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The Houses October Built 2 (2017)

RLJ Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/2/2018

All Ratings out of





Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/2/2018

Despite my stoic and dour countenance (you can't see it, but take my word for it), I tend to be an optimist. I'm a realist and I understand that things aren't always going to be perfect, but I do hope for the best. Which would explain my decision to watch The Houses October Built 2. I did not like 2014's The Houses October Built, as I was taken aback by how it squandered a really good idea for a movie. And yet, as the team behind the original film had returned for the unnecessary sequel, I had high hopes that they'd learned from their mistakes, seen the flaws in the first film and done things right the second time. They didn't.

The Houses October Built 2 picks up right where the first film left off. Friends Bobby Roe, Mikey Roe, Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, and Jeff Larson (all of the "actors" appear under their real names) have been seeking the ultimate Halloween haunted house attraction, which lead them to look for a group called The Blue Skeleton. But, instead of being a haunted house, The Blue Skeleton were a cult-like organization which kidnapped the group and gave them near-death experiences, with Brandy being buried alive and then left in the middle of nowhere. A year has passed and Bobby, Mikey, Randy, and Jeff are ready to hit the road again. As their previous experiences got them publicity, they are now being paid to tour haunted attractions. But, Brandy is still traumatized and doesn't want to join them. When they guys convince that they will only be doing safe things like hayrides, she agrees. However, as the group makes their way cross-country, they hear rumors about something called Hellbent and decide that they must find it.

I've said this before and I'll say it again -- Do you relish the idea of watching someone else's home movies? I don't. The notion of sitting through footage of someone I don't know doing things in which I wasn't involved sounds terrible. For a long time, that argument was a cogent one. But, the age of YouTube has changed all of that. Now, people (especially millennials) spend hours watching videos of strangers doing all sorts of things. If that sounds appealing to you, then you'll love The Houses October Built 2. As in the first film, we are treated to footage of the group going through haunted houses and, as stated above, going on a haunted hayride. Didn't they realize after the first film how boring this footage is? And, as if the shaky found footage approach of the movie isn't nauseating enough, we have to deal with the constant strobe lights inside these attractions. Watching unlikable characters do something that you truly have to be there to appreciate is mind-numbing.

Just as the first film featured these kinds of moments, the rest of the movie is a carbon-copy as well. When the group is not in a haunted house, they are in their RV having mundane conversations. Again, none of these people are the least bit appealing and their chatter goes nowhere. Coupled with the fact that it's basically the same talks as heard in the first movie, and we are truly on the road to disaster. All of this is peppered with the "plot". No one in the group comes across as a genius, but are we supposed to believe that after what happened in the first film with their run in with The Blue Skeleton that they would then pursue another shadowy goal. This is all explained in the finale -- which is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is -- but it's still hard to swallow.

If the makers of The Houses October Built 2 can repeat themselves, then so can I, as I'll echoes my sentiments from my earlier review. Examining the variety and appeal of Halloween attractions is a great idea this would work much better as a documentary, if the group could keep it from being about them, which they can't. The only appealing parts of The Houses October Built 2 are the ones which play more like a travelogue, as the zombie pub crawl they visit looks interesting, and the zombie 5K which is seen here could have been the subject of its own separate documentary. But, we are forced to sit through a boring plot and yet another weak found footage movie (and one in which some of the footage doesn't make any sense).

The Houses October Built 2 really bothered me with the term "haunts" on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of RLJ Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 16 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source materials. We are treated to the sort of "problems" which go with found footage films, such as shots which are out of focus, static and rolling pictures -- none of which are related to the transfer. The colors look fine in the daytime shots, but some of the nighttime scenes are a bit dark. The level of detail is adequate, as is the depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The haunted house scenes offer some noticeable stereo and surround sound effects, as we can detect sounds coming from off-screen. These moments also bring us some mild subwoofer effects.

The Houses October Built 2 Blu-ray Disc contains a few extra features. We get four DELETED SCENES which run about 7 minutes. Each of these are dialogue scenes which don't add any new action. "Uncut Projection Scene" (5 minutes) gives us a look at all of what Brandy saw in the finale. We get the MUSIC VIDEO for "Halloween Spooks" (4 minutes), which is simply made up of footage from the movie. "Portrait of a Scare Actor 2" (7 minutes) is simply a reel of stills from the movie.

Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long