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HOUSEBOUND (review)

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Written and Directed by Gerard Johnstone

Starring Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata and Glen-Paul Waru

Gerard Johnstone’s HOUSEBOUND is a frightening delight for audiences. The Kiwi film generously blends horror and comedy together, resulting in a hell of a good time, with enough jump scares to keep you on the edge of your seat. In fact, you may even be knocked right out of it.

After a disastrous attempt to rob an ATM machine, Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is forced to go back to her childhood home for eight months of house arrest. Instead of making good use of her time, Kylie lounges around and finds many ways to upset her kind mother (Rima Te Wiata), who simply wants to watch Coronation Street. After a few strange occurrences – and the influence of her superstitious mother – Kylie becomes convinced that an evil spirit is haunting her house. Trouble is, she can’t leave. With the help of her parole officer Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), who also happens to be a ghost hunter, Kylie decides to investigate the origins of the spirit haunting her house.

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Despite being about a half an hour too long, HOUSEBOUND is a thoroughly entertaining horror/comedy. It plays to the comedy more often than the horror, but that’s nothing to complain about. The film showcases the talent of some great actors who have yet to make their way to Holloywood. Among the highlights is lead O’Reilly, who plays the protagonist as a tough-as-nails rebel who won’t let the threat of an evil spirit scare her away. At one point, she tells her mother that if she sees the ghost, she’ll knock it in the face. Kylie is a great heroine compared to those of more recent horror films. At no point does Johnstone put her in the “damsel in distress” position that we are far too often exposed to. Much of the comedy in the film is brought on by Waru, whose Amos is perhaps one of the most charming characters in recent horror fare. The rest of the jokes come from Johnstone’s clever script.

While some of the gags may feel familiar, HOUSEBOUND is guaranteed to keep audiences happily entertained. It’s rare that a film from New Zealand is given the opportunity to gather an audience internationally and HOUSEBOUND shows us why that’s a shame.

4 sheep

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