Remember that feeling the first time Ferris Bueller looks straight into the camera and talks directly to you: the audience? There’s just something weirdly satisfying about a fictional character breaking that not-so-impenetrable fourth wall. (Or in the case of House of Cards’ Frank Underwood: Something truly chilling.)
Mockumentaries (fake documentaries) take those kinds of moments one step further. My personal introduction into the world of mockumentaries was the first time I saw the hilarious Drop Dead Gorgeous starring Kirsten Dunst and Denise Richards. That movie, along with a multitude of titles from director Christopher Guest, and not to mention The Office (both UK and US versions) made me realize that I’ve got an undeniable thing for this style of storytelling. Not always funny, these films and series’ cover everything from comedy to drama, and even horror.
Here’s a list of the 9 mockumentaries that we (kind of) wish were real:
American Vandal — Netflix
As with many Netflix series, the word “addicting” can easily be applied to American Vandal, no matter how ridiculous the premise is. If you’re into true crime, documentaries, and just downright absurdity, then you’re going to love this.
The Blair Witch Project — HBO, Cinemax, DirecTV Now
When this movie came out, the promotion for it was so smart that a lot of people saw it in theaters and walked away thinking it was real. This kind of marketing undoubtedly inspired the production company behind 2006’s YouTube viral sensation lonelygirl15. The Blair Witch Project expertly blurs the line between what is reality and what is fiction. (And terrifies us along the way.)
Best in Show — Film Struck
Writer/Director Christopher Guest is arguably the biggest all-star mockumentarian of all time, and Best in Show is arguably his best work. Set in the prestigious world of conformation dog shows, there is plenty here to laugh at.
Borat — Rent or buy from $2.99 and up.
Sacha Baron Cohen is known for his crude humor, and if that’s what you’re showing up for, Borat will definitely deliver in spades.
Lake Mungo — Tubi TV, ComiCon HQ
Another horror mockumentary, Lake Mungo succeeds, in part, because its understandably low budget really works for the “documentary” style that it‘s going for. On top of that, there is one truly nightmarish moment in this film that will likely stay with you long after the credits roll.
A Mighty Wind — Film Struck
Another Christopher Guest film, A Mighty Wind is set in the world of folk music, and features many of his favorite cast members. While this is still very much a comedy and is certainly full of the kind of offbeat humor fans should know to expect from him, it may be fair to say that this is probably Guest’s most heartfelt piece to date.
What We Do in the Shadows — Amazon Prime
A mock-doc about three vampires sharing one flat? Sign me up!
Hard Core Logo — Fandor, Sundance
This film follows the reunion tour of a mildly successful punk-rock band, and features Canadian favorites Callum Keith Rennie and Hugh Dillon in their younger days. Hard Core Logo is kind of an answer to This is Spinal Tap (another great mockumentary). But Logo turns the rock-mockumentary into a deeper, more dramatic affair: with heartfelt on-camera interviews and dramatic personal confrontations. (Full disclosure: Probably my favorite mockumentary on this list.)
Mascots — Netflix
Mascots (2016) is the final Christopher Guest piece on this list, and the most recent mockumentary in his ever-growing collection. Here, he cast not only his old favorites, but some talented new faces as well.