Fear is big business.
There is a billion dollar industry dedicated industry dedicated to just that. Horror films, theme parks, ghost walks, paranormal shows (real or fictional), and haunted house attractions.
Now we have haunted houses in the UK, but the kind they have over the pond are a whole different ball game. Over the years the lengths that the different companies who run them have gone to, have become legendary in their batshit craziness, to become the most scary attraction come Halloween.
The actors that work the attractions, or’ Haunters’ as they are more commonly known, are encouraged to scare the customers that go through the attractions by any means necessary, and they take their jobs extremely seriously. Some companies actually give their workers bonuses if they can get a person to defecate themselves while on the tour (and it happens a lot more than you’d think), all while working in dangerous environments, under constant threat of physical and sexual violence – because when people are scared, high or drunk, they react in the most unpredictable and often illegal ways.
And it isn’t without it’s scandals, in recent years, a Haunter was found to have hung himself when he tampered with the trick rope he was supposed to have used in his scene, and visitors spent a whole night passing by his corpse, thinking it very realistic, until someone realised the tragic reality. Another Haunter was involved in a molestation case against a couple of teenagers, making you really think about why he was in a job where he could have free reign to grab teenagers all night, every night …
The problem is, the job doesn’t exactly do a lot of background checks, and certainly isn’t governed by a regulatory body that does any kind of health and safety checks, because , well, where’s the fun in that? Sliders, (that’s the Haunters who slide towards you out of the darkness on their knees, usually end up crippled with pain from years on the job, not to mention the broken backs, the slit throats, the falls through dilapidated floors, and all the time being expected to stay in character just to give you a good scare, and all for a crappy wage.
You’d be pissed off, wouldn’t you? Maybe want to take that anger out on someone? You’re in the right place to do it then aren’t you ….
So The Houses October Built follows of group of friends looking for that elusive holy grail of Haunted Houses, the one that will awaken that primal fear in even the most jaded among us. Of course, they find what they are looking for, but as is so often the case, the scares don’t come in the neat little package that these thrill seekers were hoping for.
Firstly, this is a ‘docu-handheld cam-shaky hands – why are they still holding the cameras in this sort of situation affair’ that let’s face it, we are pretty sick of by now, right? That is the bad news. The good news is, that once you resolve yourself to this, you’re actually going to be watching a pretty decent, watchable and funny film.
Funny, because, you see the actors getting genuinely frightened at the haunted houses, which; as someone who has been to these places knows, it is ALWAYS funny if it’s happening to someone else.
It’s been done to death, it’s not the most inventive concept, but the plot,and the inventive settings make it entertaining, and one of the better examples of the genre definitely. It starts of so well; I actually had pretty high hopes even mid way through, but it just lost it’s way and seemed to get bored of it’s own ideas, plot wise, petering into an ending that was more of a groaner than a fright fest.
If you’re looking for a jumpy, cheesy, low budget, way to pass the time then this is surely the film for you. Its not thought provoking or particularly clever, but it is a a good standard little found footage.
Nothing more. Nothing less.