaust.

  3. Dale says:

    Cool. I may go ahead and check out Cannibal Holocaust. I can’t recall exactly, but seems like that might be one that I chose not to watch due to this format. Or I saw it and I’ve forgotten.