The Houses October Built (2014)

SYNOPSIS OF THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT VIA ROTTEN TOMATOES:

“Beneath the fake blood and cheap masks of countless haunted house attractions across the country, there are whispers of truly terrifying alternatives. 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 as come to them…”

MY REVIEW:

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this movie.  When I first heard about it, it sounded like a direct-to-video movie and my interest in it was not that high.  However, since I do a lot of my horror work via social media, I saw that some of my favorite people had watched this movie and were reporting that it was worth watching.  I’m glad that I took the time to give this movie a proper viewing.  

As you have seen from the above synopsis, this movie is about 5 friends who set out to find an “extreme” haunted attraction to experience on Halloween.  In the beginning of the movie I just figured this was another “found footage” horror movie and it would follow the same script as most other found footage movies do.  In some cases it did, but in other cases I was really blown away. Here is why….

I’m a huge fan of horror attractions.  Growing up my dad would take me to Spooky World in Massachusetts and it’s something that I look back on fondly. I’ve been to horror attractions across the country, and my all time favorite one to go to is Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, FL.  I have noticed a trend in the haunt industry within the last few years where the haunted houses have gone from creepy/spooky to extreme (playing off of mental/emotional/physical fears).  This is something that I do not like and that I actually feel is detrimental to the haunt industry - specifically haunted attractions.  If you have to sign a waiver to go into a haunted house, I feel as though the fun is already gone.

With all that said, The Houses October Built touches on this subject.  The directors really honed in on how far people are willing to go to find the next extreme attraction, while also showing us the consequences of that action - which then leaves us with the question of if it’s worth it to go to these extremes. One of the best things that I think this movie did was incorporate interviews with people who work in the haunt industry - specifically scare actors.  Whether the interviews were real or not, they brought up some interesting points.  For example, how easy would it be to hide a real body in a haunted attraction? Or the reality of people being kidnapped or harmed during the attraction and the people going through thinking it’s part of the show.  These were really interesting points to consider - I know for me it really made me stop and think about a lot of things.  

A few things about the movie, outside of what I mentioned above, that I really liked was that they prayed on one of my biggest fears: clowns.  I fucking hate clowns and they had like 93 clowns in this movie.  They were all over the fucking place haha.  They were smart to know that this is a big fear for many people and putting them out there like they did was a good call.  Bravo!  Also, without giving away too much, I liked the ending of the movie.  I liked not knowing if the friends survived - we are never shown if they die or not so it leaves it up for interpretation which I love.  Plus, what happens during that final scene is such a HUGE fear for many people and it really gets under your skin.  Lastly, the other thing that I really enjoyed about this movie was that the “Haunt” literally followed the friends from the beginning of the movie to the end of the line.  I can’t go into more detail without giving away too much information but it leaves you feeling uncomfortable knowing that these “scare actors” have followed this group of friends up to the last experience they have.  It’s as though they were stalking them from the first haunt to the last one.  It’s very creepy and unsettling. 

So, should you go see The Houses October Built? I think you should, especially if you are interesting in the haunt industry and what may (or may not) be going on behind the scenes. Here are my final thoughts on The Houses October Built:

Concept/Story: 1/2
Style/Effect: 1/2
Atmosphere: 2/2
Scares: 1/2
Rewatchability: 2/2

TOTAL:  7/10