When this started, I thought it was going to be an actual documentary on the haunted houses that crop up around Halloween. Then it was revealed that it was going to be a found footage style movie where a bunch of people act like idiots in a dangerous situation because camera. Not gonna lie, I was super disappointed that it wasn’t just the documentary. Most of the best parts of the film are just the characters dicking around at haunted houses and interacting with the actors.
The main conceit of this is that a group of friends have rented an RV and they are going cross country to find the scariest haunts around. They have a bunch of cameras and are filming everything because…I have no idea. I think one of them briefly talks about wanting to document what is going on but it’s never really said that this is a documentary that they are doing. More just that they want to document that yes, indeed, they did go into a haunted house and have a dude jump out at them. They begin searching for a mythical extreme haunt called Blue Skeleton and as they do so, more and more fucked up things start happening to them. Such as people breaking into the RV to film them, getting surrounded by carnies, and generally just harassed by dudes in clown masks.
One thing that always ends up being an issue for me with found footage movies is that there is almost never a reason for there to still be anyone filming. In this movie, when the main group ends up finding the Blue Skeleton, they people behind it tell them that they have to film everything that is happening but give no reason and, indeed, have no reason for this. This may be the flimsiest excuse for staying within the found footage genre I’ve seen in a while. They also end up having cameras all over the RV and even on the outside. Now, I get maybe wanting to document your rad road trip, sure. However, the idea that in order to document all these haunts you go to that you will need 7 different cameras on your RV is silly as fuck and only serves to make it so that we can have spooky shots from inside when they are getting messed with.
As for the scares in the movie, I can’t ding it too much for the use of jump scare since these haunts are basically just jump scare generators and most of the footage is them walking through various ones. It does occasionally have some good tense moments in it, like the scene of the guy in a mask that is walking around their RV filming them while they sleep. That was a good, creepy moment. They end up making it more supernatural than just “some guys are messing with us” though and that felt kind of weak to me. Instead of it being some weirdos trying to scare these people that are supposedly looking for the ultimate scare; it ends up being like there is some magical teleporting group of costumed individuals that may or may not end up trying to for reals kill them in the end.
In all, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be from the first several minutes. That being said, it wasn’t particularly amazing either. I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5 with most of the interest in this for me coming from the fact that these haunted houses are just interesting phenomenons.
Favorite thing in the movie: The costume for the “creepy doll” actor was really well done.
Least favorite thing: The ending makes no sense regardless of if you think it’s still just part of a haunt or if you think it’s like actual murder carnies.
Thanks Devlin for the suggestion.
Man, that sucks; I would totally watch a documentary about Halloween haunted-house attractions. That would be fascinating!
Well there’s Hell House, though it’s specifically about those Christian “Scare you straight to Jesus” haunted houses that are a thing in the Midwest.
I saw this on Netflix a while back but never got around to watching it. I’m glad I didn’t, it doesn’t sound like my kind of movie at all.
Have you seen Mr. Jones? It’s also a found footage movie on Netflix, but I enjoyed it a lot. I typically hate found footage, but thought it had a suitably different topic and did some interesting things with the concept to justify itself. I’d be interesting in reading your thoughts if you do see it.