The Poughkeepsie Tapes is one of the best-known found footage horror films, and it helped to spawn a lot of the found footage films and YouTube videos that we now have today.
Some are found footage, others have realistic serial killers, and some are just the perfect vibe when looking for your next horror hit.
So, let’s look at the best movies like the Poughkeepsie Tapes without further ado.
The Last Broadcast (1998)
The Last Broadcast is first on our list. It is a brilliantly done mockumentary horror film, and it is clear why it is considered one of the best found-footage movies of all time.
The movie is structured perfectly like an indie true crime documentary you might watch on YouTube, with the feeling of an analog horror ARG, which is just an amazing combination.
Our main character is a filmmaker interested in uncovering the truth of the murders of three out of four men who went into the Pine Barrens in search of the Jersey Devil.
They were part of a TV show crew who ran a show called Fact or Fiction, and after receiving a suggestion to explore the Jersey Devil, they packed up their bags and headed out.
However, only one of the four returns, and he is quickly accused of murdering his coworkers. The filmmaker, though, doesn’t believe this and seeks to document the truth of what happened during that trip.
What ensues is a true crime story that would rival some of the strangest in the real world, and it comes with a twist I did not see coming.
I have seen many mockumentary true crime horror movies, and not one has managed to pull off what The Last Broadcast did.
If you are coming directly from the Poughkeepsie tapes and need something with a similar feel and a great cast of characters, check out The Last Broadcast. You will not be disappointed.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
The Blair Witch Project is another great found footage horror film and helped set the precedence of how found footage movies would structure themselves.
Unfortunately, It also gave us the trope in these films of everyone screaming all the time, and while it adds to the horror some of the time, it often takes away from the tension that is built.
In the Blair Witch Project, a trio of amateur filmmakers venture out into the wilderness searching for the alleged Blair Witch, a local legend in the Black Hills near Burkittsville, Maryland.
The legend was based on the stories of a local hermit who had kidnapped local children and would murder them in duos, with one standing facing the wall while the other was being killed.
After speaking to the locals, our main characters decide they must go to the areas where the Blair Witch supposedly haunts to prove the legend, true or false.
However, things go seriously wrong, and multiple strange occurrences happen to the unlucky trio, from strange figures appearing in the trees to hallucinations.
Infighting breaks out, and tensions rise as the group tries to find their way out of the mess they have found themselves stuck in.
Unfortunately, it does not seem like there is any hope for the group, but if you want to know what happens to them, you will have to watch The Blair Witch Project.
Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)
Moving away from the traditional Western style of found footage film, we are going to the home of some of the creepiest horror ever, Japan.
While there is an American remake of this film, as all horror fans know, you gotta watch the original Japanese horror film if you want to enjoy the sheer level of creepiness in this film.
The general premise is that several years before the film’s main events, a man murdered his wife, son, and the family cat (the true loss of this movie), and a curse was placed over the house.
Anyone who enters the home is infected with the curse and, after a short period, will become entirely consumed by it.
In typical Japanese fashion, the film’s events are all over the place, weaving memories, the past, future, and present into one.
While this can be confusing, it adds to the film’s tension, making it hard to relax before the next thing happens.
One of the best parts of this film is how little it relies on jump scares, instead using the various characters to convey the movie’s story.
If you have ever seen the creepy little Japanese boy in memes or gifs, or ever seen Scary Movie, that comes from this film.
He is one of the creepiest characters in horror, as something about how he acts will send shivers down your spine.
While it may not employ a ton of found footage throughout the film, the times it does make you feel like you are watching a sad but true story, and while The Grudge was not based on reality, its predecessor, Ju-On Origins, is.
So, if you enjoy The Grudge, give Origins a watch also.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Paranormal Activity is quite possibly the longest-running found-footage-styled horror franchise to still be active, alongside the cult classic VHS.
This film has given many viewers nightmares and paranoia, portraying a young couple who moved into a new San Francisco movie.
While everything is going alright, Katie (the female lead) tells her husband Micah that she thinks an evil presence is haunting her.
He is not inclined to believe her but gets a video recorder to use while they are sleeping to see what happens when the lights are off, and what they uncover is horrifying.
At first, things are pretty minor, light flickering, closed doors, footsteps, the typical haunting signs, but the demon that haunts them quickly gets bolder.
If you’re into the paranormal, check out this list of the best astral projection horror movies.
It begins to take more and more control, and all the while, Katie begs Micah not to antagonize it, but in typical horror movie fashion, he refuses to believe his wife.
It’s amazing how many horror movies wouldn’t happen if guys listened to their girls and took them seriously.
This is one of the best found-footage horror movies out there, and while the franchise has lost a lot of its oomph in recent years, it still provided the modern era with quite a few horror films that will live on for decades to come.
Grave Encounters (2011)
If you are a fan of the more paranormal style of found-footage films, then you will love Grave Encounters.
A ghost-hunting TV show crew sets their eyes on an abandoned asylum as their next location of interest because it is supposedly one of the most haunted locations in America.
After entering the asylum, things go about as well as you would expect them to, with the atmosphere extremely heavy and tense as the group makes their way deeper and deeper into the asylum.
Things begin to go poorly for them as the various beings living in the asylum start picking the crew off individually.
From a creepy dead young girl to various mental patients punishing the ghost hunters for trespassing, the film keeps you on your toes the whole time.
While it does rely on the screaming trope from Blair Witch Project and quite a few jump scares, it doesn’t feel out of place.
It looks exactly like one of those cheesy ghost-hunting reality shows that we all know are fake, but in the case of Grave Encounters, it turns out to be more true than anyone could imagine.
I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a found-footage horror film that steers away from the usual serial killer, though the second film is mid. It is basically a remake of the first, but with way more cheap scares, and it just comes across as flat.
Megan is Missing (2011)
Next up on the list is a fairly disturbing found footage movie that is not for someone with a weak stomach, minors, or anyone sensitive or triggered by scenes of sexual assault, drugs, drinking, or being buried alive. Yeah, this movie has all of those and many other things.
Megan is Missing is a found-footage movie about two teenage girls, one of which is the popular girl who all the boys love, and the other a more proper young woman, so very much so a cliche.
However, whatever you are expecting, throw it out the window because you will not be ready for this movie.
The first girl to go missing is the popular girl in our duo, Megan, and a lot of people think she ran away, but her friend Amy is certain that it had something to do with a young man named Josh, whom Megan met online in a chat room.
She details some of her experiences with Megan before going missing as well.
Without spoiling too much, it is a very depressing and dark movie, and while, at first, it can feel like some pedophile’s fetish, it does carry a deeper message.
It was created in 2011 when the internet era started and was still a wild west. Stories like this were all too common in real life, and it is a powerful reminder always to be safe online.
It is almost impossible to know who someone is on the Internet fully, and it is always better to be cautious.
So once again, if you are under 20 or sensitive to the above topics, stay away from Megan is Missing.
Otherwise, prepare for one of the most uncomfortable movies you have ever seen, and speak with any younger person about the dangers of interacting online with strangers. Stay safe out there, everyone.
Taking a step away from the more intense side of found footage films, Unfriended brings us back to the classics found within the found footage genre.
It is a grave reminder never to be unkind to someone because they may return to exact revenge on you from beyond the grave.
Shot entirely from the point of view of an online video call, a group of friends has a good time when suddenly the main character, Blaire, receives messages from the account of a classmate of theirs who had died the previous year due to the bullying she had received from a video that one of them posted of her doing some stupid stuff at a party.
While the plot isn’t the greatest, the characters sell the film pretty well, and there are some genuinely creepy moments in the film and quite a bit of graphic violence, including a scene with a blender.
To avoid dying, the group members must reveal the horrible things they have done, and whether or not they survive is left up in the air.
So, if you want a movie that would fit perfectly during the pandemic quarantine and even a little home invasion, you must give Unfriended a watch.
However, it is best watched with friends, as this is one of those films you watch to make fun of most of the time with a couple of buddies.
If you are a fan of the anthology horror genre, then VHS is right up your alley.
It combines multiple shorter stories into one large overarching plot, with the main story tying it all together, titled Tape 56.
Before talking further, do not watch this movie if you are triggered or sensitive to sexual assault, as that plays a fairly large role throughout much of the movie.
Each story is unrelated, but all of them are filmed through camcorders and other various self-film devices, which ensures that every story feels like it could be about real people and happen.
While most stories center around murder, sexual assault, and other horrendous acts, the first short story is about a succubus on the hunt for a mate.
Even though it is a supernatural occurrence that could never happen, it is still a disturbing section of the movie and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Also, it is deserved for the guys who get killed, as they were unscrupulous, and if it weren’t for the succubus, they would have likely winded up raping the other girl they had brought back to their room.
Overall, it is a very well-down anthology film, but it is not for everyone, as it involves a lot of heavier topics that can be distressing.
If you are uncomfortable with those topics but want the anthology-styled film, there are four other V/H/S films, most of which are rated higher than the first movie on IMDB.
Lake Mungo (2008)
Lake Mungo is an Australian horror film that combines mockumentary with supernatural horror and is one of, if not the greatest, documentary-style film in the horror genre.
The film’s main premise is that a family is trying to come to terms with the accidental drowning of their daughter and the supernatural occurrences that happen afterward.
Her brother sets up cameras to capture her ghost, and they bring in a paranormal expert to help them.
When they learn more about what happened, they find that all roads lead to the mysterious Lake Mungo, where they begin to uncover some of the dark secrets their daughter had been hiding.
This is an incredibly underappreciated film, as it did not get much traction outside of Australia, but it is not only well-shot but the plot and characters sell the story so well.
After watching it, it creates a story that would fit perfectly in a real documentary, and you quickly forget it was not based on true events.
So, if you need a new movie to watch after the horrors of the Poughkeepsie Tapes and don’t necessarily want a film where a serial killer’s decade-long reign goes unchallenged, Lake Mungo is perfect for you.
Once again, leaving the English found-footage films, Rec is a Spanish found-footage movie.
Instead of serial killers or weird supernatural creatures, it is just straight-up a zombie apocalypse film. Yup, forget about watching serial killers with a kill list hunting down the locals.
If you’re into zombies, check out the 25 best zombie movies of all time here.
The movie’s plot is about a young woman working as a reporter, and her cameraman takes the night shift for a local show called “While You’re Sleeping.”
While they are at the fire station, a call comes in about an old woman who is sealed in her apartment, but when they get there, they learn she has unnatural strength and attacks anyone who comes close.
As you can guess, a zombie virus caused this, quickly spreading through the building, causing them all to get stuck in the building when it is under quarantine.
The remaining survivors must fight out and avoid being bit during that entire process.
It was very well received when it was released, and if you can’t get enough of the first film, lucky for you, there are three other movies in the franchise.
They were also well received by the general audience and critics alike, giving a new breath of air to the found footage genre. Especially with how heavily it is dominated by serial-killer movies and the occasional supernatural happening.
So, if you are tired of those types of movies, give Rec a watch!
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Time Lapse (2014)
The final movie on this list takes a slightly different look at the typical found footage genre.
The movie’s plot is that a group of friends get their hands on a camera that allows them to take pictures of things that will happen in the future, but they are rarely good things.
It is the mature version of Say Cheese and Die by R.L.Stine but with more graphic violence.
At first, the group of friends uses the machine they found for their gain, but nothing in this world comes free, and before too long, the machine starts serving them increasingly disturbing photos.
These photos lead the group to try to avoid the events from occurring, but as anyone who watches horror or any future reading movie will know, you cannot prevent fate.
The group slowly kills each other in different brutal ways and shows the consequences of messing with the forces of nature.
For being such a low-budget film, it is well done and fits well in binge-watching movies similar to the Poughkeepsie tapes.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes is one of the most disturbing mockumentary horror films ever created.
It not only portrayed a very intense mockumentary but was so well done that it was difficult not to think the case being spoken of could be real.
Its success spawned a ton of movies similar to it, and I hope you’ll enjoy some of these alternative movies in the found-footage style.
If you enjoyed this article, check out this list of the best slasher films because one can never have enough serial killer horror. Until next time, happy watching, and stay safe out there.