Movie Review: The Houses October Built

@TigersMS78 goes inside The Houses October Built…
It is no secret that in the horror genre in the past ten years there has been a plague of Found Footage films and for better or worse they keep on coming. I totally get why – it’s a cheaper method and if you hit the right note it is also a profitable one. I think that every found footage film that comes out now has a stigma. Having this stigma means people either A) don’t give the film a chance OR B) judge more harshly that a traditionally shot horror film. In the case of The Houses October Built you should eschew both A and B because not only is it a well put together production, with a different yet plausible premise but it has something that a lot of FF films lack – some real scares not only of the jump kind but also of the creepy kind. In a massive horde of found footage films, ‘Houses’ manages to stand out.
As I stated previously the premise and story is a bit different – Looking to find an authentic, blood-curdling good fright for Halloween, five friends set off on a road trip in an RV to track down these underground Haunts. Just when their search seems to reach a dead end, strange and disturbing things start happening and it becomes clear that the Haunt has come to them. Sure on paper it doesn’t sound that different but where I live the ‘haunted house attraction’ is pretty much non-existent, so I found that aspect very interesting (whether or not these are true representation of haunts I have no idea). The found footage is inter cut with news footage (some of it real…maybe all of it) which creates the perception that the people they hire to perform at these places may just be a little bit unhinged, perhaps even dangerous given their anonymity when in their fright gear. The film feeds off this notion and as the film gets closer to these ‘underground’ haunts, it certainly plays with that idea.
The leads are all very natural as they are playing themselves, no lines or delivery seemed forced and they are all totally believable. This does help immensely when things start to go pear shaped for the group. Yes, the film does suffer from the usual FF issues, like the first 60 minutes which builds up a little bit but there is too much fluff in between like a strip club visit which I think is totally superfluous – I love boobs… a lot – but the scene seemed like filler at a time when the films tension could have been ratcheted up notch. Of course there is the obligatory ‘we will keep going despite the fact there is a real danger’ decision but if that’s a major issue for you then why are you a horror fan? The Houses October Built has a great last act though, never hinting at what will come next with the climax being very effective, for the last 20 minutes I didn’t know if the film was going to pull off a The Game style twist or just play it straight – either way would’ve been fine by me. The only issue I have with the end was that it was away from the haunts that featured so heavily in the film.

The Houses October Built manages to avoid most of the pitfalls found footage films invariably have,  in doing so they have elevated the film above the average and gives you a film that fits in perfectly with a Halloween night movie marathon.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

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Images: IMDb &

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