New Zealand’s niche genre of Horror-Comedy is back in full swing, with the excellent What We Do In The Shadows released late last year, and Deathgasm on its way too, Housebound raises the bar even higher for what we expect from these funny and gore-loving Kiwis.
Housebound stars Morgana O’Reilly as Kylie, a disengaged youth placed under house arrest with her dithering mother (Rima Te Wiata) in a strange house. After trying to jack a cashpoint, this in a long stream of misdemeanors provokes the judge into trying to create a sense of stability for young Kylie, but it quickly materialises that perhaps she would have been better off in a Young Offenders institute. Noises in the house, strange things happening and paranoia begins to play a huge role in Kylie’s stay at home, as an investigation gets underway to resolve what’s causing these surreal events.
Writer & Director Gerard Johnstone has done a fantastic job with this film; while it is introduced early on that perhaps not is all as it seems in the house, he has been selective in what information to reveal. The uncertainty, unknowing and creepiness is balanced with impeccable comic timing, and that blunt semi-sarcastic dialogue that New Zealand comedies pull off so well.
The skeptical yet enthusiastic parole officer Amos (Glen-Paul Waru) provides the deadpan delivery required to counteract the hysteria taking place in the house, even if he does seem a little odd himself. Combined with a few jump scares, brooding tension and many viable options for the solution to the mystery of the ‘haunted’ house, this is a movie that will always keep you guessing until the end.
Housebound is a difficult film to categorise, but that is no bad thing. Its tale is more akin to that of a thriller, somewhat of a mystery-comedy with a general sense of unease. It’s trimmed the fat from formulaic horror traits, replaced it with the best aspects from some of my favourite genres, and has consequently managed to create something unique, and extremely enjoyable.
Housebound is available on Netflix US, GooglePlay, Amazon Video & Sky Store.