POV

We’re Glad They Found This Footage: SIX POV MOVIES THAT WE LOVE

POV

Let’s be honest here. Out of 10 “found footage” type films, you’re lucky if two or three are actually enjoyable. Why the characters in said sub-genre always seems to have to document EVERYTHING might have worked early on, when the style was created, by 2014, we’ve seen so many variations of it, that the films really have to think outside of the box to really resonate. My good friend Natty and I decided to each choose a few of the POV style films that we actually DO enjoy, and tell you wonderful readers what they are and why we dig them. So, read on!

JERRY:

1

 

CLOVERFIELD (2008)

I know most of you will instantly debate whether or not Matt Reeves’ monster tearing shit up in New York film CLOVERFIELD can be classified as a horror film, I will just say this: this is my article, so there. CLOVERFIELD is not only one of my favorite POV films, but is one of my favorite films, period. From the first time seeing it in the theater, I was completely enthralled by it, falling in love with everything from the scope of the film, the characters, the fx and mostly, the story.

While it’s a monster movie on the surface, to me, CLOVERFIELD has always been about the lengths we as humans can be willing to go at times, to save the people we love. Revolving around the character of Rob, a young man who has been in love with his best friend Beth for years, and after an awkward one night stand with each other, Rob panicked and didn’t call Beth back, making things even more awkward when Beth shows up at Rob’s going away party (he was offered a high paying job in Japan) with a new guy. Doing what most men would do, he insults Beth for it, instead of realizing it was his own fault. Beth leaves, Rob realizes what an idiot he was, and then BOOM!, all hell break loose. The whole party goes up to the roof, where they see explosions all around, and when they reach the ground, the statue of liberty’s head flies onto the ground in front of them. While it’s soon very obviously discovered that a giant Godzilla-looking monster is what’s attacking New York, everyone does their best to get out of the city, but Rob refuses to, until he makes sure Beth is safe, as he doesn’t want to die knowing how bad he screwed up the one thing he loved in his life. Going through absolute hell, Rob and his friends go through monster attacks, army sieges,  attractive-looking Lizzy Caplan exploding (still bummed about that devilishly hot woman dying), and nonstop carnage, Rob finally gets to Beth, and does his best to get her out of the city.

What makes CLOVERFIELD so effective, in my opinion, is how grand it looks, a big contrast to the smaller and cheaper looking POV films that viewers had been used to by the time it was released. It’s a HUGE film, full of massive action pieces, and one hell of a crazy time. While it’s not perfect (“we have to document this” makes me want to cringe EVERY damn time I hear it in films), it’s a very entertaining film that put a bigger and broader approach to a somewhat stagnant sub-genre at the time.

3

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999)

I’m just going to be completely honest here and admit that I have only seen THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT once, upon its initial release. My dad and step-mom paid some handy construction people to build a bedroom where their porch had been, just so I (a directionless 19 year old at the time) could live in it, and I spent quite a few wintery nights freezing my ass off in that room listening to The Getup kids and watching horror films. One cold night in September, a couple of my friends and I decided to give it a watch, and we all sat there throughout the film talking about how non-scary it was, and how it was all hype…then my friends went home.

I sat there in my makeshift room, with poorly constructed, drywall-filled walls, the wind blowing, the owls “hoo”‘ing. That last scene kept replaying on loop in my head, and out of nowhere, it SCARED THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME. I’m not talking about “oh this is scary, I’ll forget about it in a day or week at the most” kind of scary, I mean it for some strange reason, scared me so badly, that I am now almost 34 and have not watched the film since. Don’t get me wrong, I own it on DVD, but nope, have not and will not watch it. For all that I know, I would watch it again, and just laugh at it, but I just don’t know friend fiends…hell, my wife and even my 12-year old watched it and threw plates and knives at me while I was cowering in a corner…not really, but ya get the idea.

The plot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is widely known by now, with a trio of would be documentary filmmakers trying to figure out the legend of the well, the Blair Witch (duh..), and going deep into the woods, and getting off’d. What makes the film so effective, is how ahead of its time it was. Sure THE LAST BROADCAST came before it, but this one went wide, and created such a viral craze that it became a massive phenomenon with its “is it real?” marketing. Due to that marketing, word of mouth went crazy, and the film that cost very little made a LOT of money, and scared a lot of people in the process.

So, do I love it, per se? I don’t know. I do know that any film that leaves such an impact on me (MARTYRS is the only other film that I watched once and decided to never see again) does exactly what it set out to do: scare its audience. For that, it’s a worthy addition to this list.

4

[REC] (2007)

Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza’s [REC] caught me off guard. By 2007, I was already pretty over the found footage subgenre, having completely HATED recent attempts at said films (including DIARY OF THE DEAD, which is funny because little did I know when writing this that Natty would include that movie in her list, well art is subjective). What it did, was take the POV approach and make it absolutely tense and completely fucking TERRIFYING.

Following a new reporter and her cameraman, covering a fire station for a series, and after getting an emergency call, the station (and the reporter/cameraman duo) goes to a building in which a woman seems to be stuck in, and absolute hell breaking loose. Little by little, after dealing with a little girl who is sick from a bite, the entire crew becomes infected by whatever virus it is, leading to an ending that is still, scary as all hell. If you tell me that the old lady-ish creature at the end didn’t scare you the first time you watched it, then I will gladly call you a liar and slap you with gloves in protest.

Expecting a mediocre found footage film, and instead getting a scary, tense zombie film, [REC] made me smile from ear to ear by the end, and also making me feel like the POV sub genre could possibly have some life in it at that point. Great great stuff, fright fiends.

NATTY

7

DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007)

Yes, you read that right. DIARY OF THE DEAD. Why? Well, why not? Let us pretend for just a second that George A. Romero didn’t direct it, and we’d then have a unique, and semi-entertaining found footage film. Sure, I expected it to be something like DAY OF THE DEAD (No, not the Nick Cannon one). It wasn’t anything like the classic Romero that I had been yearning for, but I actually enjoyed it. I liked how the entire movie was a documentary type film, because I can guarantee a group of indie filmmakers would possibly document the zombie apocalypse if it were to happen in real life. One of my favorite characters would definitely by the Amish guy, Samuel. My favorite scene in this film is when the group meets him, and thinks he is a zombie. No…he is just a deaf Amish dude. A dude who is so cool and calm during this whole thing that he has time to chit chat with them via a chalkboard while there are freaking zombies coming towards them! Oh and he throws a stick of dynamite at the zombies?! As if all that isn’t enough to make him a bad ass, he kills a zombie who is biting him by stabbing himself in the face with a scythe!! I enjoyed the unique documentary perspective on this, and I also appreciate that this is still at least one-hundred times better than SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD.

5

THE DEN (2014)

Although I’ve only recently viewed this for the first time, I knew about halfway into it that it would definitely become a favorite of mine. From the very beginning to the end, I was stressed out, frightened, and completely entertained. The acting was great, which I personally feel is the only way to do a POV film. You have to have actors who make it the film feel like it is actual found footage, and everyone nailed it. Especially the character of Elizabeth, (Melanie Papalia) while she was being terrorized, all I really wanted to do was hold her, and tell her that everything was going to be ok. Actually, I think I needed someone to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be ok. I had to continually reassure myself that it was only a movie, which should be the ultimate goal when making a found footage film because it really felt like I was watching this woman trying to survive. I almost felt guilty like I should have been doing something to help her. And of course, to add to the authenticity, I watched it through a computer screen. There are many factors that make this movie great, and that is why it is one of my new favorite films.

6

V/H/S/2 (2013)

I did watch V/H/S, and I loved it. When I had found out that a second part was coming our way, I was ecstatic. Upon the first few minutes, I had a feeling it was going to become a classic in my book.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought V/H/S was great, but V/H/S/2 is definitely my personal favorite of the two. The segments blew me away with how creepy they were. It stuck with me for a few days after I watched it. I had to ask myself “Did this just happen?!” quite a few times during my viewing. I enjoyed every part of it, especially the zombie helmet camera segment. I have always wondered many times in my life what it would be like to see life from the point of view of a zombie. Finally after all these years, my very important question was answered, and I was not disappointed in any way. I also loved the cult segment, though I didn’t appreciate the nightmares I had after watching it, but in a way it was worth it. I thought it was clever since there are so many religious and spiritual beliefs in the world, but this crazy cult had the only right one. I thought it had an interesting (and very frightening) turn of events. When it ended, I found myself craving more. I wanted to see more sick, twisted, I’m so freaked out I might pee my pants footage.