Monday, October 6, 2014

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT: Found Footage Extreme Haunt Halloween Horror (Spoiler: It's Friggin Good)

There are good found footage movies. No really. I'm not going to stun you with a sarcastic remark. I know that there are a ton of truly bad ones; bad ones that make quite a lot of money. I'd like to introduce you to one that I consider to be a truly fun horror movie, shot in the found footage style that is ripe for the Halloween plucking. It's got a nice build up, introduces some solid characters that you will find believable and plays in our backyard: the Halloween Extreme Haunt! The Houses That October Built form RLJ/Image will entice you down the rabbit hole just far enough for the rabbit to turn around gnaw you straight to the bone.

Things I love about this movie:

-Lots of footage of Halloween haunts and characters (all shapes all types)
-Horror themed strip club with boobs (big ones)
- Likable characters that may make mistakes but still human enough not to hate
-a solid premise with lots of action and movement with various locations and set ups. You're not catastrophically kept in one location or room.
-Powerhouse end that can actually leave you guessing with plenty of tension. Almost like going through a haunt. 
-works well within its budget though I would have preferred some splatter.

What I did not like:

-Lots of shaky cam which just feels like the norm these days. I was able to get over it and for the most part the shakey cam is "organic". Unforced.
-The camera that is being used to shoot a particular scene doesn't always feel like it works as a "real camera" in the scene. Normally I actually am the one to say this doesn't matter. I overlook this as my suspension of disbelief is quite liberal. This time I noticed it, and it distracted me. Not enough to dislike the movie.
-the movie slows start after a strong credit sequence/introduction. This isn't a problem except this will most assuredly deter viewers. Stick with it.
-maybe a bit light on the effects

This movie reminded me of Five Nights at Freddys in how it built tension; slow with no trigger to make you jump except for darkness... until you actually have something to fear! That's the way tension works. Misdirection combined with over-excitement. Even in the wildest moments you kind of know that everything in that particular scene will be okay. Still... it will make you feel uneasy. You can't really be bored in The Houses October Built because in between RV shots of the our fearless crew meandering about the country looking for extreme haunts there are excellent shots of them running through the haunts themselves. You get an insiders look at some fun shit, plain and simple. Since the camera work is handled as POV shot for these scenes it actually works to create some tension and provide a little jump scare or two.

Overall I recommend this movie. I hope you can appreciate it in much the same way that WNUF Halloween Special was appreciated  which I praise for having been shot to feel vintage;  trieThe Houses October Built makes good on its promise to capture the spirit of Halloween, the very essence of a haunt and the daredevil, wily, fearless and almost reckless nature of the thrill seeker.  I'm a happy horror fan and glad to have a new movie to add to my October tradition. I hope it holds up to a subsequent viewing though I can't wait to see it without the screener watermark and possibly degraded quality. I kept thinking of House of 1000 Corpses, WNUF Halloween Special and even a little You're Next for some reason.


 October 10, 2014

SYNOPSIS from RLJ/Image:

Beneath the fake blood and cheap masks of countless haunted houseattractions 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 has come to them…

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