Nov 3, 2014

31 of 31: The Houses October Built (2014)

A vain attempt by a formerly prolific blogger to review 31 new (to me) horror films in the 31 days of October. We did it last year and it was a gas. Can we do it once more? Let's find out.

Platform: Amazon Rental on Roku
Starring: Some folks I've never seen before

Well, I did it. I started watching this 31st film on Halloween night around 11PM, so it counts. It's taking me a few days to actually get to the review portion of the program. Mostly because I was deeply disappointed in this film. Not that it's inherently a terrible film. On the contrary, it's mostly a FANTASTIC film. But it all fell apart in the last act, especially the final denouement. Which I will leave un-spoiled, because maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did. But it left me scratching my head and wishing for more.

Here's the deal. A group of young adventurers are off to find the most extreme haunts in America. Not haunted houses, but Halloween-themed scare houses. You know the deal. They've heard of "extreme" haunts that blur the violent line between realism and fantasy, even some that have allegedly featured real deaths. Accidental deaths probably, but you never know. They rent an RV and pack their found-footage cameras and head off.

As they travel from town to town, haunt to haunt, they document the lengths that ordinary people go to for a fright or a thrill. They also encounter the dark underbelly of the haunt culture. Angry and/or sad interviews with customers and haunt actors. And they elicit some anger from the haunt community on their insistence to film the frights. Anger turns to danger as they are "led" from tamer haunts to the extreme haunts that they really want to experience. fare are they willing to go for the ultimate fright or thrill. That's the premise of the film.

Did they bring the scares? Yes. There are some honest-to-God frights in the film. Some of the creeps working at the haunts are truly terrifying. Well, I guess their masks were terrifying. Bottom line, the creeps were creepy. But the film never went to the truly dark places that I thought it was going to go. Don't get me wrong, the ending is dark. Just not the dark that I (or many other reviewers) wanted. It just wasn't satisfying. If the ending had been more in line with what I was hoping for, this would have been my best reviewed film of the year.

As it is? Merely meh.

Verdant Dude Rating: 2.5 out of 5 pumpkin ales