Best Mockumentaries

A movie clapperboard lying on a gray reflective table.

Mockumentaries are a strange yet entertaining film breed. While they resemble found footage films in many ways, they typically boast more structure.  They often feature interviews, as well, both scripted and improvised.

Check out this list of the best mockumentaries, next time you’re looking for something thought-provoking—and a little wild.

 

 

The Gods Must Be Crazy (1981)

Director: Jamie Uys
Starring: Marius Weyers, N!xau
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Where To Watch: Fandango

This film is most popular among anthropology students, but is a riveting watch for anyone seeking both hilarity and education.

It follows a fictional tribe in a remote part of Africa, after the people discover a Coca-Cola bottle that falls from a passing plane.

The confusion, reverence, and subsequent violence over the unknown object is simultaneously funny and eye-opening, as the leader embarks on a journey to return the bottle to the gods.

 

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

 

Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Rob Reiner, Michael McKean
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Where To Watch: HBOMax, Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

This mockumentary follows an aging band of rockstars as they traverse the hedonistic universe of a band on tour.

While the band tries to regain their previous popularity, they must deal with a variety of challenges: some external; others, self-inflicted.

This Is Spinal Tap has garnered a cult-like popularity over the years.  What’s more, it continues to be just as delightfully quotable today as it was decades ago.

 

Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

 

Director: Michael Patrick Jann
Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Kirstie Alley
Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Where To Watch: Fandango

A small town in Minnesota hosts an annual beauty pageant. For these teenage girls, the stakes have never been higher.

This mockumentary gives viewers a realistic behind-the-scenes look at pageant culture, coupled with more entertainment-driven plot devices—including strange “accidents” befalling the contestants.

While a critical and commercial flop, Drop Dead Gorgeous became a pop cult classic, particularly among LGBT fans.

 

Best In Show (2000)

 

Director: Christopher Guest
Starring: Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

See the hoops that dog owners must jump through to ensure that their precious pooch wins Best in Show at a competition à la Westminster Kennel Club.

While owners insist on grooming every stray bit of fur or defending their dogs’ honor…these animals couldn’t care less about the contest.

 

Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan (2006)

 

Director: Larry Charles
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Pamela Anderson
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

A lot of people have been fooled by Sacha Baron Cohen’s brilliant acting in this mockumentary.

In this film, Cohen plays a filmmaker from Kazakhstan. From afar, he falls in love with Pamela Anderson and resolves to marry her.

Just as hilarious as Cohen’s convincing acting are the reactions of the people he encounters—most of whom weren’t in on the joke at all, until the movie’s release.

This resulted in a lawsuit or two, but also makes for an entertaining mockumentary—perhaps the “realest” fake doc out there.

 

Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon (2006)

 

Director: Scott Glosserman
Starring: Nathan Baesel, Robert Englund
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime, Apple TV

Clearly making fun of the slasher genre, this mockumentary follows a man who loves horror movies. When he decides to become a serial killer, using the quirks and tricks he’s observed in his favorite films, he invites a bemused documentarist to film his exploits.

The wannabe murderer then refines his techniques, modeling them after famous fictitious killers like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Meyers.

 

District 9 (2009)

 

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

Unlike most mockumentaries, District 9 is not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination.

It chronicles the landing of a desperate alien species in South Africa who, in a twist not seen in most alien movies, are seeking help from humans.

However, instead of assisting them, humans trap them on Earth in ghettos.  Their intention is to study—and then steal—the aliens’ technology.

Also at home in the found footage film genre, District 9 is a great watch for sci-fi movie fans sick of stereotypical camera work or narrative devices.

 

Digging Up The Marrow (2014)

 

Director: Adam Green
Starring: Adam Green, Ray Wise
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

This self-referential film is about a filmmaker—played by the director, in fact—who wants to make a movie about monsters.

Along the way, he meets a man who claims to have proof that monsters are real. They set out together to show that monsters truly exist in the real world.

 

What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

 

Director: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Where To Watch: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

This film chronicles the journey of four housemates…who just so happen to be centuries-old vampires.

They try to make their way through the modern world: while many conveniences make their lives (or undeaths) easier, aspects like dating, socializing, and comprehending new technologies aren’t nearly as simple.

 

Tour De Pharmacy (2017)

 

Director: Jake Szymanski
Starring: Andy Samberg, Orlando Bloom
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Where To Watch: HBOMax

In this comedic sports mockumentary, audiences follow five cyclists while they navigate the seedy underbelly of cycling and doping.

John Cena, Daveed Diggs, and Freddie Highmore star in this hilarious film, and Jon Hamm narrates.

 

via GIPHY

While most mockumentaries are comedies, the style lends itself to almost any genre imaginable, from sci-fi to horror.

They take a sometimes dry format meant to educate, then turn it into a vehicle for pure entertainment. Unique camera angles keep audiences interested, while an unparalleled realism makes every joke, scare, or absurd notion feel miles away from fiction.

For more movie recommendations, check out the best music or food documentaries, or the most entertaining rock biopics.