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Unnamed Footage Festival Recap: Best of the Fest

by Brianna Spieldenner
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Unnamed Footage Festival

The Unnamed Footage Festival is quickly becoming one of my favorite film festivals: after last year’s 24-hour online livestream, this year’s festival was eagerly anticipated, and did not disappoint. While it returned to the real world after lifting COVID restrictions, what it lacked in the fantastic presentation of the livestream and various skits it put on throughout, it made up in with a stellar lineup of surreal, experimental and weird found footage and POV horror movies. 

The selection this year is a big step-up from last year, and iHorror was happy to cover this film festival and highlight some of the best films we saw. So with that, here is some of the best in the fest 2022. You should check them out if/when they get distributed.

Best Films at the Unnamed Footage Festival 2022

The Outwaters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFmN6FNhtH8

The crowning jewel at this year’s UFF was The Outwaters, a terrifying music video in the Mojave Desert gone wrong. We reviewed this earlier, and think it could be this year’s most disturbing movie yet. What sets this film apart is its breathtaking cinematography and use of the camera and surreal, horrifying plot.

Three memory cards are found in the desert that contain the videos of a crew going into the desert to film a music video. They start experiencing weird phenomena after a few days: the sky booms at night, they feel vibrations and hear strange noises in the rocks. Following this, a psychologically distressing event happens that will test your sensibilities. Unfortunately there is no release date yet for this film. 

Bolt Driver

Bolt Driver

Bolt Driver was such an unexpected surprise of a film, but not for any reasons you’d expect. It reads like an extended Eric Andre Show-esque video diary of an incel in a modernized adaptation of Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver

Sounds controversial? Yes. This will definitely not be for everyone, from the low budget filmmaking style (shot entirely on an iPhone) to the un-PC subject matter, many will not enjoy this film. But if those are things you can deal with, then this turns out to be a lo-fi surreal masterpiece satire. 

The personal manifesto of a Bolt Driver (an Uber-like freelancer) who finds it difficult to connect with others around him. It is available to watch for free (!) at Boltdriver.la, so definitely consider checking it out if you have a spare 42 minutes. 

Wesens

Wesens is a strange film, even for found footage. The film is philosophical in nature, and spends a lot of time reflecting on our place in the universe. The atmosphere is dreamy and captivating, showing a somewhat familiar story in a completely unique light. 

Set in the 1960s, Wesens shows a camera crew going out to a South African farm to investigate a strange object that landed there that they believe to be either a Russian weapon or an alien.

The film has beautiful cinematography, and captures the landscape of the South African farmland in an ethereal way. This was the US premiere of the film, and the directorial debut of Derick Muller. Those looking for the rare emotional found footage horror film will be impressed by this. 

Masking Threshold

This film is a treat for those looking for a well-made, disturbing and bloody found footage horror film. What’s fun about Masking Threshold is that it’s filmed like a YouTube craft video, with a constant narration from our protagonist as he explains his setup, the cameras he’ll be using and what he hopes to accomplish. Despite focusing almost exclusively on one single character in one location, this film makes great use of its minimalism and is engaging throughout. We reviewed this film for Fantastic Fest 2021, so check out our full review here.

An unnamed protagonist investigates the specifics of his tinnitus, a faint buzzing he hears at all times. He decides to make YouTube videos to document his process, and takes the scientific method into his experimentations, convinced that different objects near him alter the sound he hears.

While it takes its time to get to the horror, the beginning is still interesting with the filmmaking techniques, compelling narration and morbid curiosity to see how far this man will take his obsessions. The ending also does not disappoint, going incredibly dark, disturbing and bloody. The focus on isolation, obsession, social anxiety and conspiracy will be reminiscent of COVID quarantining. 

Putrefixion: A Video of Nina Temich

This is the first feature film using a 360 degree camera. It’s worth the watch on that fact alone. The cinematography in this film, which is otherwise a low-budget affair, is stunning. The film highlights the environment of Mexico City and uses body movement to utilize the 360 degree camera. While the storyline never matches the grandeur of the camera work, this is still one worth it to check out from the Unnamed Footage Festival 2022. 

The film focuses on Nina, played by model and dancer Dalia Xiuhcoatl as a portrait of her life involving arresting scenes of her dancing and skating. Directed by David Torres, it will definitely be interesting to see where he goes from here as a unique perspective in the horror genre. 

The Zand Order

Zand Order

The Zand Order can be summarized as female The Blair Witch Project, but more to the point. Yes, people get lost in the woods. Yes, they yell at each other a lot. But, there are also cool Saw-like riddles and puzzles that the group has to navigate. From first-time director Sarah Goras Peterson, this film will be a treat for fans of traditional found footage and freaky cult activities thrown in.

This film follows Morgan, a woman who believes that her child has been kidnapped by a cult called the Zand Order. She convinces a few other women to go into the woods and try and find her daughter and the cult, while recording it as a sort of documentary or proof for the police force. 

Deadware

Deadware

I want to start off this short review by saying this movie is not great, but it does have a very interesting online game built in and very scary scenes that will distract from the parts that don’t work as well. 

Two friends video call each other in 1999 to discuss a mutual friend, and end up playing this strange, spooky point-and-click game that has them questioning where this game came from while creeping them out. 

Some sequences had me sweating with how unnerved they had made me, and the simple Flash game the pair play in this film is very effective in how scary it is, I wish it was developed more. The ending was a bit unsatisfying and the acting is super wooden, but the middle parts make it effectively scary. If a simple movie that you want to scare you  is what you’re looking for, give Deadware a try. 

The Unnamed Footage Festival is near and dear to us, so consider checking out these amazing films. Unnamed Footage Festival will also have an online version of their film festival on May 7 with a different lineup of films. Keep up with them and iHorror to find out more.