Hello, dear readers, this week I’m bringing you a movie that has a great title, interesting premise, and completely falls flat on its big, dumb face. The Houses that October Built, is a found footage movie that follows a group of child-like adults across the country in a R.V. and captures just how dumb some people can be. Filled with what could be genuinely terrifying moments, this movie will disappoint you more than your unwanted stepchild.

The Breakdown

Plot:

We start off with our main group consisting of five adult children, Brandy (Brandy Schaefer), Zack (Zack Andrews), Bobby (Bobby Roe), Mikey (Mikey Roe), and Jeff (Jeff Larson). Because coming up with fake names is really hard, y’know? Anyways, they are all gathered together at some dive bar celebrating the beginning of their trip around America to film haunted houses and find out if any are genuinely scary.

Their main goal is to find one that moves around in secret called, “The Blue Skulls,” which is said to use actual torture as a means to scare those that dare to enter it. While drunkenly barreling through some of the first haunted houses the group manages to piss off the actors and owners of the places. Great idea.

From this stems a series of threats and even members of these places entering the group’s R.V. at night while they are asleep and filming it. The group knows this, as they watch the footage when they wake up, but refuse to either contact the police or go home. Soon they begin to hear stories of, “The Blue Skulls,” and where it might, but the closer they get the more intense the encounters with the haunted house workers get. This does not deter them, however, and the manage to track down the elusive, “The Blue Skulls,” in Louisiana, where one of their group is promptly kidnapped and used to make the others turn themselves over to creepy, deranged strangers.

From here, it follows the individuals of the group as they get separated and put through various forms of torture before all ending up knocked out. When each one awakes, they find themselves locked in a coffin and being buried alive. Then the movie ends. That’s it. No joke (except the entire movie itself).

Now, as you may have noticed I don’t exactly like this movie.

In fact, I hate it.

It takes a lot for me to really hate a movie, especially a low budget horror movie, but the failed potential in this movie absolutely drives me to rage. There was so much in this movie that could have been taken to the next level and made this a really great horror film. But they just went right ahead and shit on it instead. For example, I don’t think the found footage style was the best vehicle for this story.

I don’t particularly like found footage at all, because it’s cheap looking and overused, but this story needed a little more of an outside perspective in order to be able to connect with the characters. As it is they’re just a bunch of clowns goofing off all the time and most of the time we don’t even see the camera guy, so we don’t develop any connection to him. An outside view would have also given us a better look at the haunted houses when they went through them, which would have been really fun and could have provided some much needed tension building. In the movie now we see bits and pieces, but there are some we don’t even get to check out at all. For a movie that is premised around haunted houses, you would think that would be a bit more of a focus.

Now, two of my major problems with the movie are the idiotic reactions to real danger and the ending. You don’t have your antagonist break in to the protagonist’s R.V., film them while sleeping, and leave a dead heart in their fridge and not have them react like any normal human being. The stakes are not high enough for these people to avoid the cops or just pack up and go home. Either their entire life depends on them pressing on or they do reach out for help, but find none. At least have them try to go home and something happens like they are threatened to proceed or their loved ones will get hurt. They needed a real reason to put themselves in harm’s way or it just makes them look stupid and no one cares about them anymore.

Lastly, the ending was what really got under my skin. You have an entire movie building up how terrifying this haunted house group is and you give us maybe 15 minutes of sort of scares and kind of torture before putting our main group in the ground and fading out to black. There’s no twist, there’s nothing engaging or interesting. “The Blue Skulls,” are simply a bunch of murderous hillbillies. Woop-de-doo. I really hoped the ending was going to redeem the past hour and a half of crap that I sat through, but it just ended up raising my blood pressure.

What the ending needed was something to grip the audience and leave them going, “Wow, I did not see that coming.” I know endings can be hard, but with something like this there’s a lot of previous set up they had created that made an interesting ending achievable. Here’s what I had in mind. Earlier in the movie the group had a moment where they discussed what scared them the most. There was also no indication that every person that experience, “The Blue Skulls,” died and there were even a couple of guys that talked about going through it and how crazy it was.

What needed to happen was the group gets taken and put through their worst fear. At the end they get buried alive and left to sit for a few minutes before being dug back up and pulled out, one next to the other. Then you have, “The Blue Skulls,” leader step forward and say something like, “Well, were you scared?” Cut to the group heavily breathing, crying, sharing “WTF,” looks with each other before letting out a little chuckle and then you end the movie. Perfect twist and an ending that doesn’t just take these characters we’re meant to care about the throw them away.

Acting:

The actors in this movie manage to make “acting natural,” look awkward, forced, and cheesy. No one knows how to causally deliver a line and the script creates a lot of forced conversation where it’s not needed. The best example of this is when a haunted house owner that believes they filmed inside the house confronts the group. A fight begins to break out and one of the guys is trying to take a swing, but Brandy is standing in front of him. His movements seem half hearted and his insults sound like bad improv. The whole thing left me feeling embarrassed for the movie.

Visuals:

The way it’s filmed looks cheap because it’s supposed to be found footage and there’s really nothing else going for it. There’s nothing really interesting about the way its filmed or directed. It’s a basic, run of the mill found footage horror.

What Say I:

Most of the time I would say you could at least make fun of a movie with your friends and have a good time, but The Houses that October Built doesn’t even merit that recommendation. Avoid this movie. Don’t waste your time watching something that’s been done time and time again and done even worse this time.

Credits & Other Stuff:

“Writer”: Zack Andrews, Jeff Larson, Bobby Roe, & Jason Zada
“Director”: Bobby Roe

Trailer for, The Houses that October Built.

About The Author

A graduate in Creative Writing, I love horror, scifi, action, and revenge movies, but b-movies hold a special place in my heart.

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