Film Review: Housebound (2014)

“Housebound makes all the right moves at the right time, and barely misses a beat doing so.”

Housebound is a strange, wondrous beast that hides its best secrets for those that actually sit down and watch it rather than give everything away in the trailer as so many horror films seem happy to do these days. And what treats there are within.

Kylie (O’Reilly) is a petty thief and drug addict who is comically caught red handed when she tries to rob a cash machine. In front of the judge, her defence attorney tries to get her into a rehabilitation centre, but the judge is having none of it. Instead he sentences Kylie to her worst nightmare – eight months house arrest at the home of her mother (Te Wiata) and step-father. As she settles in, Kylie begins to remember why she was so desperate to leave home in the first place, not least because of her mother’s insistence that their house is haunted. However, Kylie soon starts to experience things that begin to convince her that her mother’s ramblings may not be entirely without reason.

Veering wildly from comedy horror, to dark horror, and even something bordering on slapstick, Housebound is an enigma all of itself. Starting out as what appears to be a haunted house story, it then turns into a murder hunt, only to morph into something altogether different yet again. Just when you think that you know in which direction it’s going in, you realise that you don’t, and it is all so unpredictable that by rights it should be a mess, yet the weird thing is that it works, and it works very well. Successfully balancing good comedy with good horror is incredibly difficult, but Housebound makes all the right moves at the right time, and barely misses a beat doing so.

It appears that there is somewhat of a resurgence of quality horror from down under in recent times, and New Zealand is certainly getting in on the act. Paired with the quite brilliant What We Do In The Shadows, Housebound shows that the Kiwis have some real talent when it comes to irreverent comedy horror. If they keep creating films of this quality, then any fan of horror and comedy should happy to receive them. Housebound comes highly recommended – go track it down as soon as possible!



Director: Gerard Johnstone
Starring: Morgan O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru
Certificate: 15
Release date (UK): DVD 27 July 2015

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