The Top 10 Found Footage Alien Horror Movies

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In Jordan Peele's sci-fi horror "Nope," releasing in theaters this week, ranch-operating siblings OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) are hit with a sudden tragedy. During a bizarre storm, their father Otis (Keith David) is struck and killed by a piece of debris that seemingly fell from the sky out of nowhere. In order to both find the truth about their father's death and to make some easy money, Emerald suggests trying to get footage of whatever was in the sky that night — after all, undisputed proof of the existence of aliens could result in a hefty paycheck.

There have been tons of alien-centric hoaxes promising to showcase "real" extraterrestrial lifeforms over the decades. Some of these, such as the infamous "Alien Autopsy" of 1995, have been made in the form of movies. This prevalence, as well as the burgeoning found-footage subgenre that blurred lines between fiction and reality, is likely why there is a growing list of fictional found footage movies that center around aliens. Here are some of the best ones and where you can watch them.

UFO Abduction/The McPherson Tape

Where to watch: Shudder

This piece of found-footage history is the film that arguably helped to kick-start the entire subgenre. Unlike "Cannibal Holocaust," which is often considered the first found footage film, it was shot entirely in the first-person point of view and often passes as a real family video at times. It later gained the moniker "The McPherson Tape" after an incident that will be explained just a bit further down.

"UFO Abduction" documents the final hours of the Van Heese family as they celebrate a birthday. Michael (director Dean Alioto) records his niece Michelle (Laura Tomas) blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, only for him and the rest of the family to have trouble turning the lights back on. Since the video camera also provides a source of light, he and his brother Eric (Tommy Giavocchini) go investigate the outside breaker before stumbling across what appears to be some kind of spacecraft. This encounter kickstarts a drastic turn of events that eventually results in the entire family being abducted.

Without Warning

Where to watch: YouTube

This film is one of the more unique found footage movies on this list, and that's because it isn't filmed in the traditional sense. Instead, it is depicted entirely as a special report from a local news network, where the events are explained in real-time by reporters. Outside of perhaps "WNUF Halloween Special," found footage movies shot in this way aren't that widely-made, which is a shame as it's a very interesting perspective.

The world experiences a series of earthquakes happening at the exact same time, being caused by the impact of three meteors across the United States, France, and China. Scientists and experts predict that all three impacts were somehow intentional, bringing into question the existence of aliens. Out of all of these films, "Without Warning" is probably the scariest one, not because of how realistic it looks, but rather how realistically the reporters and scientists act in the face of earthly destruction.

Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County

Where to watch: YouTube

This entry might be cheating just a little bit, as this is technically a remake of "UFO Abduction." However, this one is more infamous of the two, given how it aired on UPN with dubious indication that it was fiction. The channel claimed it was based on an actual case, but the case in question was the "UFO Abduction" film. Yikes!

Anyways, this film is how "UFO Abduction" eventually became known as "The McPherson Tape," as the family in this remake were actually called the McPhersons. This film also centered around a family member documenting an important get-together, this time being a Thanksgiving dinner that gets interrupted by faulty power. The aliens in this version are seemingly more aggressive with their attempts at abduction, employing tactics like coma-inducing balls of light and invisible branding to get the McPhersons to submit. Alito definitely made the most of the bigger budget he was given, and both of his abduction movies are essential watches.


Where to Watch: HBO Max

To say that this movie was a major deal when it was released would be a massive understatement. After a year-long advertising campaign that sent people into online rabbit holes, "Cloverfield" didn't disappoint with its depiction of a real-time invasion by a devastating alien creature. It also arguably helped to promote the idea that the found-footage format can be used for higher budget movies; while not Marvel-levels of expensive, "Cloverfield's" $25 million budget drastically eclipsed that of "Paranormal Activity," which was released on a paltry $230,000 budget the following year.

Several friends in New York City get together for a farewell party for their friend Rob (Michael Stahl-David), who is about to move to Japan for a promotion. His friend, Hud (T.J. Miller), is recording the party for posterity when an earthquake and power outage occurs. The friends find themselves running for their lives (a movement displayed through the camera movements that famously causes intense motion sickness in some people) as New York is destroyed by an alien monster that crash-landed on Earth. While the proceeding sequels abandoned the found-footage format with mixed results, "Cloverfield" still remains an important piece of the subgenre's history.

The Fourth Kind

Where to Rent: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Apple

Okay, this might be a controversial entry, as the reception to "The Fourth Kind" among the horror community is mixed at best. However, you can't deny that the central mystery of the film, as well as its deceptive framing as a pseudo-documentary with both "real footage" and reenactments, makes it stand out among other found-footage fare. Perhaps it was too ahead of its time, or maybe it was a concept that wasn't fleshed out to its full potential. Either way, it should still be considered one of the most ambitious entries on this list.

An Alaskan therapist named Dr. Abbey Tyler (Milla Jovovich) sees a number of clients in the town of Nome, many of who recount similar experiences or emotions that they can't seem to explain. When one of these patients commits a gruesome act of violence as a result of his pain, Abbey begins to suspect that something far more sinister is linking her patients together, potentially proving the existence of aliens.


Where to Watch: Vudu

This entry is an interesting one for several reasons. The cast for the film is not included in the credits, nor have the actors shown in the film ever been identified. The directors, Sean Bardin and Robert Cooley, have also made conflicting statements over whether or not the events shown in the film were staged. We suppose you'll just have to watch it for yourself and make your own conclusions ... or not, because it's pretty clear that the footage shown in the film isn't real. Still, that air of mystery still makes it an engaging watch.

Two young lovers, Joe and Lisa, have decided to take a trip to New Mexico, documenting their journey with a camera along the way. However, they find their plans changed just a bit when they find that the house belonging to Joe's grandfather is abandoned. When trying to discover what happened, the couple find themselves in the middle of a wide-spanning conspiracy involving the existence of extraterrestrial life.


Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Paramount+, Vudu

The majority of movies on this list can easily be classified as horror. However, who said that found footage alien horror movies had to just be horror? If you're looking for a more relaxed watch, you can check out this comedic take on alien abductions and shady government conspiracies. Think of this film as the found-footage "Paul," just without the alien being a stoner sidekick.

Skot (Aaron Leddick) and Vic (Derek Reckley) are two amateur Ufologists, or investigators of extraterrestrial phenomena. They are called to investigate a supposed case of alien surveillance by a woman named Jessa (Alycia Tracy), which goes awry due to both the threat of the aliens and the overall incompetence of the duo. Thankfully, the footage was salvaged by the actual researchers at the totally-real Civilian Department of Ufology. Sure, the film is extremely immature and oftentimes cringey to watch, but hey, who doesn't like to laugh at urinary humor every once in a while?

Phoenix Forgotten

Where to Rent: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Apple

This entry actually has the distinction of being produced by Ridley Scott and his Scott Free Productions banner, which is pretty damn cool considering this was director Justin Barber's debut. It is also based on a real-life event that has never been fully disproven as otherworldly phenomenon (at least not its first recorded instance), the 1997 Phoenix Lights in Arizona, Nevada, and Sonora, Mexico. We recommend you read up on this event before turning on the film, as it'll give you some much-needed background information.

Anyways, the film follows Sophie (Florence Hartigan), who is hoping to find answers about her brother Mark's (Luke Spencer Roberts) disappearance shortly after the Phoenix Lights incident. In the present day, she discovers some of her brother's old video tapes, which show him and two of his friends attempting to investigate the phenomenon while accidentally becoming a part of a major conspiracy. Worst of all, Sophie might be this same conspiracy's next target.

The Gracefield Incident

Where to Watch: Pluto, Tubi, Vudu

If there is any movie on this list that deserves to be watched with friends while drinking, it's this one. While not exactly fitting into the mold of a "good" found footage movie, it is highly entertaining because of how ridiculous even the smallest plot points are. It knows the type of movie it is and embraces it, albeit not in a purposefully-so-bad-it's-good way. Rather, "The Graceland Incident" seems to understand that it's not going to be the next "Paranormal Activity," so instead of either becoming melodramatic or phoning it in, it decides to just have fun with itself.

The biggest indicator of this? The fact that the footage that makes up the movie is shot through a camera embedded into a prosthetic eye. The eye is worn by Matthew (director Matheiu Ratthe), who lost it after surviving a car crash. He, along with his wife Jessica (Kimberly Laferriere) go camping in the woods of Quebec along with some of their friends. However, their vacation takes a turn for the worse when a meteorite crashes nearby. This movie really has it all: leaping aliens, goofy eyes, Bigfoot, over-exaggerated facial expressions, and zombies. Must we say more?


Where to Watch: Roku, Tubi, Vudu

This one isn't that dissimilar to "The Fourth Kind," at least regarding its subject matter. "Skyman" is probably the darkest entry on this list, as it's more of a character study into trauma than anything actually scary. Still, there's a compassion that is present throughout that makes it a fascinating and engaging watch.

Carl (Michael Selle) is a man haunted by a terrifying secret — he believes he was abducted by aliens as a child. Few people believe him, but he is convinced that the event happened and has been obsessed with contacting aliens since. His sister Gina (Nicolette Sweeney) is supportive of her brother but is still skeptical, even when he hires a film crew to document the lead-up to his 40th birthday. Why is this specific date so important? According to Carl, it's when the aliens that abducted him as a child will come to visit him again. However, this prophesied interaction isn't as predictable as he thinks it will be.