After trying to rob an ATM machine Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is forced to move back to her mum’s home under house arrest. Kylie and her mum Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) already have a strained relationship, and Kylie is annoyed by her mum’s belief that the house is haunted. However when she starts experiencing strange occurrences in the house Kylie realises that maybe her mum is right after all.
This New Zealand horror comedy has a great premise and although it looks on the cheap side, it makes good use of its sparse sets, giving the film a nice claustrophobic feel. This of course perfectly mirrors Kylie’s own predicament as she cannot leave the premises of her mum’s house without her ankle bracelet going off. The film finds plenty of humour in Kylie’s situation and in the reversing the positions the sceptic and believer between Kylie and her mum. It also has fun finding the humour and horror in the mundane.
As well as being funny the film has plenty of creepy moments. The house looks like the kind of place that would be haunted and as Kylie creeps around the house there’s plenty of tension wondering whats around the corner. There’s also plenty of blood splatter and jump scares to satisfy horror fiends.
The protagonist Kylie is a grown woman who acts like a petulant teenager and so spiteful she won’t let her mum watch Coronation Street. While she’s definitely a brat, she’s also someone you do root for despite her unlikable behaviour. It helps that O’Reilly puts in a strong performance and works wonderfully with the rest of the cast especially Te Wiata and Glen-Paul Waru as Kylie’s ankle bracelet monitor Amos who is the Mulder to Kylie’s Scully, initially anyway.
Some may find it difficult to overcome its indie trappings, and I did get annoyed at the (luckily brief) foray into the over-used ‘is it’s all in her head’ subplot. However Housebound is a hidden gem that’s bound to give people a fun and spooky night in.
Rating 3.5/5 – frightening, silly and thoroughly enjoyable