Director: Gerard Johnstone
Writers: Gerard Johnstone
Cast : Stars: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Mystery
Horror movies have this knack of embodying the bests of diverse genres. Often done to good effect but lately been plagued by rehashed and derivative content, they have stagnated a bit since the early 2000s. All’s not glum for perhaps the most reliably profitable genre in filmmaking as genuine and original pieces of work are in resurgence. While a lot of praise has to be heaped on the Arri Asters and Sophia Takals of today, we are looking at a far less viewed entry in the genre that deserves a cult status in its own right. An indie flick nevertheless, with production values rivalling big studio contemporaries, Housebound is a 106-minute thrill ride laced with earthy humour and spooks all the way.
Reminiscent of the Hitchcockian masterpiece Rear Window and it’s modern take Disturbia, the movie takes pride in poking fun at conventional horror tropes with brazenly paced wry humour throughout the runtime. The characters are vivid, clumsy, and most assiduously relatable, and not the dumbo bimbos, the average horror movie fleshes them out to be.
Morgana O’Reilly as the protagonist has a lot going for her adorable albeit finicky presence, as she finds herself in house arrest following the events of failure of a petty crime. Adjudicated into lockdown with a mother she shares a tumultuous relationship with, and a stepdad she has no regard for whatsoever. Yet there is a striking case to vouch for her as she goes about investigating her mother’s claims of the house being haunted. The slew of supporting characters lighten up the not so dilly dally atmosphere by easing the tension with their comedic overtures. Miriam, the mother and Amos, the adorable security agent in charge of ensuring Kylie’s house arrest, add gravitas to an already impressive setup.
The plot has a lot going for it with a premise hastened by paranormal heebie-jeebies unto gripping suspense – spewing jolts. This is not a movie to go blithely about its ways and is surely not for people who like their movies slow and mellow. Despite mostly featuring scenes within the confines of the house (House-“bound”, says much eh?), there’s much air in direction to not suffocate with a lack of space. Made on a minuscule budget, even for a horror movie, the cinematography is no less than that of your next-door Conjuring film.
Subtly edited and eruditely framed, Housebound is a must-watch even for viewers who are not a fan of the genre. The constant bickering between the characters in itself is something to be enjoyed, as they go on about the whodunit at the centre of the story.
It is funny, kickass, spooky, and for good measure bloody bloody.
Verdict: 6/7 stars