The Houses October Built is another found-footage movie that's documenting a number of haunted house attractions until they visit the scariest one out there, but then realized that they're being followed by the actors of the attractions. This could be a solid concept for a fun horror schlock and to be fair the costumes of these strange people can be creepy. Even to this day, we tend to admire this practical horror, but the problem immediately lies on the technique. It never works, the camera tries its hardest to be inept, because ineptitude equals realism, apparently. But its incoherence is what makes this supposed simple horror film thoroughly unwatchable, no matter what commentary they try to put through, it still makes no sense.
The opening and some moments, probably every ten minutes or so, features a number of interviews from those who visited the attractions. Showcasing those attractions are basically like those you see on Youtube, except the camera-work is purposely trying to make us not see the exhibits as possible. But the real horror comes is when the monsters from the ride start following them. That can be creepy in some sorts, but we immediately segues to some of the most uninteresting characters that you may commonly see in this genre. I mean really, what arc and what personality will we ever identify these people? The movie enjoys spinning wheels to them and there is still nothing exciting or likable about them.
The least dragging parts are whenever they encounter their enemies, like they just appear from nowhere, but even there they get things wrong. The continuity of these scenes are vague, yeah it's found-footage, but who's shooting this? Also, why are these people so bad at shooting these things? More specifically, the ones that are supposed to be scary. Are they trying to do the Jaws approach where less is more, except they have to be annoyingly awful at shooting stuff? I'm sure they're no professional documentarians, but why? Yeah, I complain about some well- shot found-footage films, but there was a time when this genre manages to be convincing by just shaking the camera while capturing the visuals right. In fact, if these people are trying to follow this "realistically amateur" filmmaking approach, then why are their microphones sound so perfect? I can nitpick whatever I want, BUT WHY CAN'T THESE PEOPLE SHOOT ANYTHING RIGHT?!
Alright, the few good things: the little girl is kinda legitimately creepy. The editing does get needlessly gimmicky with the camera glitches (is the girl an alien or something?), but yeah, she must stay away from me as far as possible. I couldn't tell if the acting is any good since the movie didn't give me any chance to get sucked into the writing. The costumes are effectively eerie and it's possible to get terrified by those whenever they try to attack the main characters, if only they were shot right.
The Houses October Built is your standard found-footage, and when I say standard, as in the ones that are just too lazy to make any novelty scares and it's a shame because a bunch of costumed Halloween people has potential of being at least creepy, and how they're designed is kind of promising (needs more killer giant rabbit.) But again, the plot makes no sense, the characters are dry empty and the camera-work is one of the reasons why found-footage should be a crime now. These ideas could work actually, I wouldn't mind having some guy holding a camera being chased by masked psychopaths, but again, lead it to the professionals. The Houses October Built is just a boring mess. And the title cards also countdown to the day when climax happens, which rather felt like a number of tortures you'll have to take from its ultimate ineptitude and unwatchability. And it doesn't give you any worthy payoff, either. I guess that's the real horror they're trying to offer.
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