NZIFF Review - Housebound

Writer / director Gerard Johnstone's inventively witty Housebound is already picking up accolades - both here and abroad.

With SXSW success and NZIFF Festival director Bill Gosden's praise ringing in its ears, the mash up of horror and comedy stars Morgana O'Reilly as Kylie, a sullen woman placed on home detention after a particularly Kiwi robbery goes somewhat awry.

Confined to the house with her mother Miriam (a sensational Rima Te Wiata), rebel without a cause Kylie discovers there are more horrors than just dial up broadband and regular dollops of Coro to contend with after she hears her mum talking about how she believes the house is haunted.

With a security guard Amos in tow, Kylie begins to investigate the spooky goings on...

Housebound serves up a riotous mix of shock moments, suspenseful scenes and bang on gags. 

With a delicious premise and an awe-inspiring treatment of the genres, director Johnstone's infused his script with mixes of The Innkeepers, The Frighteners, a hint of Beetlejuice and a gory dollop of Kiwi blood and guts' homage to Sir Peter Jackson's earlier works.

But as well as infusing these all together, he's done something uniquely kiwi as well as making a film which universally accessible, thanks to O'Reilly's sullen Kylie, Glen Paul-Waru's brilliant Amos and Te Wiata's perfectly shrill and cuckolding mother. 

With an eye for great one-liners ("You can't punch ectoplasm" to name but one) and a burgeoning trademark in suspenseful set ups and masterfully subtle execution, Housebound is an absolute riot, an unashamed blockbuster treat and a triumph of film-making (let's leave the New Zealand out of this one, eh?)

The pay-off is cleverly constructed and the final sequences deliver and wrap up everything that was promised so deliciously throughout the comic beats. 

As infectious as Ghostbusters was all those years ago, Johnstone's flair for the comic paranormal and grip on the various genres he's paying homage to treads the right balance between out and out scares and good time humour - it's truly unmissable.