Look, I'm a sucker for horror movies. I love bad horror movies and I love amazing horror movies even more. So when I came across the trailer for a found footage horror movie called The Fear Footage, I was intrigued. I had heard buzz about the film upon its release in 2018, but never got around to watching it and promptly forgot about it. That was a big mistake on my end. The Fear Footage trilogy is the scariest found footage horror trilogy I've ever watched.
The Fear Footage
The Fear Footage is a found footage anthology horror movie revolving around the disappearance of Deputy Leo Cole in 2016 in Darkbluff Maryland. That serves as the wrap around story that drives the film...and ultimately the franchise.
Deputy Cole is called to investigate a house that had been torn down years before. He is drawn to a TV that turns on by itself. Connected to it is a VCR with an ejected tape titled The Fear Footage sticking out of it. Unable to resist, Cole pops in the tape and the anthology stories start.
"Birthday Party" is a terrifying story about a boy who gets a camera for his birthday and becomes terrorized by a clown that begins appearing outside of his home. "Storm Chasers" follows a group of, well, storm chasers that end up getting inadvertently involved in a cult ritual. "Speak No Evil" focuses on a recovering drug addict who becomes obsessed with the mysterious noises in the woods behind his apartment complex. Wrapping up The Fear Footage is the wrap around story involving Deputy Cole.
Watch The Fear Footage on Amazon Prime Video
The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape
The follow up film, The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape brilliantly defies sequel tropes by forgoing the anthology format of the first film. The official synopsis for the 2020 film says:
On April 19th, 2019, Deputy Leo Cole’s body camera footage from the night he disappeared was leaked. On that footage he watched a mysterious VHS tape labeled “The Fear Footage.” On September 22nd, 2019, a camera was found in Darkbluff, Maryland with footage of two missing men who were searching for that same VHS tape. This is their footage.
The Fear Footage 2 features Daniel, the main character from the "Speak No Evil" segment of the first film, as he finishes viewing The Fear Footage and letting us, the audience, know that he has no idea who that is or why it looks like he was in the film. To get to the bottom of this terrifying development, he sets out to contact the other people in the tape with terrifying results.
Watch The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape on Amazon Prime Video
The Fear Footage 3AM
The Fear Footage 3AM is the third (and presumably final) chapter in The Fear Footage trilogy. It follows an urban exploring YouTuber who lives in Maryland and decides to take a trip to Darkbluff to investigate the lore surrounding The Fear Footage tapes. I don't want to go into too much detail as I want this to be as spoiler free review of The Fear Footage franchise as possible so you can enjoy it as much as I have. Just know, that The Fear Footage 3AM is a terrifying chapter in one of the scariest horror franchises in movie history.
The Fear Footage 3AM is debuting soon.
The Fear Footage Trilogy Reviewed
All three of The Fear Footage movies are ultra low budget, but don't let that deter you from watching them. In fact, I believe that writer / director Ricky Umberger has used that to his advantage, ingeniously inventing creative ways to scare viewers. There is a sparse, grittiness to The Fear Footage trilogy that adds to the scare factor. And while there are a couple of hokey shots and a few moments of sound mix issues due to budgetary constraints, it's easily looked over due to the sheer amount of amazing scares you get and the power of the storytelling.
I have not watched one movie, let alone three, that have made me jump and audibly scream as much as these movies have. I watched them with my 14 year old Godson Aiden and his Godmother Michele at night and with the lights off. This is how I recommend you watch these movies too. They deserve to be watched late at night and with the lights off to really bring the ambience of the movies right into your home and ultimately your viewing experience. For the record, both Aiden and Michele also jumped and audibly screamed at multiple moments watching the three movies.
The Fear Footage franchise is an excellent addition not only to the found footage sub-genre but to horror as a whole. Ricky Umberger is a bright new talent that has taken a budget of literally near zero and created a terrifying horror trilogy that is a welcome, fresh addition to the horror movie world. I can't recommend these excellent horror movies enough for any fan of the genre. While my secret wish is to see more chapters in this particularly great horror franchise, I look forward to whatever it is Umberger does next.