Housebound review by Michelle Sommerville - Cinema Paradiso
From New Zealand comes a brilliant new horror/comedy film Housebound. Even though a lot of really great films come from this small island country, it has yet to truly make its mark on the world film stage, but it definitely has the talent to take it there. Housebound will give you a scare, then make you laugh. You can’t ask for much more.
Like other elements of this film, the story at first appears to be one we have seen before, but with a twist. Kylie Bucknell (played by Morgana O’Reilly) is a troublemaker. She is a young-adult that has yet to learn responsibility, and finds herself in front of a judge. Not only does he sentence her to eight months home detention, but she must serve it in her old family home, living with her quirky mother. Things go from bad to worse when Kylie can no longer disregard her mother’s fears, and they discover the house is indeed haunted by vengeful ghosts; and together with an amateur ghost hunter, they will fight to survive and reclaim the house.
The amount of remakes and sequels that flood the film industry drives me crazy. When you see something as different as Housebound, it is refreshing. The film is actually a feature debut for writer and director Gerard Johnstone, which shows that we need to let more new-comers into the industry, who are capable of bringing new ideas and techniques.
A lot of films try to juggle horror with comedy, but not many are successful. Johnstone has named many horror films as his inspirations, but came up with the idea for this film after watching the television show Ghosthunters. He has introduced us to characters we think we know, but has then given them twists that keep us watching.
Bringing these characters to life is the good work of a relatively unknown cast. You probably will not have heard of their names, but do not be surprised if you hear about them a lot in the future.
The only bad thing about having such good actors that create these interesting characters, is that the secondary characters tended to overshadow the main characters at times. This was made even worse by their characters feeling fake and silly. But no film is perfect.
Reaction from critics and reviewers has been predominately positive. It has won numerous awards at various film festivals, and has even had big-name stars like Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) commending it.
New Zealand has delivered us an awesome film that most will love. Their modest budget - which they won - has proven that you do not need a lot of money to make a great film, and that creativity and talent is quite capable of winning the audience. The combination of horror and comedy is spot-on, and everyone should go and watch this film.