**** out of 5
Article first published as Movie Review: ‘Housebound’ on Blogcritics.
With horror-comedy, sometimes the kitchen sink method just works. If
you rely too heavily on one aspect over the other, it either stops being
scary and is even less funny. When it does work, it’s a fantastic
concoction. While most would hold the likes of Scream as the best of the bunch, they probably haven’t seen Peter Jackson’s early works: Dead Alive and Bad Taste. Most recently, we’ve been treated to the likes of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, The Cabin in the Woods, and You’re Next. The one thing these films need to be is a wild ride, and writer/director Gerard Johnstone’s debut Housebound (now playing in select theaters, VOD, and iTunes) finds just the right balance across the board.
Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is having a bad night. While attempting to
rob an ATM, her cohort has knocked himself unconscious, and she winds up
high centering the getaway car. Sentenced to eight-months of house
arrest, Kylie is sent to live with her overbearing mum Miriam (Rima Te
Wiata) and step-father Graeme (Ross Harper). Straddled with an ankle
monitor, Kylie quickly learns that Miriam thinks her house is haunted
after overhearing her call in to a paranormal radio show. It’s not soon
after that Kylie begins to also hear bumps in the night, and she may
have more to fear than land lines and dial-up internet.
Housebound finds fantastic ways to spoof the standard
haunted house film while finding new ground. And just when you think you
have it all figured out, director Johnstone throws another curveball at
the audience. O’Reilly gets a lot of mileage out of simple facial
expressions as she becomes more bewildered with the circumstance,
ghostbusting security expert Amos (Glen-Paul Waru) gets plenty of
hilarious one-liners, and Miriam puts her deadpan delivery to brilliant
use. While the ending seems to keep going and going, don’t worry, it all
winds up fitting together perfectly by the time the credits roll.
There’s a nice mystery abound and Housebound is a hilarious
goosebump-inducing funhouse of a film, perfect for the Halloween season.
It is now playing in select theaters, as well as VOD and iTunes.
Picture courtesy XLrator Media