Poster

Haunted houses are an odd concept. Most often, you pay to be disappointed—not scared.

I find myself hating the fellow customers 99.9% of the time. Maybe that’s because people who go to haunted houses are the worst. Last year, my wife insisted on experiencing a different haunted house every weekend. There were some nice gems and it culminated with Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare.

For the most part, it was dreadful. Some douchebag nearly got into a fight with a performer while waiting in line with his mother right there watching. Two very young children (seriously around 6 years old) did not have parents anywhere in the vicinity and the haunted house somehow let them in—of course, directly in front of us. The performers proceed to scare the living shit out of the kids, but one kid rushes forward while the other lags behind. Being decent human beings, my wife and I don’t want to just abandon this child in a scary, dark place. Despite our objections, the performers keep referring to the kid as ours, which is not a thought we want anyone to think. The kid wouldn’t even say a word. So we left his ass there.

Sorry, little kid. We never saw him leave. As far as I know, he never left. Some say you can still see him there today. Why would parents abandon their children in a crowd of complete strangers at a haunted house? It’s a place that would really only be scary for little kids who don’t know any better.

It’s either Arizona or haunted houses that bring out the worst in people.

The Houses October Built is built with that thought in mind. This is a found footage horror movie about a group of friends in search of a genuinely frightening Haunt for Halloween. These unlikeable fucks travel across the country going from haunted house to haunted house trying to find out the password to an underground Haunt known for its extreme tendencies. Everything is swelling up to this haunted house because it supposedly makes you feel truly afraid for your life. Why would I want that?

That sounds as fun as waterboarding. No thanks, I’ll pass. Clowns are scary enough.

Mikey

Our typical cast of annoying characters in horror movies doesn’t seem to have a problem with that notion. According to IMDb, they all use their real names—Brandy, Zack, Bobby Mikey, and Jeff. If you are anything like me, you are actively rooting for bad things to happen to these people.

Although The Houses October Built is a slow burn, the creepiness kicks in early when the traveling group of idiot friends decides to interview some performers after going through the haunted house. These people are like carnies. Never get close to carnies. Even worse, the performers remain in-character (and behind a mask) so you’re being fucked with at all times. This look at the seedy underbelly of the haunted house world is as weird and gross as you would expect. There are some very well-done, interesting makeups/masks in this movie with one in particular that will give you the creeps.

Care to take a guess which one? Apparently, her name is Porcelain…

Doll Girl

The little girl doll mask with wispy strands of hair poking through is fucking haunting. Seeing that bitch’s face repeatedly was the most disturbing part of The Houses October Built. It’s all weird and creepy for the sake of being weird and creepy. In other words, it works perfectly for a horror movie.

Did I mention how weird and creepy the performers are?

These naïve fools just brush the threatening encounters off like they’re nothing.

Eventually, the strange turns sinister. Vicious and violent.

Clown

But saying it is a slow burn is an understatement despite the movie lasting only an eyelash longer than an hour and a half. Found footage movies already make it seem longer because you’re stuck with the characters—there is no reprieve. You feel every tick of the clock during these 91 minutes.

If you made it through, then congratulations. In a sense, it’s somewhat like a haunted house. The experience of The Houses October Built rewards you with the familiar feelings a horror movie should deliver. It is not groundbreaking by any means, but the haunted house backdrop is a nice twist on the standard abandoned building setting typically used for found footage horror movies.

It’s hard to find good streaming horror movies on Netflix considering the huge swaths of shit you have to wade through to find something that you can enjoy. The Houses October Built deserves credit for capturing your interest by playing up the creepy while effectively utilizing costumes and makeup to enhance the realistic feel. With Halloween looming, The Houses October Built is a decent addition to a horror movie marathon. Get in the holiday spirit or I’ll wear your skin to go trick-or-treating!

Doll Stroll

2.5 out of 5 stars

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