Movie Review: Housebound

@TigersMS78 gives Housebound his tick of approval…

What if I told you that What We Do In The Shadows was the second best horror comedy to come out of New Zealand in 2014? You’d probably say I was lying but the good news is I’m not and Housebound takes that mantle. A terrific haunted house film that plays it perfectly for both laughs, scares and the occasionally gory setpiece, this film has a more refined, pre-hollywood Peter Jackson feel about it and that is in no way a bad thing.

Housebound tells the story of Kylie Bucknell who is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention for the last in a long line of minor crimes. With her mother and her stepfather, Kylie has to endure the sentence of boredom…but when she becomes aware of the whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her mother’s overactive imagination or if there really is a ghost in the house.

A lot of Housebound’s success comes from the strength of the writing. Writer & director Gerard Johnstone has created fully developed characters, all of them with proper arcs and not only that but he managed to squeeze in some really funny stuff and some scary stuff too.

The film takes a risk introducing as to Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) as she is in the middle of a bungled ATM smash and grab, at first she is highly unlikable and for a time it threatens to turn you off the whole film thankfully that isn’t the case as the film moves along. Her interactions go from horribly caustic to…endearingly caustic as her character develops. However everyone of the main players are excellent. Rima Te Wiata as Kylie’s long suffering mother is so great, her one liners and delivery are spot, whilst the home detention security guard and amateur ghost hunter Amos, is fantastic too.

Johnstone directs the film assuredly, pacing everything just right for maximum effect be it laughs or for a jump scare. He even manages to make the trope of a door mysterious opening into a hilarious scene, with the solution being an extreme measure only for a fantastic sight gag to be set as the punchline. For a directors first film, there is barely a mis-step.

Housebound is the best horror comedy in quite awhile and is probably on par with Shaun of the Dead in terms of quality. It is a great film, that delivers on what is promised and knows exactly how it’s going to do that. To praise this film anymore seems moot – Just go see it.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

Follow @TigersMS78 on twitter

Images: IMDb &

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