The Fear Footage 3AM is finally here. Well, I mean, not for everybody. But, I got to watch it this afternoon, and let me tell you, it was a fucking treat. To be completely honest, I haven’t watched a whole movie in months. I haven’t had time. That all changed earlier today. This morning, I went to check my mail and an unmarked envelope in among the bills and ad papers. The envelope contained a bloody USB drive with the title of the film hastily scrawled on the label. Needless to say, I made time.
It’s no secret that I loved the first installment of the Fear Footage series. It remains one of my favorite found footage movies. It is also one of the only truly scary movies I’ve ever watched. If you haven’t already watched it, do yourself a favor and check it out.
The second installment The Fear Footage 2: Curse of the Tape was damned near as good as the original. It expanded the lore of Darkbluff and introduced some new characters. It delivered the same kind of scares and atmosphere as the first. In short, it is a solid follow-up to a great film.
So, how does The Fear Footage 3AM stack up to the others?
The Fear Footage 3AM – Spoiler-Free Review
The Fear Footage 3AM kicks off with an urban exploration YouTuber. Because he lived in Maryland, he decided to take a day trip down to Darkbluff to check out the legitimacy of the Fear Footage movies.
Our protagonist finds an abandoned town. All of the houses are completely empty. Those who watched the first two films will recognize some of the locations. He wanders through the house from Curse of the Tape for a little while. Most of the film takes place in or around the house that took Deputy Leo Cole.
When the sun goes down, our protagonist slowly realizes that he is well and truly fucked.
The Fear Footage 3 AM shows its connections to the first two films early and often. The level of attention paid to continuity throughout these films is seriously impressive.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. The protagonist is the weakest part of The Fear Footage 3AM. He’s just kind of there. There’s not much interaction with the camera. For the most part, he’s on his own. Every now and then, he’ll interact with one of the denizens of Darkbluff. Other than that, he’s just exploring the town and yelling “Hello! Is anyone there?” a whole bunch.
However, this is the only real weak point in the movie. Even though there isn’t much to the protagonist, he doesn’t get annoying. More importantly, he doesn’t get in the way of the scares.
The other citizens of the little town are all on point. Every one of them is scary as hell and plays their part perfectly. There are, of course, callbacks to the first two films. Fans of the series will see a couple of familiar faces.
The Fear Footage 3AM Brings the Scares
At the end of the day, I wasn’t watching The Fear Footage 3AM for the protagonist. Oh no, good people, the only character I was concerned with upon starting the movie was Darkbluff. Make no mistake, this town is an entity in and of itself. It’s a really damned scary one, too.
In The Fear Footage 3AM, the whole town becomes a haunted house. It’s like a fractal of the house that took Leo Cole in the first film. Once you’re there, you can’t leave. It traps you there with every other lost soul caught in its web.
A lot of time is dedicated to further developing the lore of Darkbluff and the cursed tape. This slows down the pace a bit but, to be completely honest, I loved learning more about the town and the tape.
Once the stage is set and the protagonist is fully snared by the town, though, things get really interesting. Much like the first two films, The Fear Footage 3AM is like walking through a Halloween haunted house in the suburbs of Hell. As I took my first-person journey through Darkbluff and its nefarious homes and woods, I could feel my heart pounding. Something about the way Ricky Umberger composes his shots and lays out his scares puts me on edge like no one else.
All in All…
All in all, would I recommend The Fear Footage 3AM? Are you kidding? Of course, I would. It’s the final piece of the Fear Footage puzzle and if you watched the first two, you have to see this movie. This is especially true if you enjoy your trips to Darkbluff as much as I do. It’s well-shot, the makeup effects are solid, and it’s scary as hell.
Is it as good as the first two movies? First off, that’s a high bar. No, it’s not as good as the first movie. I don’t know if I’ve seen many found footage movies that are. It is, however, on par with The Curse of the Tape. That’s still pretty damned good.
The Fear Footage 3AM is a great way to cap off an amazing series. Knowing that it is the last time we’ll visit Darkbluff bums me out a little bit but all good things must come to an end. I will, however, be keeping my eye on Ricky Umberger in the future. This dude came out of nowhere and made three killer movies back to back. I don’t think this guy can make a bad movie.