Monday, January 4, 2016

The Houses October Built (2014)

Number Rolled: 60
Movie Name/Year: The Houses October Built (2014)
Tagline: In the search for the most extreme haunt, the haunt found them.
Genre: Horror
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Room 101, Foreboding Films
Producer: Zack Andrews, Todd King, Steven Schneider, Matthew Stein, Steven Steiner
Director: Bobby Roe
Writer: Zack Andrews, Jeff Larson, Bobby Roe, Jason Zada
Actors: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Bobby Roe, Mikey Roe, Jeff Larson

Blurb from Netflix: Five friends hit the road to find the best gimmicky Halloween haunted house, but soon a terrifyingly real evil begins to hound their steps.

Selina’s Point of View:
The Houses October Built had almost no redeemable qualities at all except that the acting seemed natural.

It’s hard to say much else about the acting because the characters were ridiculous. They were completely unrelatable and shallower than a kiddie pool. The best I can say is that it wasn’t outstanding acting, but it wasn’t Carmen Electra (Lap Dance, Mardi Gras: Spring Break, Barry Munday) in 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012). They all convincingly screamed when they were supposed to, basically.

The story was non-existent. The film was based on jump scares, which I have no problem with, provided they’re backed up by something. Instead, you had a horrible script coupled with an hour of pretty much nothing happening followed by a few jump scares that were not even really startling.

Also, although I understand they were going for a mockumentary kind of thing, they did it so poorly that it looked more like a falsified documentary. I have nothing against the mockumentary genre, either. I even have a favorite film for it: ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2006). This one just… wasn’t even on par with the worst of the genre.

To be honest, I hate giving bad reviews to a director/writer on their first attempt. The truth is that most first attempts at anything are going to suck. It’s a good thing. You got their mistakes out of the way early.

Cat’s Point of View:
We’ve just come to the other side of the season of holiday festiveness and goodwill to men. What better way to celebrate the New Year, than give yourself a scare?!

While my horror movie repertoire is, admittedly, somewhat limited – I can’t say that I’ve heard of a film quite like this before; in premise at least.

Sure, there was the found-footage docu-horror of The Blair Witch Project (1999), but that wasn’t quite the same.

Part of the twist on this one (no spoiler, I promise) is that it seems to have started out as an actual documentary in 2011, with a runtime of 94 minutes. Then someone had the idea to splice the documentary into a real horror story on the same topic. It’s a bit meta.

I wouldn’t say that this film has any sort of award-winning substance – but for the haunted house enthusiast, it’s an interesting ride.

I love haunted houses. One of my fondest memories from middle school is of my class in charge of the school’s Fall Carnival haunted house. I was a mad scientist, complete with one of my grandfather’s lab coats and vials and beakers full of suspiciously colored liquids.

I have also been known to turn my front porch into a giant spider’s nest for the holiday. Motion sensors with strobe lights that play creepy tunes, fake webbing everywhere, and five-foot leg-span tarantulas OH MY! (If only I could get that automated one to really drop like it’s supposed to – but I digress.)

If you don’t have a good haunted house in your area, this might be a fun option, instead – and you don’t even have to wait in line. There are plenty of jump scares (which ALWAYS get me – I’ve already mentioned I startle easily, right?).

I was sufficiently creeped out by some of the “haunters,” and even found my pulse racing a bit at a few points. I didn’t even realize that I was all that invested in the plight of the characters until that point. It crept up on me.

My burning internal question is now whether some of the scary characters were creations of the film or ‘borrowed’ from some of the real haunted houses that supported the film and documentary. Things that make you go hmmm. I might just run the other way if I ran into a couple of these in any real haunted house.

Not bad for Bobby Roe’s (The Longest Yard, Clubhouse, Superman Returns) directorial debut. I’m intrigued to find out what other sort of film mashup he might do in the future.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 29%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 1.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score1/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 1.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3/5

The Random Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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