I love the found footage/mockumentary genre. From the originators like Ghostwatch and The Blair Witch Project, to the masterpieces of Rec and Noroi: The Curse, to the franchises of VHS and Paranormal Activity, if the movie features actors pretending to be real people I'll watch it. The only bad thing about the genre, in my opinion, is that 95 percent of the time these movies are horror flicks.
Now this makes sense; both horror and found footage lend themselves to low budget filmmaking. Still, in a world where we've beat zombies to death in every style under the sun, the fact that there are very few non-horror found footage movies is just kind of lame, especially when the best superhero origin film of all time happens to also be the modern found footage classic Chronicle.
Next month, Welcome to Yesterday hits theaters, and from the looks of it we may finally have a legit found footage time travel movie, or at least a found footage time travel movie with a budget. If nothing else it has a trailer that has me wanting to see more.
Now, it would be smart to temper expectations here. I would point out the fact here that as far as I can tell this movie doesn't even have a poster, and what's just weird. Not that posters have any affect on film quality, but the idea that you'd put together a trailer that gets put in front of real movies in real theaters but not come up with more than just the title on a white background with a graphic for a poster doesn't exactly fill moviegoers with hope for a good time.
But still, just the thought of a found footage time travel movie makes me somewhat giddy, even if I'm sure the end result will be more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (boo!) than Primer (yay!).
Still, that doesn't explain why more folks don't try and do more with the genre. It can't be that hard. Here are 5 simple ideas off the top of my head:
5. Found Footage Straight Forward Rom-Com
Two video bloggers fall in love, we watch the relationship develop through the course of their blog updates. How this isn't already a Reese Witherspoon flick opening in 2,500 theaters I don't know.
4. Found Footage Holiday Film
Think about all the dramatic potential: having to spend time with family; introducing your mate to new people; decades of history. Plus, everyone records everything at these functions, so there's a reason for the camera to be there.
3. Found Footage Reboot
Since they're already doing this with the Friday the 13th franchise, which sounds amazing by the way, why not try it with a non-horror series? Do gangsters use iPhones? I mean, they're going to remake The Godfather eventually anyway.
2. Found Footage Based on a True Story
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Step 1: Pick event that would have plenty of media coverage. Step 2: Fictionalize it enough (i.e. move it forward in time) so that people can have cell cameras. Step 3: Profit?
I mean, a movie about Marvin Heemeyer, the man who turned his bulldozer into a tank capable of mass destruction, would be pretty interesting, but found footage would give an immediacy to the events that could make for an even more interesting flick.
1. Found Footage Adventure Epic
What if Indiana Jones (or one his mates) wore Google Glass? Imagine a film where the hero has to fight off hordes of bad guys and solve ridiculous puzzles all while we get the up close and personal view of the action. The modern hero would want all the action saved for a Youtube video anyway, right?