My first “hand camera” movie was The Blair Witch Project which I saw as a kid. Perhaps it was just due to my age but I found it actually a bit creepy. How you only knew as much as the characters, the screaming and crying right in your face-there was just something neat about it.
This type of movie style has had not as large an impact as Blair Witch did when it first came out. Part of that could also be the hype they built with a website, fake interviews, and a fake history of the Witch. Which was a great marketing scheme, many people thought the legend to be true (Slenderman anyone?). There have been other more movies with this genre who have tried to replicate what B.W. did with the whole camera thing and whatnot. In recent times the most popular would be the Paranormal Activity series.
When the first movie came out I thought they did some clever work with the demonic interactions and backstory of the haunting
. The reasoning for the camera made sense and the acting wa not bad either. It had some decent jump scares in it and the ending left a bit of mystery. After its initial success, they decided to come out with 3 more moves explaining some before and some after events of the first film. These are not as good as thefirst because it all has the same feel and style. There really was not anything new or interesting in the filming or demonic interactions. My personal belief is that they had a lot of success with the first one and kept it churning for as long as possible. So in my thoughts–kind of dull.
Then there is a somewhat different angle done from a film called Grave Encounters. This is done film crew style as a faux paranormal investigation group goes to an insane asylum to “catch ghosts”. I enjoyed some of the humor in this as well as some of the choices and outcomes that happened to each character. It was not Blair Witch, but I thought it better then any later “Activity” films. This has a sequel to it that isnt as good as the first, but does have enough differences to make it interesting.
The appeal of “cam” horror movies has been out for a while. Yet I feel it is a special kind of movie that is so hard to capture right to make it seem “legit” and not come off as campy. Which is why I suppose not many have been made. I will keep my eye out for the though.