Day 14: Housebound

Housebound (2014)

You need to see Housebound.

Funny and scary, smartly written and confidently directed as to take full advantage of both, this is a film that makes few missteps and thoroughly entertains from beginning to end.

Gerard Johnstone writes and directs, though his brightest accomplishment may be casting because Morgana O’Reilly’s unflinching performance holds every moment of nuttiness together with brilliance.

O’Reilly plays Kylie, a bit of a bad seed who’s been remanded to her mother’s custody for 8 months of house arrest after a recent spate of bad luck involving an ATM and a boyfriend who’s not too accurate with a sledge hammer.

Unfortunately, the old homestead, it seems, is haunted. Almost against her will, she, her hilariously chatty mum (Rima Te Wiata) and her deeply endearing probation officer (Glen-Paul Waru) try to puzzle out the murder mystery at the heart of the haunting. Lunacy follows.

Kylie’s disdain for every single person and event in this film is beautifully animated – O’Reilly constantly looks as if she’s just smelled something foul. But her expressions also share those fleeting moments of regret that make her utterly, admirably human.

Good horror comedies are hard to come by, but Johnstone manages the tonal shifts magnificently. You’re nervous, you’re scared, you’re laughing, you’re hiding your face, you’re screaming – sometimes all at once. And everything leads up to a third act that couldn’t deliver better.

The film is so much fun it all but begs to be seen with a group.

Listen weekly to MaddWolf’s horror podcast FRIGHT CLUB. Do it!

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