The friends set off on a road trip in an RV as they decide that to find the truly terrifying attractions, they would need to search off the beaten path. It soon transpires that they don’t have to look too hard, as all sorts of strange happenings occur.
The format of the film may seem initially off-putting for those who are done with ‘found footage’ films – there have been so many ‘FF’ genre stinkers that it is hard to resist rolling your eyes at the thought of another one… but bear with me. For every shovel-full of said stinkers, comes a decent effort – such as The Houses of Halloween.
Shot as a faux-documentary, The Houses of Halloween is successful in its blurring of the lines between reality and fiction – which for me, is the main reason why I enjoyed this film. By this, I’m not suggesting that I believed the events were true, but in terms of the acting involved, it is hard to tell who is acting and who just happens to be a member of the public. This is as much as one can hope for when viewing this format. Director/actor, Bobby Roe has certainly done a good job in finding some remarkably unsettling subjects to interview for the purpose of this film.
This is the true strength of the film – you are never quite sure what is scripted and what is real. The audience is left questioning this throughout, and it is this examination of the film that ramps up the tension as you watch on. When the narrative makes an obvious turn towards the fictional, the events are still quite believable – and terrifying. After witnessing some bizarre interviews with even more bizarre real subjects, it is not such a stretch of the imagination to believe that some people out there take this haunt attraction business to frightening extremes.
As stated earlier, this is one of the very few recent occasions where the ‘found footage’ format actually works, and does not become just ‘another found footage' film. It restores some faith in the format for such cynics as myself.
The Houses of Halloween is available now on UK DVD.
Review: The Houses of Halloween
By Andreas Charalambous - 5th October 2015
The Houses of Halloween was a film that intrigued us during one of our early monthly trailer roundups, this time last year – under the alternative title, The Houses October Built. Released on DVD today through Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, it comes just in time for this year’s Halloween.
The story revolves around a group of five friends who are keen to partake in an evening of scares by visiting a haunted house attraction – as the relatively recent fad (and film title) suggests, Halloween is the time of year that such attractions pop up across the United States.