The 10 highest-grossing found footage films

Found footage is a cinematic technique that presents a film as if it were a true, direct document of events, usually shot by the participants themselves using amateur video equipment. This can increase realism, making it particularly effective in horror. This style has been known in literature for centuries, but the first found footage film generally dates from the 1961s The connectiondirected by Shirley Clarke.

Italian horror film cannibal holocaust continued experimenting with the style, followed by man bites dog And Peter Jackson‘S Forgotten Silver. These films set the stage for found footage’s remarkable mainstream success in the 21st century. 2012 was a particularly big year with the release of four of the highest-grossing found footage films of all time.



10 “The Devil Within” (2012)

Isabella Rossi undergoes an exorcism
Image via Paramount Pictures

Rough: $101 million

This horror film directed by William Brent Bell revolves around a woman named Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade), who travels to Italy to investigate her mother’s involvement in a series of exorcisms gone wrong. Together with a documentary filmmaker (Ionut Grama), they visit a mental institution to meet with Isabella’s mother (Susan Crowley).

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However, things take a sinister turn when they witness Maria’s possession and they turn to two renegade exorcists, Ben and David, who they play Simon Quarterman And Evan Helmuth, for help. Although not the most original in terms of plot, The devil inside delivers goose bumps and an eerie atmosphere.

9 ‘Project X’ (2012)

Three teenagers in a crowd

Rough: $102 million

Possibly the most iconic party film of the 2010s Project Xfollows three high school friends, Thomas (Thomas Mann), costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) while throwing a wild party to gain popularity and impress their classmates. The party quickly spirals out of control and becomes a social media sensation, and the boys struggle to contain the chaos.

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There are also decent supporting performances Kirby Bliss Blanton, Alex Knapp, And Miles Teller (as himself). With hilarious antics and over-the-top party scenes, Project X captures the spirit of youthful rebellion. While adults may find all of this a bit excessive, the film’s teenage audience enjoyed it.

8th ‘Chronicle’ (2012)


Rough: $126 million

timeline shook things up by combining the font footage format with the superhero genre. Itfocused onthree high school friends, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), mate (Alex Russel) and Steve (Michael B Jordan) who gain telekinetic powers after discovering a mysterious object in a cave. However, as their powers escalate, their friendships are tested and the consequences of their actions become more severe.

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timeline uses his unique found-footage style to explore the dark side of the Force and the aftermath of deity. The young cast rises to the occasion, particularly DeHaan as the troubled and unstable Andrew. In total, timeline is a must for fans of sci-fi like heroes And Attack the block

7 ‘Paranormal Activity 4’ (2012)

Paranormal activity 40

Rough: $142 million

The fourth entry in the hit franchise follows a new family, the Nelsons, as they experience strange events in their suburban home. Kathryn Newton Stars as Alex, the Nelson family’s teenage daughter, who uses her laptop and webcam to document events around her. As the supernatural activities intensify, Alex turns to her boyfriend Ben (Matt Shively) and her boyfriend Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp), for help.

Though the premise gets thin on the fourth run, the film is saved by the solid performances, especially Newton. There’s also plenty of jump scares that will terrify even the most die-hard horror veterans.

6 “Into the Storm” (2014)

into the storm 0

Rough: $161 million

into the storm is a disaster film about a group of storm chasers led by Pete (Matt Walsh) tracking a massive tornado outbreak in the small town of Silverton. As the storm gathers, a team of high school students led by Donnie (Max Deacon) and his brother Trey (Nathan Kress), being caught in the middle. Along with the city’s weather forecaster, Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies), the group must brave the elements and save the survivors.

It’s an adrenaline-pumping ride with stunning visual effects and intense action sequences. The story and some of the performances leave something to be desired, but overall it’s a decent take on found footage tropes.

5 ‘Clover Field’ (2008)

Headless Statue of Liberty in Cloverfield
Image via Paramount Pictures

Rough: $172 million

cloverfield is a science fiction horror film directed by Matt Reeves and produced by JJ Abrams. It follows a group of friends led by Rob (Michael Stahl-David) while navigating the streets of New York City during a monster attack. As the friends struggle to survive, they must confront their struggles and relationships.

cloverfield represented a major step forward for found footage films. It was innovative within the limitations of the format and proved that such films can reach the heights of big-budget creature features like godzilla. It spawned two spiritual sequels 10 Cloverfield Lane And The Cloverfield Paradoxwith a third currently in development.

4 ‘Paranormal Activity 2’ (2010)

Paranormal activity 20

Rough: $177 million

The second part of the series takes up the basics of the plot from the first. As the supernatural disturbances worsen, the family investigates and discovers a dark secret that threatens their lives. Katie Featherston reprises her role from the first film, accompanied by Sprague Grayden like her sister Kristi.

Paranormal Activity 2 will please fans of the first, but doesn’t add anything particularly new. The best part of the film is how it delves deeper into the eerie mythology introduced in the first part. Featherston and Grayden also bring depth and authenticity to their roles as the two sisters caught in the middle of a horrifying paranormal ordeal.

3 ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2007)


Rough: 193 million dollars

Although the sequels would keep rehashing the same old ideas, the original Paranormal Activity was a breath of fresh air and a major innovation for found footage films. It’s a skinny, mean horror that was shot on an impressively low original budget of just $15,000 (though Paramount Pictures would later shell out $200,000 for a new ending).

The film was a resounding success, becoming one of the most profitable films ever made, and with good reason. director Oren Peli recorded the whole thing on a home video camera, and the dialogue is all unscripted, which helps it feel authentic. It reignited the found footage trend in horror and paved the way for films like The Last Exorcism, The devil insideAnd V/H/S.

2 ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ (2011)


Rough: $207 million

Paranormal Activity 3 serves as a prequel to the first two. It follows the childhood of sisters Katie (Chloe Csengery) and Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) and their encounter with a malicious entity. Directed by Heinrich Jost And Ariel Schulmanwho had a budget of $5 – a big step up from the early days of the franchise.

The film mostly sticks to the tried-and-true formula of its predecessors, but luckily has some solid scares. It was a huge hit with audiences and set a record for the best opening day for a horror film in the US at $26 million.

1 “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

In The Blair Witch Project, one of the original found footage films, the antagonist never appears
Image via Artisan Entertainment

Gross: $248 million

The Blair Witch Project is the most influential found footage horror film and the biggest box office hit. The focus is on three film students, Heather Donahue, Michael C WilliamsAnd Joshua Leonardwho venture into the forest to film a documentary about the legendary figure set to haunt the area. As they venture deeper into the forest, they lose themselves and are increasingly terrorized by an unseen force.

directors Daniel Myrick And Edward Sanchez fall back on the earlier terror cannibal holocaust but improve in every way. They conjure up a terrifying atmosphere with only slightly shaky camera work, natural lighting and improvised dialogue. At a time when other horror films relied on splashy visuals for their appeal, Blair witch instead focuses on what we don’t see. The scariest moments are the sounds of invisible things, a shadow on the screen, or the spooky landscape itself. All this is accentuated by the blurry, low-quality graphics. It turned out to be a potent mix and has inspired pretty much every found footage horror since.

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Dustin Huang

Dustin Huang is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Dustin Huang joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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