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Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Houses October Built (2014)

Another found footage movie. I don’t know why I keep watching these as normally I don’t end up enjoying it at all. Though this time I was intrigued by the premise. We have a group of friends that decide to find the scariest Haunted Houses they can. They want to experience real fear. They pile into an RV and head out across Texas and Louisiana in search of something scary. Along the way they film themselves in a few different attractions and a Halloween strip club! Do they find anything genuinely scary? Well yeah this is a found footage so you know they all have to be dead in the end.

I’ll give the people behind The Houses October Built some credit. This is a much more interesting approach than we normally get. First thing is that there appears to be some documentary footage or at least real-life interviews mixed in with the stuff shot by our characters. Hearing what I think are actual people and not actors talk about working at and going to various Haunted Houses and attractions was interesting. Toss in the news footage about the real accidents that have happened to the workers and how many times the attendees didn’t know was creepy.

I will also admit that some of what we see is scary. Not only do we get to go with the characters as they carry cameras in to the Haunts they go thru, but there is also the recurring “monsters” that seem to follow them. From the silent clown to the small china doll that visits them it works. Though it is creepier than it is frightening it does set the stage for what is to come later. There is even a video of them sleeping on the RV that shows up on a message board, so they know someone has snuck in at night to film them. These are all the things that work well. Almost too well.

In general horror films have stupid characters and I understand that. But sometimes it gets so ridiculous that I want to shout at the screen and The Houses October Built is one of them. There is a reason that so many found footage movies are shot in the woods. Once you are lost you have no choice but to keep going in some direction. Here they aren’t trapped but driving around in a giant RV. Early on they run into some trouble with the workers at the different Haunted Houses. Things quickly escalate with the filming, banging on the RV in the middle of the night, being chased thru the woods by a crazy chainsaw wielding bunny, and so many other things. Go home! No really you just need to go home!

At this point I'd just go home!
I understand the arguments about the characters wanting to be scared. But God damn it people the one woman in your group almost gets assaulted in the lady’s room of a bar by a couple of clowns. At least call the cops. When one of your group disappears and you are told to meet the kidnappers in the middle of nowhere don’t go. They are going to kill you! I don’t believe any group of people would be so stupid as to keep going after all the crap that went down. Days have passed during these events. At least one of them would have dropped out.

The Houses October Built has some interesting ideas and creepy moments. But overall, I think that most viewers are going to be distracted by how dumb and absurd the plot is. Way too many times people who film these found footage movies skip writing a story that is plausible and engaging to an audience. Want to guess where I think this one falls? I don’t recommend it.

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer

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