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The Houses October Built (2014)

This is a very authentic found footage production, not only do the main cast of characters feel genuine, but the footage we see is filmed with real purpose. Unlike a lot of found footage productions, this warrants everything we see on screen, rather than bloating out the first two thirds of the film with exposition, like a lot I have seen within this sub genre. 'The Houses October Built' has an consistent pace that utilises its runtime, with important story telling and interesting content surrounding the wildly popular haunted house attractions across America during the Halloween season. The casting is made up of 5 lead antagonists, who all used their real names as we follow them along this 'haunt journey'. Starting with Bobby Roe, who also directed this feature as his first directorial debut, along with Zack Andrews, Brandy Schaefer, Mickey Roe and Jeff Larson. All of these cast members provide an outstanding performance, each one being just as convincing as the other. I have to assume based on how well these actors worked together here, and how genuine their onscreen chemistry felt, that they are all close friends outside of this production. Whilst visiting numerous Haunt attractions in the pursuit of the ultimate extreme haunted house, the cast of characters we follow visit numerous real life attractions along the trip and there is one particular house these characters visit that features a zombie outbreak on a farm. Once there, they are armed with paintball guns on a porch and have to take out the zombies one by one as the horde slowly approaches them. This looks like the most fun thing I have ever seen and makes me genuinely question why the UK doesn't embrace the holiday season as much as America does. Throughout this film, the characters bring into question how far extreme haunts can go. How invasive can the actors can be, without causing physical damage to a person? And with the willing participants being aware of the fact that it is essentially a performance, how scary can these places actually be? Featuring some genuinely real and thought-provoking conversations between the cast - that I myself have had with friends, or at least pondered upon to myself when reading about these places online. The subtlety of these conversations and interactions made me so impressed by the writing departments capabilities to create such authentic and realistic characters. Another thing this film does exceptionally well is subtle introductions to characters that seem irrelevant during their initial introduction, but have a much bigger pay off later on in the movie. If ever there was a film that perfectly showed that horror and gore are equally just as effective in their own rights and do not need to go hand in hand to have optimum effect, it is 'The Houses October Built'. Whilst having almost zero gore or physical violence throughout, this film shows that horror can be just as terrifying without the need for gory special effects or gratuitous violence. The use of tension is balanced so well here and genuinely better than most horror film I have encountered, especially those of the found footage subgenre. Although sometimes the said tension has a rather unpopular jump scare result, I never once found that this was a tactic that was over utilised. This for me was one of the most unexpectedly entertaining horror movies I have watched for quite some time. I'd seen this pop up on numerous streaming services and never quite been drawn in by its concept. If like me, you too have scrolled past, I strongly recommend you rectify that and check this out immediately. Now, not only making its way into my my 10 top found footage films, but this is now definitely being added to my annual Halloween season viewing rotation.



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