The Houses October Built 2 (Movie Review)

The Houses October Built 2 (Movie Review)
8 10

PLOT: Still recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped on the previous Halloween by the Blue Skeleton - a group that takes extreme haunt to another level - five friends decide they must face their fears to move on. Heading back out on the road to visit more haunted house attractions, new terror begins when signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing again.

REVIEW: I'm a big fan of the original found footage film, THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT directed by Bobby Roe. I think the first film is a Halloween treat, seeping from every pore like a gift for all of those that worship the horror holiday in higher regard than Christmas. With that in mind, I'm happy to say that if you found the first film to be an enjoyable time at the movies, then you'll be doubly pleased to know that the sequel ups the ante in all the best ways.

The film begins right where the previous entry left off, with Brandy Schaefer's character being buried alive by a sinister group of extreme haunted attraction workers known only as Blue Skeleton. In the film's opening moments, we learn that this Blue Skeleton organization of creeps has been broadcasting Schaefer's burial live on YouTube for millions of viewers. This, however, alerts the police and a squad car shows up to rescue our heroine before she can be left to her fate - whatever that may have been. 

Was it all part of the experience? Did this Blue Skeleton group plan to let her out before she perished? Or was she placed in said coffin to die slowly? This is the central mystery that drives THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 and for my money, it was a great way to keep the tension going throughout this second film's running time. Known now as "Coffin Girl", Schaefer is, to say the least, resistant to join the guys on this year's haunted house adventure, but after a full act of convincing, "Coffin Girl" agrees to join her childhood friends for one last go.

One of the main draws of the original film was the haunted attractions, and let me just get this out of the way: the haunted attractions in THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 are as cool - if not much cooler - than the attractions found in the original film. Here we get to follow along with our group of documentarians as they traverse haunted cornfields, a fun-as-hell looking Zombie 5K fun-run, an adult's only attraction which includes "laser titties" and a brain-eating contest, a journey into the darkest areas of an abandoned cement castle/fort-like structure known only as "Hellbent", and let's not forget the film's showstopper; a performer who swallows swords and lifts buckets of bricks with his eyelids! That's talent.

This brings up the point that one of the defining elements of the original film that I loved so much was its visual flourishes. I have said it before and I will no doubt say it again, but the original film reminds me of what Rob Zombie's HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES would look like had it been found footage. This new film is no different. If you love Halloween visuals of any and all kinds, no worries, the new film delivers in spades. Tag on to that the new film's stunning aerial photography via the filmmakers having a drone on hand this time around.

Like any good sequel, THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 takes everything we loved from the first film and expands those elements, while at the same time giving us something bigger, better, and faster this go-around. Want more haunted attractions? You got it. Want more of the bearded man-boy everyone loves, Mikey Roe? You got him. Did you find yourself enamored with Brandy Schaefer's performance as the game-for-anything but vulnerable heroine of the first film? Well, you've got her again, but tenfold as this is 100% Schaefer's show and the other boys are just living in it. Good thing the actress is up for the challenge, as this film puts her through not only the physical ringer but an emotional buzzsaw as well.

All in all, I enjoyed THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT just as much, if not more, than the original film. The film sported some cool music, with the standouts being a track called "Halloween Spooks" and a killer/creepy rendition of "The Muffin Man" now turned with sinister delight to "Do You Know the Skeleton Man?" which is actually stuck in my head as I write this.

I was happy as hell to spend more quality Halloween-time with this series' gang of "thrillseekers going back into the heart of darkness" who feel like old friends at this point. I couldn't think of a better group to lead us through such a killer collection of America's top haunted attractions. Guess this means they will have to go international for THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 3. And if/when they do, I'll be first in line.

Extra Tidbit: THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 hits theaters and VOD September 22nd!
Source: AITH



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