Movie Review - Housebound
New Zealand writer-director Gerard Johnstone's feature-film debut, Housebound, is a completely unpredictable horror-comedy that is both laugh-out-loud funny and extremely scary. The two elements form a rare symbiosis in which the dry humor compliments the white-knuckle tension built by the director, without ever getting in the way. It is a well orchestrated piece of film-making, that delivers constant surprises. And with engaging and hilarious performances by the leading actors and supporting cast alike, this is a movie that I would highly recommend. Now available on VOD and iTunes. Enjoy!!
After a hilariously botched attempt to steal the money out of an ATM Machine, would-be-thief, Kylie Bucknell is arrested. In lieu of prison time, the young Kylie is sentenced to eight-months of house arrest at her mother Miriam's home, much to her dismay. At first she dismisses her mother's claims that the house is haunted, but after several strange occurrences Kylie wonders if her mom might be right after all.
The entire cast provides for some genuine laughs, but none so much as the two main actresses. Morgana O'Reilly is tough as nails, and she sells Kylie's sarcastic wit and exasperated jabs with ease. Not to mention, she gets to deliver some of the funniest lines in the film while avoiding playing the helpless victim. But Rima Te Miata damn near steals the film as Kylie's mother, Miriam. Her sweet but simple demeanor makes her charming obliviousness absolutely hysterical. But credit also needs to be paid to the writer-director for not only penning one of the best horror-comedies I have seen to date, but one that balances the two genre's perfectly. The dialogue never loses its' sense of humor even as the tension begins to skyrocket. And as a director, Johnstone also provides a striking visual narrative to push the story forward at a continuously escalating pace. His ability to frame shots is superb and the entire tone of the film is pitch-perfect. There was a brief period somewhere in between the first and second act that started to drag a little, but just when my interest started to wane, I was immediately pulled back in and hooked. I recommend you give this one a try. It's available on iTunes and VOD and worth the price of admission. Enjoy.
- Leo Francis