You mention the words “found footage” to most horror movie fans, and they immediately sigh and recall The Blair Witch Project, which was a huge indie hit at the box office, but is most often seen as lacking in entertainment value. So, it’s a victim of its own hype, but I don’t include myself as one of its detractors, and I’m fond of footage movies. Yes, they are made cheap, but when you strip a horror movie of a large budget and studio conventions, you usually end up with a thriller which relies on tension and creativity to be highly effective. There’s usually a heightened level of intimacy with these films, especially if the film is publicized as “real”, and the more emotions you invest in the film, the easier it is for you to be scared.
I’m not certain I would call three films in one calendar year a renaissance, but in 2007 there were three really good films in this genre: Paranormal Activity, The Poughkeepsie Tapes and, the best, the Spanish import, [REC] that I’ve seen this year. [REC] is, in my opinion, the best horror movie since Neil Marshall’s The Descent.
[REC] starts with young reporter Niña Medeiros shooting a segment for her late night TV show, While You’re Sleeping, at a local fire station. It was a slow night, as Nina tries to fill her segment with interviews and a basketball game. Until a call finally comes in, it’s just a low priority call – tenants in an apartment building are complaining about loud screams coming from one of the apartments.Both police and fire department respond to the call, and Niña and her cameraman, decide to come along for the ride. When they arrive in the building, the neighbors have all assembled on the main floor while the emergency staff and the television crew investigate upstairs and find an old woman in her apartment in an enraged state. While it appears that the situation is of minimal concern, everyone inside the building as about to come face to face the most extreme fear possible. There is something evil in the building, and there is no way out, except for death.