Housebound

Housebound ★★★★

With its knowing nods to horror tropes, quick-witted dialogue, investment in characters and well-filmed sequences, "Housebound" ticks all the boxes a genre fan could want and then some. For all its laugh-out-loud-inducing one-liners and turns of trope, this New Zealand gem delivers up a good number of decent jump scares and works up a palpable sense of dread while careening through plot twists and turns at breakneck speed.

More fun than frightful, "Housebound" brings petty crook Kylie under her mother's roof for a home confinement sentence of eight months, meant to provide structure for her life. Sullen and antagonistic, Kylie especially resents her mother, Miriam, and her mother's superstitions and beliefs that the home is haunted. As Kylie unearths a series of truths about the house, her own suspicions flare. With the help of probation officer and amateur supernatural investigator Amos, Kylie confronts the problem head-on ... and finds there is more to the house than meets the eye.

"Housebound" is a confident debut for writer/director Gerard Johnstone, who turns up a bunch of TV credits on IMDB as well as a potential "Housebound" remake. Here's hoping to see more from him.