Monday, 5 October 2015



And still they come.... it's yet another found footage horror movie that, despite the publicity blurb's claim, does not reinvent the genre, it merely does it again. No better than any of the last dozen I've dragged myself through, it does nothing original, nothing interesting, and the result is nothing you haven't seen before. The potential might be there in the idea, but it's thrown away in the literally nauseating camerawork, indecipherable sound recording and nonsensical editing to the point where the film is pretty much unwatchable.

The Houses Of Halloween flogs that already overflogged dead horse of a set-up: five tedious idiots on a roadtrip in an RV. One of them is allegedly a film student (though on the basis of his prowess with a camcorder as demonstrated here he wouldn't get into a film school as a cleaner), so the RV is fitted out with about a dozen meaninglessly positioned cameras inside and out, some of which are bolted on sideways or pointed straight at the headlights for no fathomable reason. They're out to find the most extreme and terrifying haunted house attraction in the country in the week leading up to Halloween: ones which are genuinely, physically frightening rather than just mildly scary with rubber skeletons dangling from the ceiling.

Most of the early walkthroughs are full of the expected: people dressed as clowns, zombies or scary porcelain dolls, though they're not so much innocently macabre ghost trains as full-on immersive experiences with physical contact and cinema levels of sound and set design. But even the sudden jump scares and visual grotesquerie isn't enough: they want the Real Horror. And a mysterious and shadowy organisation, referred to in hushed tones as Blue Skeleton, is rumoured to provide just that....

So it's a "real" (and therefore arguably snuff) version of The Game, if the Michael Douglas character had been a horror obsessive and spent his entire time filming himself. There's actually nothing wrong with that as a set up, but - yet again - doing it as a found footage exercise makes no sense at all. Who is supposed to have collected all this footage from the various cameras and RV cams and edited them together? And why? All the usual tropes are trotted out again: the night vision, the running feet, the sick-making shakycam, the noises off, the scenes of people blathering on about nothing. Midway through, they stop going to horror installations and go to a strip joint instead, for no apparent reason beyond the desire to get some naked breasts into the film.

The one nice idea, which is mulled over briefly and then tossed aside, is that our heroes are being stalked across the country by one of the clown figures from the first attraction. That might have made for an intriguing and potentially scary "proper" horror movie. Instead it settles for a final act of halfwits bumbling around in the semi-darkness and yelling "What the f*** was that?" at everything. I haven't been as thoroughly bored and depressed by a horror movie since the last of these found-footage underachievers, and I daresay I won't be as bored and depressed by a horror movie until the next one.


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