17 Documentary-Style Movies You You Need To See, From ‘Borat’ To ‘Paranormal Activity’


Documentaries are a great change of pace when you don't want to watch a regular movie. The drama is real, the plots are unscripted, and they offer a totally different viewing experience than do studio films. But what if you're in the mood for both a documentary and a regular movie? In that case, you may want to look at documentary-style movies, and there are plenty of them out there that are worth watching.

Documentary-style films essentially fall into three categories: Found footage films, mockumentaries, and fake documentaries. Found footage movies are almost always horror films, and they revolve around the premise of footage being found from some ill-fated expedition that's now being shown to the public. Mockumentaries are comedies that are filmed in a documentary style. Sometimes they're wholly fabricated, like the works of Christopher Guest and his crew of comedians, while other mockumentaries incorporate actual footage of real people with just one person in on the joke, like what Sacha Baron Cohen has done in some of his films. Then there are those films, sometimes serious in nature, that purport to be an actual documentary while actually being staged — sometimes never even admitting what's real and what isn't. You'll find examples of all of these types in the 17 films listed below.

1. 'Borat'

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In my humble opinion, this is the funniest movie ever made. No contest.

Stream Borat here.

2. 'Brüno'


Sacha Baron Cohen's second mockumentary is no Borat, but it still has some laughs.

Stream Brüno here.

3. 'Paranormal Activity'

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Endlessly parodied and copied, the original is still super scary.

Stream Paranormal Activity here.

4. 'The Blair Witch Project'

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Who didn't think this movie was real the first time they saw it?

Stream The Blair Witch Project here.

5. 'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping'

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A criminally watched comedy masterpiece from The Lonely Island.

Stream Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping here.

6. 'Cloverfield'

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Now a burgeoning franchise, this is the one that started it all.

Stream Cloverfield here.

7. 'The Visit'

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M. Night Shyamalan found his groove again by making the switch to found footage horror.

Stream The Visit here.

8. 'District 9'

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One of the best sci-fi films in recent memory.

Stream District 9 here.

9. 'A Mighty Wind'

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Christopher Guest is the undisputed king of the mockumentary.

Stream A Mighty Wind here.

10. 'Best In Show'

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This time, Guest and company take on the high stakes world of dog shows.

Stream Best in Show here.

11. 'Waiting For Guffman'

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The first mockumentary to be both written and directed by Guest.

Stream Waiting for Guffman here.

12. 'Creep'

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Maybe the scariest found footage horror film out there since it's so plausible.

Stream Creep here.

13. 'Incident At Loch Ness'

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Described as a film within a film within a film, good luck figuring out what's going on.

Stream Incident at Loch Ness here.

14. 'Trollhunter'

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This Norweigan comedy/horror is an absolute blast.

Stream Trollhunter here.

15. 'Real Life'

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Albert Brooks takes a look at a "real" American family's life. It's basically Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but funnier and less staged.

Stream Real Life here.

16. 'Chronicle'

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A found footage superhero film. Now that's something different.

Stream Chronicle here.

17. 'This Is Spinal Tap'

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If you've never seen this classic, make it number one on your list.

Stream This Is Spinal Tap here.