This article offers a brief historical and theoretical overview of found footage films and their contribution to the horror genre, and focuses in more detail on four Southeast Asian productions of the kind made between 2009-2012: Keramat/Sacred (Servia & Tiwa, 2009), Seru/Resurrection (Asraff, Pillai, Andre & Jin 2011), Haunted Changi (Kern, Woo & Lau, 2010), and Darkest Night (Tan, 2012), all of which can be viewed as an alternative to the mainstream local horror cinema. The paper argues that the two most common strategies used by found footage horror films (including the four films in question) are the techniques that effectively authenticate the horror experience: inducing a heightened perception of
realism in the audience and a contradictory to it feeling of perceptive subjectivity.
With the rise of indie cinema in the Philippines, many say that another golden age is again in the making, and, like its predecessor, the films are being produced in the midst of widespread poverty and political instability. Understandably, a significant number of indie films has consciously returned to and explored the limits of the urban realist film of the ‘golden age’ (1975-1984), revisioning city spaces and signifying patterns in Philippine and global film cultures.
The essay has three intricately connected sections. On the one hand, it delineates the shifting contexts of Philippine and global film cultures and situates current indie cinema in these contexts. On the other hand, by considering several key films, it traces the development and revisions of urban realism from its birth until today and reflexively problematizes the critical discourses that define and are defined by such realism.