Director: Gerard Johnstone
Cast: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru
Screenplay: Gerard Johnstone
107 mins. Not Rated.
HouseBound is an interesting little horror comedy about Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly), a troubled young woman who is now under house arrest at her childhood home with her mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata), a superstitious woman who believes that the house has something supernatural about it. Though Kylie dismisses these thoughts as the ramblings of a bored old woman, she begins to hear noises in the night and starts to suspect that all may not be what it seems in the rickety old house.
HouseBound was fairly well-received at SXSW last year for its unique blending of horror and comedy, and while I mostly agree, the film takes far too long to get to there. The whole beginning of the film takes too much time setting up the concept and introducing characters. The scary moments are scary and the funny moments are mostly funny, but they don’t play off each other like they should until the final act of the film. The movie felt mostly confused to me as I don’t think they knew which direction to go for some of the material, and thus, it doesn’t land all that well. That is, until the ending. The finale of the film works quite well and does leave one with a good impression.
The performances are good enough for the cast, and the real laughs come from the solid cinematography of Gerard Johnstone, who knows where to place the shot to get the most homage from it.
Looking back on it, I feel like HouseBound has enough promise to warrant the recently announced US remake, and I feel like it’s a film that may benefit from it. The story works and, given some time to learn from the mistakes, it can be done (although perhaps Hollywood could leave well enough alone and just make something fresh and new, but whatever).
-Kyle A. Goethe