Genre : Horror
Country : USA
Director: Bobby Roe
Recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped last Halloween by the Blue Skeleton – a group who take “extreme haunt” to another level – five friends decide they must face their fears in order to move on. Heading back out on the road to visit more haunted house attractions, signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing again and a new terror begins.
A Real Fixer Upper
2014 was a big year for independent horror. Modern classics such as The Babadook and It Follows were hits both critically and commercially. Meanwhile lo-fi movies such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Creep became instant cult classics. And thanks to the prevalence of streaming access to these kind of independent movies is easier than ever. One of the most popular being The Houses October Built. While not perfect it was a fun found footage film with a lot of potential for the future. Unfortunately with The Houses October Built 2 it doesn’t quite work out.
Perhaps the biggest problem is how little it deviates from the original. By the end of the first film the Blue Skeleton come off as a cool, mysterious villainous collective. A group that terrorizes people under the assumption of just being a haunted house once a year. It’s an interesting concept that director-writer Bobby Roe could have ran with in a lot of different ways. Instead we get more of the same. Like the first film we follow these 30-somethings go from haunt to haunt before going to one run by the nefarious Blue Skeleton. It’s virtually the same plot of the first film with the only difference being that Brandy from the first film is reluctant to do it again.
Of course when it comes to repetition horror can be one of the more forgiving genres. In fact, franchises like Friday the 13th have devoted followings partly thanks to sticking to a dependable formula. The key to it working is having a good amount of scares throughout the movie. Sadly this isn’t the case with The Houses October Built 2. Aside from the occasional hint here and there about the Blue Skeleton following our main cast it takes a surprisingly long time for any actual horror to get going. Instead the first hour feels more like a documentary than a horror movie. Just following our main cast as they go to different attractions. By the time the terror does start it is too little too late. A shame because what we do see is pretty good. A mix of practical and special effects it all looks great. It’s just happens so fast and so late into the film that it feels underwhelming. That all said The Houses October Built 2 isn’t a complete loss.
The one positive thing carried over from the first film is the cast. Led by Brandy Schaefer the cast work amazingly well with each other. Able to pull off both comedy and more dramatic moments they have the kind of chemistry that you can only get from being real life friends. I also think that Bobby Roe has improved as a director since the first movie. Thanks to the use of drones and different cameras he is able to avoid the typical monotony that plagues lesser found footage movies. He also does a better job at pacing the movie never letting scenes drag for too long. While it doesn’t redeem the movie completely it does make The Houses October Built 2 easier to digest.
I can’t say I disliked The Houses October Built 2. In fact, I found myself having a fun time catching up with this crew of friends and seeing different Halloween events around the country. If the intent were to make a travelogue or a documentary it would have been perfect. But as a horror movie it doesn’t work out. An overall lack of scares and predictability really hampers the entire film. I look forward to seeing more from director-writer Bobby Roe but it might be time to close shop on The Houses October Built series.