Bobby Roe’s “The Houses October Built” was a solid Halloween entry that mixed a documentary with a horror mystery quite well. The follow up years later, practices the very same formula but further explores the back story of its villains “Blue Skeleton” from the first film. Are they evil? Are they anti-heroes? Are they a cult? Are they Halloween fanatics that work to the extremes of Banksy? The first film was a surprise indie horror hit and the sequel seeks to touch on the same narrative ebbs and flows, while also packing in some refreshing twists and turns that I very much appreciated. Like the first film, “The Houses October Built 2” is partly a documentary and partly a mystery horror film that takes off directly from the first film.
After the main character is thrown in to a car trunk and driven off, the film begins with one of the “Blue Skeleton” workers digging a coffin. Approached by an officer at gun point, much to our surprise she’s not in the coffin and upon the breaking bulletin of her kidnapping, which was streamed online, she’s freed and allowed to go home by her captors. A year later, she’s now an infamous internet celebrity known as “The Coffin Girl,” and not learning their lesson, her friends from the first film approach her anxiously trying to bring her on board for their second documentary about horror haunts. A year later the scene of horror haunts has changed drastically and they want to bank on her cache as an internet celebrity. Despite her incessant protests, they agree to pay her big time if she tours various haunts.
But things go awry when she realizes she might be getting stalked once again by the skull faced haunted house workers. Once again, avoiding all logic, these friends go deep in to America looking for the most extreme haunted houses and find exactly what they’re looking for. Director Bobby Roe focuses a lot more on the characters this time out, with protagonist Brandy overcoming the trauma of her last experience and mustering the courage to go back in to the scene. These are classic horror characters guided by greed who get their inevitable comeuppance, and director Roe finds a way to twist the conventions once again to offer up a new turn of the screws. Director Roe focuses a lot on modern horror haunts once again, exploring how big things have changed in the last three years. Once again the art of the haunted house has evolved, and there are so many oddities available for those that seek a scare or two.
One fun sequence finds the group in an art exhibit that’s also a surrealist haunted house that provides more of a chuckle than a fright. “The Houses That October Built 2” explores a young woman taken on a terrifying ride with monsters, but we’re never quite sure who the monsters are until the very end. I enjoy the fascination with Blue Skeleton, and the way the world has grown beyond carnivals that entertain, and built carnivals hell bent on scaring us to our core. “The Houses October Built 2” is another solid horror novelty and if there is a third and final film I hope we can learn more about Blue Skeleton and their purpose.