Cameras in Context(s): The Cultural Politics of Found Footage Horror as a Transnational Subgenre

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Found footage cinema, whether we trace its origins back to Cannibal Holocaust (1980; dir Deodato) or The Blair Witch Project (1999; dirs. Myrick and Sanchez), is an instantly visually recognisable subgeneric style that has been readily adopted into a wide variety of national cinemas. For example, from Japan’s Noroi: The Curse (2005; dir. Shiraishi), and Australia’s Lake Mungo (2008; dir. Anderson), to The Borderlands (2013; dir. Goldner) from the United Kingdom, Ragini MMS (2011; dir. Kripalani) from India, or the Israeli made Jeruzalem (2016; dirs. Paz and Paz).

This paper will begin by outlining how found footage has been used in different national contexts to demonstrate how the subgenre has travelled well and extensively, and how it has been used in different cultural contexts to address various national concerns or preoccupations. Using two main case studies, the Norweigan Trollhunter (2010; dir. Øvredal) and the American Quarantine (2008; dir. Dowdle), this paper will conduct an analysis of themes and content within these films, and highlight the difference in their release reception, in which reviews would often remark on their cultural engagement or lack thereof. This paper will explore how Trollhunter was positioned as a film which blended the culturally specific with the globally marketable, and compare this to Quarantine, which has often been maligned as ‘less culturally engaged’ due to its position as a remake (Willis, 2017), and which was accused of removing the Spanish specificity present in the original film, Rec (2007; dirs. Balagueró and Plaza).

Overarchingly, this paper will focus on the ways in which cultural context, or in some cases, re-culturalisation, features in these films, and on the interplay between the national and the transnational in a found footage horror subgenre context.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
EventFear2000: Contemporary Horror Worldwide - Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield , United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 20192 Jun 2019


ConferenceFear2000: Contemporary Horror Worldwide
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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