The Blair Witch Project
While not the first found footage horror film, it certainly started the engine. The film was written, edited, and directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. It takes the idea of an urban legend and gives you a slow burning but terrifying feeling of isolation. Three students decide to take filming equipment and go into the woods to look for the Blair Witch. While they all don’t believe in superstition, things begin to unravel and anomalies start to occur.
What’s great about The Blair Witch Project is how we get to know each character by their individual reactions to the phenomenon around them. We get their sense of fear, frustration, confusion, and paranoia with dialogue alone. Not to say there isn’t any scares though, it’s how they build them up that makes them memorable. The third act is one of the greatest scares in horror history, giving depth to a micro-budget movie no one expected. Be sure to watch with the lights off.