26 Oct 2014

Review - 'Housebound' is a Fresh Horror-Comedy That Delivers

Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam - a well-intentioned blabbermouth who's convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam's superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small-town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she's inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who's less than happy about the new living arrangement.

Horror comedies are something of an acquired taste - they either work or they don't it's as simple as that, and depending on whether you find it funny or not, you will either turn against it or adore it. Housebound is simply one of those films. The difference here however is that it is much better than your average horror hybrid; much better. Housebound is not your average horror comedy, in fact it is almost entirely the complete opposite. This is a crowd-pleasing Kiwi affair that should both tickle the funny bone and shiver the spine - at certain moments of course.

Not quite holding the same entertainment value as the likes of Zombieland or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, yet still maintaining the same quality of narrative - Housebound successfully twists a conventional haunted house idea into a bold and striking trope conversion that done for the haunted house sub-genre what Scream done for slashers, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil done for the hillbilly horror and what The Cabin in the Woods done for the whole fucking genre! It gleefully plays around with the genres conventions, tossing them back and forth between expectation and unpredictability, creating a film that fools you into believing you are smarter, when it is Housebound that is out-smarting you. It's clever without the constant reminder, and is incredibly sassy without the frequent remark. That's the sort of movie Housebound is; a smart one that isn't afraid of letting it bubble and boil rather than pop and explode.

Boasted by some brilliant performances, O'Reilly and Te Wiata completely dominate the show as the delinquent daughter Kylie and the fussy mother Miriam, both pulling off a fantastic chemistry that works in their favor both on and off screen. O'Reilly is full of sass and attitude, again breaking the convention of the stereotypical "pretty and perfect" leading lady which is extremely refreshing to see. Te Wiata portrays the protective yet slightly idiotic mother well as her character becomes the main attraction. When paired together on screen, their scenes are both catty and frequently funny which highlights both actresses abilities to pull this off on screen which (most of the the time) they succeed in doing. Although Housebound is very much driven by its inspiring narrative, it takes its time with developing its characters which in the modern horror genre is passed by too many times. We actually care about these characters which only heightens the effect when their life becomes in jeopardy.

Although the middle act falls victim to some of the cliches it had been mocking, Housebound closes off with a fantastically entertaining final act that delivers on both gore and gags. It successfully concludes the twists in the narrative that had been building up before, leaving for 20 minutes of pure chaotic, gory fun. Housebound never looses its personality and key selling point, and although some of the gags fell flat and its tendencies to retread on familiar ground were lazy, it ultimately turned out to be a delightfully surprising and gleefully twisted haunted house movie that will have horror fans raving and everyone sick of the cliche haunted house movie wanting more.

Housebound proves to be a surprisingly smart and gleefully fun haunted house mash-up that puts Kiwi Horror back on the map. Move over America there is new horror comedy in town.


2014 / 107 mins / Comedy, Haunted House / 15

Director: Gerard Johnston

Writer: Gerard Johnston

Stars: Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glenn-Paul Waru


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  2. Dear Horror Blogger
    We worked the sound on a few horror trailers this year ..
    Dark Tower, IT, new BFI cut of Silence of the lambs.. + a few more 47 meters down etc
    and we wanted to make a horror sound pack for as we were very inspired. so we made one for free.
    This horror themed sound collection

    we don't really have experience with distributing sounds to the general public.. as we have never sold them to the public..
    so we wanted to share these for free..
    we were hoping you would be able to share them on your amazing Facebook / blog .social pages.
    for the community.
    we made a small promo film to go with it ..
    hope it darkly resonates with you
    best wishes



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