Synopsis: A young woman is forced to return to her childhood home after being placed under house arrest, where she suspects that something evil may be lurking.
Stars: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Ross Harper, Cameron Rhodes, Ryan Lampp
Director: Gerald Johnstone
Running Length: 107 minutes
TMMM Score: (8.5/10)
Review: Sometimes you have to go digging through the garbage to find treasure. Such is the case with Housebound, a movie you may have passed over on Netflix but should add to your queue without hesitation. A real gem of a horror escapade, it succeeds not only on the merit of its clever writing and directing but with its delightfully wicked sense of humor. Chills are nearly equally matched with laughs, resulting in solid entertainment that should keep you more than engaged throughout.
Years spent hanging around with the wrong people have finally caught up to Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) when she’s arrested for attempting to steal from an ATM. Sentenced to eight months of house arrest, she is required to serve her time under the watchful eye of her dotty mom (Rima Te Wiata) and checked out stepdad (Ross Harper) in her creepy childhood home. Not long after she arrives she starts to believe her mom’s warnings that the house is haunted and teams up with Amos, a security bloke (Glen-Paul Waru) assigned to monitor her ankle bracelet, to get to the bottom of who (or what) may be lurking under the floorboards and behind the walls.
Writer/director Gerard Johnstone has dreamt-up a whopper for a first feature. Creating great atmosphere and setting a strong tone from his actors, Johnstone has a lot of tricks up his sleeves that he reveals at precisely the right moment. There’s a mystery to be solved here and not only is it totally twisted it feels fully thought out. There’s a wacky Scooby-Doo element to Kylie and Amos’s sleuthing and bickering banter and Johnstone really nails the ending with a master’s touch.
Housebound is another in a too-short line of horror comedies that have made their way to our shores from New Zealand. Like his countryman Peter Jackson who first cut his teeth on the gonzo cult classic Dead Alive, Johnstone has put a deranged spin on the haunted house genre film with superior results. Find this one and give it a shot – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed you did.