The Houses October Built

At some point, the stereotypical response to horror movie plots of ‘why don’t these people just turn around and leave?’ becomes more and more logical.

And it becomes harder and harder to take a movie seriously, especially when ‘you know what, this isn’t frakking worth it or enjoyable anymore’ becomes so much more intelligent and, well, safe, than continuing forward does. It’s sort of like the people who ignore all the posted warning signs and then want sympathy for their injuries.

Sorry guys, but no.

That’s my main issue with this film. I can handle found footage, though I am beginning to mentally deduct points for the subgenre; I admit that’s my bias but I find that a lot of movies use it as a short cut to actually, you know, working on character development and plot.

What I can’t handle is the fact that there are piles and piles of points where the whole thing could have been avoided with just a hey, you know what, this is getting a little too real and we should probably leave before we find ourselves in the ultimate torture pron film.

But of course they don’t.

The Houses October Built centers on a group of friends chasing after the ultimate scare house-the house that is literally so scary it has to travel to avoid being shut down, often by force. They hop in their RV and start traveling around America, chasing a scare attraction that frankly may not even exist. They might be chasing after an urban legend.

Things start shifting away from the actually fairly safe scares of the haunts and the occasional run in with the scare crews to a place where the scares have become their life. And this is where the film lost me (though I honestly didn’t have that much invested in the characters in the first place). Because if you have what amounts to a house on wheels, you just nope it out of there and go home.

I think a deeper level of characterization would have helped to save this film for me; as it is, I don’t care enough about these people to see them as anything more than a bunch of adrenaline junkies throwing themselves into the line of fire. And it just wasn’t that interesting of a ride for me to go on with them. The inevitable (and stale) gender politics didn’t help either-it’s 2015, guys, the token pretty girl thing is a little obvious at this point and the [minor spoilers] ‘we have to save her! Don’t let her out of your sight!’ route is a little painful.

But you know, not painful enough to actually go. home.

I know I’m being harsh on this one. But unfortunately this film just throws all of my least favorite things about the found footage genre into a pile and dances on it.

 

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2 comments

  1. You know, I really want to like found footage movies. I saw the Blair Witch Project in the theater when it came out, and liked it all right. Chronicle is really good and I’ve recommended it to a lot of people. But then you get Chernobyl Diaries. And the sequel to Blair Witch. And Cloverfield, which maybe my hopes were too high for?

    But my problem with movies, in general, is “aren’t people smarter than this”? So it goes doubly with found footage flicks, which are supposed to be more immersive (I think); because yeah, I’m smarter than that. I don’t [insert horror trope here], because NORMAL PEOPLE DON”T DO THAT (not to say I’m normal, per se; just more normal than dumb people in a horror movie?).

    1. I just couldn’t suspend disbelief with this film enough to get over the voice in the back of my head saying ‘get in your RV, turn around, go home. Normal people wouldn’t sit around going, all this horrible stuff is happening. Let’s just keep driving forward.’

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