As Above, So Below (2014, dir. John Erick Dowdle)

A driven archaeologist and crew investigate the Paris catacombs for a sacred alchemical relic. Decent location work, a photogenic cast, and a couple of unsettling early moments make promises that the movie can’t quite sustain, setting for straightforward face-your-demons stuff but no real story answers.

Here’s the trailer.

Followed (2020, Dir. Antoine Le)

A YouTuber spends Halloween in a haunted hotel to boost his subscriber numbers. A good found footage premise that gradually falls into predictable handheld horror territory. The actors struggle with the dialogue and film logic, leaving it to meander into nonsense. Waste of an idea.

Host (2020, Dir. Rob Savage)

Six friends hold a seance via an online Zoom meeting during Covid lockdown and things go badly wrong. Hints of ‘Unfriended’ here, but a very well executed and jumpy film. Lots of great ideas and some familiar genre tropes, but also much to recommend. Well worth your time.

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014, Dir. Adam Robitel)

A film crew attempting to document an elderly Alzheimers patient encounter something far more sinister. Borrows from other genre films of this type, but has some effective moments and a couple of really good shocking twists – when they arrive. Worth a watch!

American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020, dir. Jenny Popplewell)

An archive documentary time-lining the 2018 murder of Shannan, Celeste, and Bella Watts by Shannan’s husband Christopher, and the subsequent police investigation. Grim and compelling, and well-assembled from news coverage, social media posts, police and court interview videos, and from text conversations.

Here’s the trailer.

Willow Creek (2014, dir. Bobcat Goldthwait)

A couple explore a Northern California forest, making a documentary about Bigfoot. Straightforward but strong found-footage horror; a Sasquatch Blair Witch Project in all but name. Effective nevertheless, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Here’s the trailer:

The Sacrament (2013, dir. Ti West)

A documentary crew travels to a remote religious community to conduct an interview. Its found-footage approach to its riff on the Jim Jones/Jamestown cult mass suicide works, but the film doesn’t convince in the storyline logic of its sudden dark turn. A shame, as there’s talent involved, and Gene Jones is great as the messianic Father.

I See You (2019, dir. Adam Randall)

A cop’s dysfunctional family life takes a sinister twist during a missing child investigation. Excellent horror-thriller with a confident script and direction, relishing the ways it subverts expectations during a dazzling second half. It starts slow, but stick with it. Recommended.

Wrinkles the Clown (2019, dir. Michael Beach Nichols)

The story of an online sensation: a clown you can pay to scare your children. Solid documentary (which flirts with the extent to which it might be fictional, an art project, or something else) that explores memes, contemporary media folk devils, coulrophobia, parenting, “behavioural services”, and more.

Unfriended (2014, dir. Leo Gabriadze)

Teen friends are terrorised by someone assuming the online identity of a dead classmate. Effective real-time horror-thriller, told via a single laptop screen. Plays straight with its material. Some sly subversion of teenage neuroses, but there’s some commentary here about cyberbullying, and about revenge fantasies in the digital age.