Wednesday, April 08, 2015

the houses october built [2014]

ah, the blair witch project [1999], how i adore you.  you made the dreams of many filmmakers come true.  have video recorder in hand, a group of willing friends, and viola! you can make a movie.  you can scare yourself stupid.  you can bore your audience to tears.  you can learn how to edit a decent jump scare.  you can leave the ghouls right outside the frame and make it up with a few scary sounds.  if it wasn't for you, oh bwp, we wouldn't have this mini renaissance of found-footage, documentary style pics.

not that i'm complaining.  i do like me some found-footage.  call me a fan of the micro-genre.  this movie features five twenty-somethings scouring the back roads of the u.s. south for an extreme haunt on halloween.  they don't find the haunt, it finds them.  yet, the characters are believable and flawed human beings.  they bicker.  they are awkward.  they stumble around.  and they seem to all genuinely like each other.  that's good.

what is not good is that there is hardly any creepy build-up or tension.  i love halloween and haunted houses.  for me halloween imagery relaxes me.  i feel comforted by frightful halloween paraphernalia and imagery.  when our group goes thru a couple of real commercial haunted houses i am sitting on the edge of my seat wanting more.  yet there is nothing to amplify dread.  my palms didn't sweat in anticipation of the next turn.  this pic failed to become scary.  the troop travel to a couple of haunted attractions in their search for something a bit more strange and weird.

after the second haunted attraction some of the haunt characters start acting nasty to our group.  they reappear down the road.  some crazy clown breaks in to their rv in the middle of the night, films the group as they sleep, and post the video online.  instead of bugging the fuck out our troop pushes ahead.  they want to find that one fabled, illicit haunt that will scare them to death.

did i give too much away with that last sentence?  come on, this is a horror movie predicated on found footage!  you know it will end badly for our group.  but how?  well, let's just say they do find that illicit haunt.  a perverted version of a commercial haunt with all the trimmings of sights, sounds and gory sets.

oh, there was one scene that got a little creepy.  they stop at a bar in baton rouge, louisiana called D&D Lounge, get it? D&D: dungeons and dragons, the fantasy role playing game that was every nerd's favorite pastime when i was growing up.  anyway, the leader of our group, the dude who is set on getting frightened to death, is told to meet a person called 'giggles'.  giggles will tell him how to get to the crazy place for the fright of his life.  the patrons of the bar are all ghouled up haunt actors.  but are they?  i don't know.  the filmmakers play it straight and it seems what we are witnessing is a haunted attraction come to life.  it was pretty good moment in the film which got my hackles up.

even with all its flaws i liked this film.  because i'm nuts.  i'm nuts about halloween and all things that go bump in the night.  the credits roll state that the filmmakers went to about half a dozen or so real haunted attractions.  a couple of these are in the film.  for me everyday is halloween.  at least in my heart.  a movie even this flabby that celebrates the scary season with genuine love of halloween is a good flick to me. 


Post a Comment

<< Home