The Houses October Built and Animal are currently available on instant Netflix
The Houses October Built (2014) – Not rated
“Five friends hit the road to find the best gimmicky Halloween haunted house, but soon a terrifyingly real evil begins to hound their steps.”
Ugh. Found footage again? Seriously? As is becoming more and more prevalent, the found footage angle is just sheer laziness. At the end of the film, if you bother to think of it at all, you will wonder how this could possibly be found footage.
The idea behind The Houses October Built is at least sound and novel. A group of friends video various hardcore haunted attractions, always looking for the most extreme. This allows them to spend the first two acts exploring the current state of those attractions before turning to the obvious in the third act.
Sadly, while the attractions are interesting, the material is not handled in a very interesting way. The entire movie is a very closed affair. Bobby Roe is a writer and the director as well as playing ‘Bobby’. Zack Andrews is a writer and producer and plays ‘Zack’. Jeff Larson, surprise, plays ‘Jeff’ as well as being a first assistant director and writer.
This 2014 horror movie is based on a 2011 documentary of the same name, featuring much of the same talent. The horror movie isn’t bad but I expect that the documentary is better since those are the aspects that work best in the horror movie.
Animal (2014) – Not rated
“When plans for a weekend getaway hit a dead end, friends find themselves in unfamiliar territory, pursued by a menacing and bloodthirsty predator.”
Spam in a cabin. The only easier horror setting than young people in an RV (The Houses October Built) is young people in a secluded cabin. I love creature features but Animal plays things so generically and by the numbers that it sucks a lot of life out of the feature.
I suppose the title would be the easiest indicator of the level of effort they went to. Keke Palmer, who plays Alissa in the film, also wrote and performed the title track, Animal. The monster is interesting enough, the feature is well-paced, and ends at an hour and twenty without overstaying its welcome, apart from a failed ending.
If you need an utterly generic monster fix, Animal will fit the bill – you just won’t remember it a week from now.