A Good Horror Film You've Probably Never Seen

Hello, friends. Guess what? This blog post has instructions. They aren’t hard to follow, but they’re pivotal to the full point I’m trying to convey with this bit of rambling. So here we go.

Step 1: Watch the trailer below for the horror film The Houses October Built.

Step 2: Read the rest of the post. (See, I told you these instructions were easy.)

About a month ago, Author Joe Hill (NOS4A2, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box) wrote an incredibly well-written and concise argument exposing potential flaws in the popular movie-rating website Rotten Tomatoes, and detailed how he felt the site was perhaps doing more harm than good, keeping moviegoers from watching films they might very well enjoy. The newly released Sinister 2 was the catalyst for the post. You can read Joe’s post here. It’s definitely worth your time.

So, essentially I’m now piggybacking off Joe’s sentiments, and using a recent experience of my own to verify that what he’s talking about makes a hell of a lot of sense.

If you were a good boy or girl and followed Step 1 of this post, and you’re a fan of horror films, I think there’s a good chance you made it to the end of the trailer for The Houses October Built and thought to yourself: That looks really good, I want to watch that. I can think of two solid reasons you may think otherwise (1: You’re adamantly against “found-footage” films, or 2: Clowns, or people in masks, scare the ever-loving shit out of you and there’s no fucking way you’re going to subject yourself to that movie), but otherwise I feel most fans of the genre would think the film is worth checking out.

Here’s the Rotten Tomatoes score:

Now, to go even deeper with this, aside from the Critics’ score I’m astounded that the Audience Rating is even lower at an abysmal 31%.  Saywhaaa?

I watched this movie Friday night, and I freaking loved it. It’s got a few dry spots, but from the usage of “shaky-cam”, to the backwoods Texas and Louisiana settings, to the retrospective look at some of America’s best “haunts” (haunted house attractions) and those who work them, to the downright fucking terrifying and horrific ending, I think this might be a “found footage” film to proudly sit on the shelf next to The Blair Witch Project. Because it felt real.  The actors have great chemistry—a very natural series of interactions—and very few things ever feel forced. It’s not perfect, but to me the film just works on all the levels it was supposed to.

Now, my confession: I watched the trailer for The Houses October Built in October of 2014. I was excited for it, and even showed the trailer to my younger sister who is also a fan of horror (or at least turning on a horror film and then covering her eyes and hiding behind a pillow through 75% of it. Hi, Molly!). But guess what? The reviews started to roll in, and I took notice. And it took me until now, discovering that the film was available to watch on Netflix, and me having nothing better to do on a Friday night at home by myself while my wife was at dinner with a friend, to finally hit the Play button and watch one hell of a good horror movie.

I let the opinions of others delay my own enjoyment. I put a damper on my own excitement because of what others thought. And it was a mistake. I never stopped to think of whether the majority of the critics who dissed the film were non-fans of horror. I never stopped to wonder what kind of people made up the Audience Rating. What if they were all fans of the Saw or Hostel franchises and considered anything less than gore-porn a non-scary waste of time?

Bottom line: We are each unique individuals with our own brains to make our own decisions.  Maybe we should rely on our own instincts more and discover things for ourselves instead of having others do it for us.

The Houses October Built is a great horror film. But … that’s only my opinion. You can form your own.