Great observations! The found footage boom is definitely the result of a lot of factors converging, and no one movie can be given full credit. The numbers you give on the frequency of found footage movies in the years immediately following Blair Witch kind of surprised me, but, looking back, I realize that found footage horror really didn’t take off in a big way until later. I think there’s another factor that you didn’t really touch on, one that relates to 9/11 but might have happened without it. A big part of the post-9/11 American psyche was a return to the distrust – even fear – of our own government which had accompanied the Viet Nam War, a period which also saw a big increase in the significance of televised news and the role of documentary filmmaking in American culture. When the mainstream media is giving us reasons to be fearful of those in power, many people’s response is to do their own investigating, put their own information out there. And what else was becoming an increasingly important aspect of American culture around the time of and in the years following 9/11? The internet (which, of course, already entered into this story in terms of Blair Witch’s successful marketing). Along with the increased availability of decent prosumer cameras and editing software, people were gaining the ability to post videos – even feature length movies. The internet has changed the way that we associate with journalism. It has given everybody the opportunity to put their ideas, their experiences, and their perspectives out there. And for anyone with a camera (and, with changes in phone technology, more and more that means EVERYONE) can now capture real-life events and share them with the world. These days, the rough-hewn look of found footage cinema is consistent with the kinds of images we see almost every day of our lives, on YouTube, on Facebook, and on the web pages of major news agencies. Found footage may pre-date the world wide web, but I’m not sure it would have become nearly so prominent a narrative form without the web.