The Houses October Built Is A Great Title In Search Of A Deserving Movie.”
Can we stop with the found-footage movies already? Every since The Blair Witch Project started the trend in 1999–16 years ago–studios have been churning them out left and right.
And there’s a logic, the most crucial point being that they’re relatively cheap to produce. I mean, if a studio spends $4 or $5 million producing one, and ends up earning somewhere in the ballpark of, let’s say, $50 million, it’s a huge profit for minimal investment.
Or let’s say the movie flatlines at the box office? You’ve invested relatively little, so your losses are minimal as well.
After all, it’s the strategy that built Blumhouse Pictures.
Though I think that the whole point of such movies is that they’re supposed to make you feel as if you were somehow part of what’s unfolding on screen, which is a good time as any to take another look at the source of the infection, so to speak.
One reason The Blair Witch Project worked so well was that viewers had seen nothing like it before, though despite what one may think, there was some astute decision making going on. In many instances the camera moved about so quickly that you couldn’t tell what was going on, though when combined with lighting that shifted unpredictably, odd sounds and ambient noise, it felt genuinely scary despite there that often wasn’t all that much actually happening–though you couldn’t tell even if there was.
Which is disconcerting, though the thing is, you can only do that so many times, which is probably why the sequel, The Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, was shot in a more traditional fashion.
It was also a flop in the theaters (which I never quite understood. It’s by no means a terrible movie, and unlike the original, it made in a more traditional fashion).
Which brings me to today, and The Houses October Built. The narrative is pretty traditional, in which people we don’t particularly care about are looking for the ultimate haunted house attraction–and so driven that they’re traveling all over the country in the process.
It’s an interesting angle, but since by the very nature of these types of movies not much happens in the way of character development it doesn’t particularly matter when someone comes to an untimely end because you’ve never had anything invested in the first place.
And speaking of “untimely ends,” they sure take their sweet time coming. Better movies would perhaps have used this time to build tension and suspense, but we’re not talking about one of those, so the waiting is little more than irritating.
And I don’t mind B (or even C) movies, though the better examples of the genre are self-aware enough to know what they are, and perhaps more importantly, what they aren’t.
Which isn’t something I can say about this movie.
And that’s a pity because the advertising made it feel much scarier than it actually was, which isn’t unusual–and also the purpose of trailers, to entice viewers–but which never fails to be disappointing.