31 Days of Horror: Day 25- The Houses October Built

Posted October 25, 2017 by Thomas James Juretus in Movies

It’s Day 25, purveyors of frightening films, so it’s time for some “found footage” with 2014’s The Houses October Built. The movie follows five friends- Brandy (Brandy Schaefer), Zack (Zack Andrews), Bobby (Bobby Roe, who also served as director), Mikey (Mikey Roe), and Jeff (Jeff Larson)- as they set out in their RV in search of really scary haunted house attractions. They head to rural areas, where things tend to be more “unregulated”. The search for scarier haunts leads them to cross paths with a group that takes things a bit more seriously, a group that begins to follow the friends, crossing over between the fictional scares of the haunted house and the all too real scares of stalking psychopaths.

The film, even though it uses the overused technique of the shaky cam found footage made popular by 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, does have an interesting premise. The notion of some darker goings on within unregulated haunted attractions, where people just get scared by actors in costume but some are really harmed by psychotics dwelling among the actors, is a frightening one, and teases us that the illusion of bloody corpses and victims might instead be real. Most of the extreme group that begins to terrorize the friends are your stock characters, people in skeleton masks and creepy clowns. The most effective character was one called Porcelain, a life sized, deranged doll that wanted people to “come play with me”. And while the idea can make for an unsettling movie, this being a movie we know this was all staged. Even worse, there was never any hint as to why the friends were targeted, or why they continued to push to more secluded haunts when things got a bit more “real”. The ending feels a bit more contrived than actually scary, and a bit too predictable. Still, it has its moments, and the friends are a bit likeable. Now showing on Netflix. 6/10 stars

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Thomas James Juretus