“Housebound” was a fun flick out of New Zealand that my brother and friend had suggested to me. I’ve been a little slow on my horror movie viewing lately, its sad to admit, and I was in need of a pick me up. I was looking for something fresh, original, and out of the blue. Because neither of the guys had given me any real background on “Housebound” I decided to see if it fit the bill. A little over an hour and a half later of laughing, tensing up and trying to understand what the players were saying, I can happily say that yes, “Housebound” was exactly the movie I was looking for.
“Housebound” chronicles young and not quite housebroken Kylie, who after being caught committing a quite entertaining crime, is put on house arrest with her mother. Very unhappy, she mopes, makes her mother’s life hell and generally acts like a jerk until things around the house start turning weird. After getting after her mother about supposedly bogus claims of the house being haunted, Kylie starts to see and hear things that make her think the old lady may just be right. She dives into the disturbing history of the house and finds out all too well not everything that goes bump in the night is a ghost.
Where this movie really excelled was its plot and pacing. The plot itself is not overly original, but follows in the tradition of the classic ghost story, which I respect. Person moves into house, things start to get a little creepy, main character starts doing her research and finds that something very evil and very sinister happened in the house, and then we must resolve everything somehow. “Housebound” pleasantly deviates from the norm in the final act, one that is full of action and surprises. I don’t want to call them plot twists, because that term has a negative connotation in my mind, but we are certainly surprised a few times.
The acting in the movie is nothing to rave about, but it is solid. Morgana O’Reilly plays a great lead and is incredibly believable as the misguided and troubled girl. She’s not really a youth, and I think that’s part of what the movie is playing on, that even when you’re an adult, “going home” is a journey to a whole different world. Kylie’s mother Miriam, played by Rima Te Wiata, was my favorite in the film. She’s a class act and plays her part wonderfully. Glen-Paul Waru, who plays parole officer and ghost hunter Amos, is just plain fun. I’m not sure if he’s got the chops to be the star, but he definitely does a great job with his role. All around the cast is solid, which is great to see when half the players don’t even have pictures on IMDB.
Writer/director Gerard Johnstone definitely put a lot of work into creating a solid, fun, very original movie in “Housebound”. After a long absence from the horror scene, I was very happy to see that there is still a lot of original work going on. I feel a little bad watching movies on Netflix, but I really hope the people who made this movie made a couple bucks. Somebody should at least give Mr. Johnstone a nice advance on his next project. If he could make this nearly polished gem for just $350,000, think of what he could do with a million? But then again, maybe that homegrown attitude and the smell of elbow grease are really what makes “Housebound” so endearing. Anyway, check it out for yourself, it should still be up on Netflix now.