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Housebound - Film Review

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by Jennifer Muirhead (subscribe)
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~ Eartha Kitt
Published February 22nd 2021
Things go bump in the night
Housebound, horror movies, New Zealand, NZ movies, New Zealand horror comedy
Morgana O'Reilly as Kylie.

When Kylie is caught trying to rob an ATM, the court sentences her to eight months of house arrest under the care of her mother. As if the humiliation of being forced to return to her childhood home and sleep in her old bedroom wasn't bad enough, Kylie's mum insists that the house is haunted. Kylie is initially sceptical, but when strange things start to happen in the house, she realises that there might actually be something to her Mum's stories.

Housebound, haunted house, horror comedy, new zealand horror comedy, movies on Shudder, New Zealand movies
The possibly haunted house.

Housebound (2014) is a horror/comedy film from New Zealand. It is the debut feature film for the director, Gerard Johnstone, and stars Morgana O'Reilly (from Neighbours and Wentworth) as Kylie and Rima Te Wiata (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) as her long-suffering mum, Miriam. Cameron Rhodes (The Lord of the Rings) plays Dennis, the psychologist who tries to persuade Kylie that the haunting is all in her head.

Housebound, horror comedy, NZ movies, NZ films, new zealand horror comedy
If this thing came at me in the darkness I'd kick it and set it on fire too.

This film is a bit of a slow burner, leaving the viewer unsure of what is going on for a long time. There are twists and turns, and the tension really ratchets up in the last act. Kylie isn't a nice character but she does seem brave, so when she does finally get scared, it's contagious.

At the same time, this movie is also full of dry Kiwi humour. I especially liked the bumbling but determined probation officer, Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), trying to find evidence of ghosts.

It does get a little gruesome towards the end, though some of the gore is played for laughs. Also, if you love possums, there is a brief scene where you might want to look away, while bearing in mind that they are considered pests in New Zealand.

Housebound is a fun Kiwi horror comedy that will appeal to fans of movies like What We Do in Shadows. It is currently streaming on Shudder.

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