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.Written by
With a few exemptions I'm not a huge fan of horror comedies as they are rarely scary nor really that funny. What I like about Housebound is that it is first and foremost a horror film, which also happens to be funny. The humor develops naturally out of the situations and the characters. The gags don't feel shoehorned in and it isn't a parody of the horror genre. And in a genre where characterisation often comes as an afterthought, the characters here feel well rounded and very real.
The performances are fantastic all round. Morgana O'Reilly as Kylie is one tough cookie of a scream queen. After participating in a failed ATM robbery she gets sentenced to eight months house arrest at her mother's rambling country house, which her mother suspects may be haunted. The fact that she is trapped in the house with her ineffectual stepdad and her blabbermouth of a mother, makes Kylie even more cranky than she already was and the fact that something spooky stalks the house at night isn't helping her mood either. In a great cast the stand out is Rima Te Wiata as Kylie's none too bright but well intentioned mother. There will be people complaining about unlikeable characters but who cares when they are as fun and as well drawn as they are here. Nobody strains to give a comedy performance, in best Antipodean tradition the humor is totally deadpan.
The set-up is similar to the forgettable Famke Janssen horror flick 100 Feet but this film does the premise of being under house arrest in a haunted house justice. If the film has one flaw then it's one typical of many a first film: Housebound runs on a little too long and would have made a perfect 90 minute film. It takes a while to get going. But that's a small complaint when the film gets so much right. The film really hits its stride in the last third, when all hell breaks lose and the plot twists and turns. Best horror film of 2014.
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