In FOUND FOOTAGE 3D (2016), a small crew of indie filmmakers venture to a derelict farmhouse to shoot a found footage horror movie, only to find themselves in a very real horror story. I really liked this one for its perfect balance of self awareness and playing it straight.
The film follows producer and actor Derek, editor Mark (Derek’s brother, who is also shooting a behind the scenes documentary about the making of the film, and which provides the real found footage movie), Derek’s wife Amy as lead actress, sound technician Carl, director Andrew, and production assistant Lily, a horror fan. Derek has what he thinks is a brilliant idea to bring new life to a tired genre, which is to shoot it in 3D. He’s also a bit of a narcissist, and he’s in the midst of breaking up with Amy, resulting in endless tension and disruption.
The film very cleverly has the characters recognize and debate the conventions of the genre, from establishing in the first act why everything is being recorded and explaining why they are still recording in the third act after the monster appears. From this self awareness of the conventions and overwrought tropes, the film draws quite a bit of comedy and plentiful setups that pay off. Otherwise, we’re given a pretty straightforward found footage film about a haunting, which itself pays off with a genuinely thrilling explosion at the climax.
Overall, I really liked it and recommend it. This is one of those movies I went into not expecting much and ended up delightfully surprised.