Top 5 Mockumentary Films
Counting down our favourite mockumentary films
With the announcement that This is Spinal Tap! will be getting a sequel, what better time to have a chat about all things mockumentary. A mockumentary is a film made to feel like a documentary, where the events should feel real in their own weird and wonderful way, all achieved through use of the shaky cam and talking head moments.
"Every mockumentary speaks to the era it was made." - Gareth
5. The Blair Witch Project
Directed by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
"I'm scared to close my eyes, I'm scared to open them!"
We've had a lot of debate about whether or not this is a mockumentary! It doesn't have all the stylistic cliches that you expect to see and it is a found-footage movie, but it does feel very real. When this film came out it felt like the world went into meltdown and for a brief spell people didn't know if it was real or not. Nothing since has quite captured the feeling that this did at the time. A once in a lifetime cinema moment!
4. District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
"You cheeky prawn!"
Such a great movie that feels more real than it should. It's hilarious in all the right places and knows when to darken at the edges. A political message, stunning SFX and just a great story. It's so original in its way of using both storytelling and the medium of the mockumentary, and the promotional material markets it as something entirely different. This was not what we expected it to be, but that's no criticism, it was just so much more original than anyone could've imagined.
3. Surf's Up
Directed by Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
"We've known eachother way back since...yesterday, I think it was."
Ellis babbles on about this on the talkabout podcast all the time but with good reason. There's no animated film quite like it and the vocal performances are so authentic. Unconventionally, the lead performers recorded their lines in the same room to capture that realistic feel, and the outcome creates something more real than some documentaries. Comedy, romance and emotional conclusion, it's a perfect family night in.
2. What We Do in the Shadows
Directed by Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement
"You will not eat Stu and you will not eat the camera guy...maybe one camera guy."
A dry-as-you-like mockumentary from two of the great comedy brains of our time. Jemaine Clement is always note perfect and Taika Waititi's now famous brilliance is captured in every frame. If the concept does wear off a little towards the end, it still creates memorable moments with werewolves, sunlight and vampire parties. The fact that it's spawned a successful sitcom shows just how large and loyal the film's audience is.
1. This is Spinal Tap
Directed by Rob Reiner
"These go to eleven!"
The one that started it all...and it's still the best! This could easily be a real band and it seems to perfectly capture the over the top personas of the rock gods of the time. The Stonehenge sequence and the conversation that follows after is one of the greatest comedy scenes of all time, and without this film this list wouldn't be able to exist. That newly announced sequel with the same cast and same team can not come quick enough.
Rob Reiner you are a genius!
Films that came close, but for whatever reason, didn't quite make the cut
- This is absolutely excellent, and shows Brett Goldstein off immensely.
Borat - S.B. Cohen pushes the boundaries, but the real people make it feel less mock more doc!
Mike Bassett: England Manager - Bradley Walsh from The Chase is in this.
This is Spinal Tap available now on BBC iPlayer