Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Film Review: Housebound (2014)

Copyright: Semi-Professional Pictures
Almost immediately, this film defines itself as, first and foremost, a comedy. In the opening sequence, a pair of ATM robbers is thwarted by a Bugs Bunny type mistake (and the subsequent hit in the head). Right after, the film jumps into the future, where one of them, a young woman named Kylie, is sentenced to house arrest.

The attitude filled Kylie returns to her family home, and to her mother, where she needs to spend 8 months wearing a locating device that will stop her from leaving the premise. Miriam, her mom, is happy to have her back, but the bad blood between them, located there since Kylie’s childhood, quickly begins to boil. But, at the same time, strange sounds can be heard in their old home, and this brings about bad memories of their previous family life where both believed at one point that the house was haunted.

Gerard Johnstone, the writer and director of Housebound, made just one mistake in the entire process, which is pretty amazing considering the budget and the relative lack of stardom in front of behind the camera. This mistake is the length of the film, and the fact that it loses steam on several occasions. 

Apart from this, the film is excellently written, using great characters which were presented in an awesome manner, mostly by Morgana O'Reilly and Rima Te Wiata as the mutually combative, hostile and very lifelike daughter-mother duo. O'Reilly especially delivers a finely tuned character in the form of negative Kylie, who is both obnoxious and likable at the same time.

Even weird decisions, like the strange influx of Tim Barton-like concepts at the last third of the film or the sudden turn towards a gory, splatter type of horror comedy, seem to work just fine for the Housebound movie. Better designed horrors like The Quiet Ones struggle to define their atmosphere, while this film effortlessly does the same, in spite of the fact that it seems like an improvised mash up.

I’m not sure is this because Johnstone had a very clear vision, or did the cards just fall in the right manner? In both cases, Housebound film works its horror/comedy magic all the way through.