#31in31 2017 – The Houses October Built

What’chu mean ‘back woods’?

Story: 5 friends on a haunted house road trip, looking for the “real, ultimate” haunt experience. They want extreme, they’ll get it…whether they want it or not.

Scares: A few, but mostly it’s a big question mark.

Splat factor: Beyond haunted house props? Zero.

Closing scene “shocker”?: Not really.

Remake, Sequel or OG (Original Ghoul)?: An original firmly nestled in the found footage subgenre.

Trick or Treat?: Filmed at real haunted house attractions, Built could have been an incredible documentary or even a pretty cool horror story. I’d watch the hell out of either one. But in trying to mix the two together, all I could think about was the films I’d rather be seeing. Seriously – someone get on a documentary about extreme haunts. That sounds amazing.

The “city kids thinking country folks are backward” trope is loud and proud here, making me give zero about these entitled, obnoxious characters and what ultimately happens to them. “These are your people, farmboy!” Nice. Any wonder so many of the people who work the attraction these jerks go to end up pissed off? But the actors (playing characters who share their real names, ala Blair Witch) do a fantastic job making them believable. Though why these idiots don’t contact law enforcement – or just go the hell home – when things really go sideways is beyond me.

The idea of using real haunts is brilliant, and probably kept costs low. But there’s a hole where the buildup should be. Yes, things amp up as the story unfolds, however it never really made an impact on me aside from some of the truly impressive haunt setups.

An interesting but muddled blend of documentary and “found footage” horror that tries to be scary, and ends up being uneven. A few genuinely unsettling moments were spoiled by my constant wonder over what the hell was going on and why I should care.  Sure was fun checking out those real-life haunts, though.

Score: 3 out of 5 pumpkins.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
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