It’s been a year since the events of the first movie took place and as luck would have it, everyone is geared up and ready to seek out the most “extreme” haunted houses yet again. If you haven’t seen the first movie – honestly I don’t know why you’d be reading the review of the sequel if you haven’t – I would recommend not reading any further as there will be spoilers for the first movie in this review, and I highly recommend watching the first movie. With that out of the way, let’s get this over with. Apparently everyone (somewhat disappointingly) survived the events of the first film and have since become internet famous. As shown in the beginning of this sequel, the group that kidnapped the team and buried them alive also live-streamed the events on YouTube, leading viewers to contact authorities and the group to be rescued. One year later, they once again film a trip in search of extreme haunted houses – this time using their internet popularity for financial gain. Oh, and Brandy is apparently traumatized by the events of the first film even though the rest of the team went through literally the same thing she did, some might say others even had it worse, but I digress. She quickly moves passed her fear as soon as the check clears and the movie gets underway.
First off let me say I am a fan of the first “The Houses October Built” and I was eagerly awaiting this sequel, as I was certain everyone from the first movie was killed, but I have to say this was one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen. Immediately after the movie begins, I start to see red flags. We’re shown scenes that were shot outside the perspective of a character, meaning the movie is not found footage, and some low budget music starts playing over the scene. Who decided it would be better to film this as a movie instead of found footage? I don’t often say this, but the whole charm of the first movie was its grittiness and realistic feel, and when you take that aspect away it really reveals the amateur technique of the filmmakers. You can get away with odd camera angles and poorly edited segways in a found footage movie because people don’t expect found footage to look professional. If you’re going to step outside the realm of found footage into professional horror movie then you better have the skills to back it up.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes with the porcelain girl in the first movie, this one seemed lackluster and dull. The makeup or effects on her looked cheap and rushed, especially in comparison to the first movie, which presumably had a lower budget than this one. She’s obviously “hidden” in various scenes in the beginning of the film, kind of stuck in the crowd or behind fences, but the lack of effort on her costume is revealed in the ending of the movie when she inexplicably “helps” Brandy fake her death. I put “helps” in quotes because the entire thing turns out to be faked for the sake of promoting the very same group that kidnapped them in the first movie, which means there was nothing for Brandy to worry about. So if that’s true, then why give her the gun and splatter pack? Moreover, if there was supposed to be a check in the box instead of a gun, does that mean the Blue Skeleton group just kept the check? I know it seems like I’m going on different tangents here but I’m just trying to wrap my head around the weird and utterly disappointing ending. Let’s move on.
The majority of the film takes place at various outdoor “haunts” such as haunted hayrides and zombie runs and zombie festivals – even a zombie eating contest. This is due to the fact that Brandy has refused to enter another haunted house on their trip, and said she will only participate in the events that take place outside. That might sound interesting but none of that crap is scary in the least and it’s not what I want to see, especially after the incredible haunted houses from the first movie. Mind you, the team does still stop at the occasional haunted house so the rest of the team can go through them, but Brandy stays behind most of the time. In between the team stopping at these events, we’re shown awkward scenes of a short person wearing a skeleton mask who apparently sees the world through a blue tint. This is insinuated to be a member of the group that kidnapped the team in the first film, following them around and recording their movements. It’s mostly during these poorly shot scenes that we’re shown what to expect later on.
These guys really had something with the first movie, and when you put your soul and effort into a movie it does really shine through – and when you don’t, that comes through as well. People say all the time that movie franchises only make sequels to profit from the success of the first film, and that’s mostly true, but at least put forth the effort that your fans have come to expect from the bar you set in the original. That’s all I ask.
This movie is…
Let’s just pretend they all died in the first movie.
Cheers and goodnight.