PLOT: While trying to find the most extreme haunted house attraction in America, a group of friends piss off the locals that run them.
I’m not the biggest fan of the found footage trope, but I’m also not a big hater of it either. I think it can create an interesting aesthetic, but it seems as though it is sometimes a hard thing to keep up throughout a film’s runtime while not cheating it in some way. I think this film works better as a found footage film than it would as a traditional horror film; it works, though there are some conceits that it takes in order to achieve the final film.
The story is told as if a group of friends are documenting a road trip to find the most extreme haunted house attraction in the south. I guess it’s only the south, as they seem to just ping-pong around Texas and Louisiana. Along the way, they can’t seem to help themselves and just manage to piss off everyone that works at these “haunts”, ultimately culminating in the ultimate haunt that blurs the line between an act and real life.
The Houses October Built is finely executed for most of the film. The actors are all pretty convincing, which helps this film move along. They’re very natural in their reactions and in their relationships, which manages to sell the found footage aesthetic very well. You really feel like that the threats are real and are happening to real people.
The film loses me at the final haunt, though. Without giving too much away, there just winds up being a lot of build up for something that could have been executed much easier. Like, if the end goal of this final “haunt” was what it wound up being, it was just pretty elaborate for a simple finale, if I may critique a fictional evil plan. Also, just on a logical side, I would’ve liked to have some sort of definitive detail about why the final haunt happens the way it does. Was it the plan the whole time, or was it because the group of friends just pissed everybody off? What would the haunt have been if they didn’t piss them off? I know it seems like it’s an odd thing to be bothered about, but I think it fucks with the logic of the film just a bit.
Despite the terrors that go on in this film, there’s very little blood and a very small body count.
Gore Rating: 0 out of 5
This one made me a bit uneasy, but it actually wasn’t until much later after watching the film. I must’ve had a bad dream or something, but I couldn’t go back to sleep without seeing that creepy image of the doll mask. Movies about break-ins or people that just look to fuck with other people bother me more than other films, so this one delivered on the scares a bit.
Scare Rating: 3.5 out of 5
There’s some talk of sex, but there’s not anything in terms of actual nudity to be seen here.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 0 out of 5
This film does a pretty decent job of creating some build-up in its tension. With each new location, the danger gets more and more real for the group of friends, but I think the ending is a bit of a let-down. There are some things in this that are genuinely creepy, and if things that can actually happen freak you out more than the supernatural, this one can keep you up a little at night.