Plot: A group of five friends decide to embark on a road trip to seek out various haunted houses, looking for the scariest and most extreme destinations. As the trip starts, the friends find only the usual, routine kind of haunts, but hear rumors of some rural haunted houses that push the boundaries. The various workers and thrill seekers they encounter share their own thoughts and memories of spook houses, as well as relay information they’ve heard about the really wild ones. The friends keep hearing about a group called Blue Skeleton being the best of the best, but as the location moves around, they can’t seem to nail down how to check it out. Soon odd things begin to happen and tensions mount as strange haunt workers start to lurk around, even miles from the house they were first seen at. Are the friends just paranoid and on edge, or is there some kind of darker presence within the haunted house world?
Entertainment Value: This is a found footage movie that pretty much follows the well worn path laid out by the genre peers, but at least The Houses October Built has a kind of interesting hook involved. The movie tracks a group of friends as they travel from one haunted house to the next, in search of the ultimate thrill, so the varied locales and built in creepiness helps a lot. After all, at least a haunted house tour is a little fresher than the woods or a remote cabin, right? The eerie masks and baked in spookiness elevates the movie, but it can only do so much. When the movie veers from the haunts and focuses on the five friends, the wheels grind to a halt. The humor between the friends is stale and forced, as are the attempts to examine the various fears that reside within each. In the end, you want to see these friends killed in horrific ways, as they’re so bland and boring to watch. But there is a lot of haunted house footage, so thankfully the five leads don’t take the spotlight that much. All the genre tropes are here, shaky cam, minimal blood, and locals who are supposed to be eerie, but it is all done is the same old ways, no new blood is pumped in. I was mostly bored with this one, but for devoted fans of found footage, at least the haunted house backdrop is fun.
A few topless girls appear during a strip club scene, with the appropriate dollar stuffing and motor boating you’d expect. The scene isn’t substantial, but the injection of naked flesh worked wonders for this clunker. No blood. Not a drop. As with most found footage movies, all of the violence happens just off screen and we never see much of anything happen. I understand this is a cost cutting measure, but there’s so little horror in this one, an on screen kill or two could have added so much. But the closest the movie comes to trying to scare us is people in masks and honestly, just plays like you’re walking through a dull haunted house. The dialogue here is bad. The friends laugh at in jokes that are never explained at all, or they display their lack of horror movie knowledge or prattle about the intricacies of fear. None of it worked for me and I just dreaded scenes that were focused on their conversations. No craziness. The movie thinks doll masks and a bunny suit are off the rails madness, but things never even feel tense here, let alone out of control.
Overall Insanity: 0/10