“The Houses October Built” proves one of the more successful attempts at the found-footage horror flick since “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.” It has its holes in logic, but at least it grasps the simple premise that footage can be found only if it has in fact been filmed.
Five thrill seekers in their 30s from Texas (played by Brandy Schaefer, Mikey Roe, Jeff Larson, co-writer Zack Andrews and director and co-writer Bobby Roe) embark on a road trip touring haunted houses in the days leading to Halloween. They seem a bit long in the tooth for such a trivial pursuit, and it seems oddly out of place for a woman to be part of this fraternity. But no matter.
News footage warns that some of these attractions employ criminals. But because all haunted-house actors look scary, the friends let down their guards even as the unexplainable starts to occur.
Intercutting faux news, surveillance video, commercials and photographs with the purported found footage, the film creates credible vérité. The documentary style makes the proceedings all the more frightening when interiors of haunted houses begin to resemble those booby-trapped dungeons from the “Saw” series.
“The Houses October Built.”
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes.
Playing at AMC Burbank 16. Also on VOD.