A group seeking the ultimate haunted house scare travel across country making a documentary, searching for what’s rumoured to be the scariest haunted house in the world.
Halloween isn’t really a thing here in Australia. It’s slowly been taking hold in recent years, but for the most part there’s a lot of resistance to it, because it’s seen as too American.
This means that my take on this movie are completely, totally, and unabashedly coloured by how much of a novelty I think haunted houses are. I mean, the only kind of haunted house I’ve been in has been the kind that gets driven into a fairground by a truck, where you sit in a car and it takes you through on a short, pre-determined path; and, even then, it’s been many years since I went in one of those.
So, the first 40 minutes or so of this movie, where they’re essentially making their documentary and there are only the beginning hints of what else could end up happening? I loved it. Not necessarily because of anything to do with the movie itself, or the characters, or any of that stuff – but because it was an opportunity to look at this bizarre culture that’s built up around haunted houses/Halloween in America. I was having fun.
And, well, as soon as things started getting more movie-ish, I rapidly started losing interest. Not because it was bad or anything – in fact, aside from some major pacing issues (there’s a lot of build up to a very short period of pay-off), I thought it was pretty okay – but because it fell into a more predictable pattern. I might not get Halloween, but I get horror movies; and the latter aspect of The Houses October Built was (comparatively) less interesting. My enthusiasm had thoroughly cooled off by the time it ended.
Given that Halloween is coming up though, it might be worth throwing into a movie marathon lineup?