I was flipping through horror movies on Netflix and came across Housebound, directed by Gerard Johnstone, which I did not realize was a comedy-horror at first. Actually, from the first few seconds of the film feels like an action/crime flick. You first meet Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O'Reilly), as she is attempting to rob an ATM. Her plan falls apart when her partner knocks himself out and her car gets stuck, leading to 8 months on house arrest. She moves back in with her mother, Miriam (Rima Te Wiata), who she does not get along with, and we slowly learn about their rocky relationship and the strange house that Kylie grew up in. The guy next-door is creepy, the house makes bizarre noises, and Kylie’s cynicism slowly starts to fade. I finally realized it was a comedy-horror when Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), Kylie’s parole officer starts to take on a central role. Every attempt he makes to help Kylie and her mother find answers either leads to a dead end or he ends up getting hurt in some ridiculous manner.
Housebound like Shaun of the Dead dishes out intelligent humor with elevated drama between the characters of the story. Although Housebound may not be as overtly funny, I think I appreciate how sly and planned out the instances of comedy were in the film. Just when I would find out something new about a character, or something terrifying happened, I would be hit with the most unexpected and hilarious circumstance. Each and every character is differentiated in such a way that that their unique quirks enhanced the mystery of trying to figure out what is truly happening inside of this house. As soon as I thought I had the story figured out, it would switch on me, and for me, I loved that. I love being surprised, I love changing my ideas about a character, and overall I was rather shocked by how much I enjoyed watching this movie. I was interested, entertained, and satisfied consistently throughout watching Housebound. I honestly had never heard of it or seen the trailer, and this may be because it comes from New Zealand
Housebound has an American remake in the works. My only hope is that the same kind of smart humor is used in the original picture. I think this aspect enhanced the overall horror of the film; the creepiness stayed creepy, it was not turned into a ridiculous or absurd level of being grossed out. The terrifying aspects stayed terrifying, I didn’t know for sure what was going to happen, I was constantly changing my mind about who I thought did certain things. The humor is not only realized through character, it is cinematically comedic. The storyline is complex with many layers. Housebound satisfied my desire to cringe, laugh, empathize, and sit on the edge of my seat. Something was done here and it was done in such a way that made blending genres look like a cake walk.