The Houses October Built 2 (2017)


USA. 2017.


Director – Bobby Roe, Screenplay – Zack Andrews & Bobby Roe, Producers – Zack Andrews & Steven Schneider, Photography – Ricardo Sanchez, Additional Photography – Cesar A. Martinez & Andrew Strahorn, Music – Steven Yeaman. Production Company – RLJE Films/Foreboding Films


Brandy Schaefer (Brandy), Mikey Roe (Mikey), Bobby Roe (Bobby), Zack Andrews (Zack), Jeff Larson (Jeff)


The video footage of Brandy buried in a coffin has become a sensation on YouTube. Bobby, Mikey, Zack and Jeff have received money offers to conduct promotional tours of other Halloween haunts but a still traumatised Brandy refuses to return. The others set out in the RV touring Halloween haunts again but soon find they are being turned away because Brandy is not with them and the haunt operators consider her the real star. She is persuaded to come back on the promise of more money. As they continue on, focusing on different types of Halloween shows, they begin to hear rumours of the new extreme attraction known as Hellbent.

The Houses October Built (2014) was a Found Footage horror built around the idea of a group of people conducting a tour of Halloween haunts who find themselves targeted by disturbing figures that hide beneath the carnival show. I didn’t much like the film – it couldn’t seem to decide whether it was being documentary or a horror story and ended up as an unsatisfying blend of either. Now all of the principal creative talents have reunited for a sequel.

The Houses October Built 2 is essentially the same film as the first – the team gather to go on another tour of Halloween haunts; as they progress through the various locales, they become aware that people are stalking them. Indeed, the two films are so similar that it you could run scenes from either alongside and it would be impossible to tell the difference. I also had some issues with the idea of a sequel to The Houses That October Built. For one, the first film left most of the cast dragged off by psychopathic Halloween figures to a fate unknown and Brandy buried in a coffin. In order to have everybody back for a sequel, this has to pretend that the sinister Blue Skeleton figures were merely harmless players in an extreme haunt who just let them go after the events of the first film. Even more irritatingly, the end of this film tries to have its cake and eat it too as we see Blue Skeleton up to their same old tricks again.

The film at least tries to introduce a bunch of new haunts and some of these are fascinating in their own right. Especially impressive is one attraction where participants engage in a zombie run through a course spread over a massive area that includes a mocked up collapsed city, even a subway, The sequel seem less interested in being a horror film and this element only emerges in about the last third, while the rest of the show could play as a straight documentary. The final Hellbent haunt does push the characters through some grim extremes – where we see members of the group being waterboarded, set alight, hung and limbs severed – which pushes The Houses October Built 2 into the arena of Torture Porn. On the other hand, the film falls down at a contrived ending [PLOT SPOILERS] that requires flashbacks to explain everything and has both the organisers and participants fooling each other about what is going on. Given that Brandy is so traumatised by her previous experience, why would the rest of the group, unless they are unfeeling sadists, contrive an even more extreme experience for her again and fool her into it? Equally would anybody participating in a set-up seriously believe that people in a haunt would give a person a gun loaded with live ammunition?

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