Grimmfest 2014: HOUSEBOUND Review

Posted on Oct 6 2014 - 1:05am by Lucinda Holt



Director: Gerard Johnstone

Cast: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes

Rating: R/15

Running Time: 109 minutes

You know that feeling when you watch a film and it is totally different to what you imagined? HOUSEBOUND is most definitely one of those films. Being vaguely aware of it, I had it in my head that it would be a straight-up haunted house movie. Boy was I wrong! HOUSEBOUND is a rather ingenious comic-horror reminiscent of early Peter Jackson and certainly the New Zealand aspect helps with that comparison.

Morgana O’Reilly plays Kylie, a wild child who gets caught during a rather hilarious ATM robbery. Instead of a prison stint, she is ordered back to her childhood home in the middle of nowhere for nine months. Confined to the house and grounds by electronic tag and with overly jovial mum Miriam hanging over her shoulder, Kylie’s nightmare of monotony is about to become something surprisingly spooktacular when Miriam lets on that she is sure the house is haunted after seeing a terrifying figure wearing a sheet.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away as it would spoil the rather lovely surprise but I can say that you won’t be disappointed.

O’Reilly gives a great performance. Her sarcastic comments and scowling hard stares give a realism to something which could appear over the top. Rema Te Wiata’s Miriam is hilarious and your typical embarrassing mother – and the perfect antidote to Kylie’s rebellious nature. A special mention too must go to Kylie’s electronic tag monitor Amos, played by Glen-Paul Waru. His character goes from Mr. Serious to amateur ghosthunter when he finds out about the supernatural happenings. His paranormal investigations are perfectly theatrical and you cant help but find him endearing.

Visually, HOUSEBOUND is gorgeously rich in colour with a gothic feel. The house and use of light really gives the film a serious haunted house feel, which makes the comedic edge even more refreshing. There are scenes which feel like pure horror and then immediately follows with some gut-busting hilarity. This is why HOUSEBOUND is so incredibly enjoyable and writer/director Gerard Johnstone should be proud of his feature debut.

HOUSEBOUND is a film where you can see so many influences, yet it still comes across as very original. Many horror fans will pick up on themes from classic genre films such as THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS, THE HAUNTING and THE FRIGHTENERS but this isn’t a film of horror clichés. There aren’t an abundance of jump scares. In fact, there is one scene where Kylie is hearing noises mid-pee that I don’t think I have ever seen before!

Overall, HOUSEBOUND is something that will cater to many people, not just those with a taste for atmospheric horror. It seems to tick most boxes in regards to genre and with a solid cast, fantastic set and even more fantastic writing, this film is sure to become a beloved cult classic in much the same way as BAD TASTE and BRAINDEAD. We await with interest to see what Gerard Johnstone scares up next!


HOUSEBOUND hits UK cinemas June 3.

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