(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we explore movies that pretend to be true despite clearly not being true unless they’re actually true?!)
Documentaries are snapshots of real life and narrative films tell stories (true or otherwise) in fictional form, but resting somewhere in between the two sits the faux-documentary. They come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and genres, but the overwhelming majority seem to be comedies. From This Is Spinal Tap (1984) to Best in Show (2000), reality gets mocked quite a bit – hence the term mockumentary – but there are serious ones too including Punishment Park (1971) and Death of a President (2006).
There are also horror-themed ones including Noroi: The Curse (2005) and The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) though they’re often lumped incorrectly in with found footage films. Incorrectly because while found footage is exactly that – footage that’s been supposedly discovered and presented as is (hence the usual long, dull build-up to the final minutes where something frightening actually happens) – fake docs are properly edited for official release, include interviews, and feature music scores.
Keep reading for a look at six great “documentaries” you probably haven’t seen.