Housebound ★★★★½

There are a lot of good horror comedies out there, but it's rare that one gets the mix as completely right as New Zealand's HOUSEBOUND does. It is every bit as scary as it is funny, for starters, and that's a lot of both.

Reminiscent of several cool movies like POLTERGEIST and THE FRIGHTENERS, HOUSEBOUND stars Morgana O'Reilly as Kylie, a young woman with an extensive criminal record whose latest arrest lands her on eight months of house arrest. The trouble is, she's to serve her time in the creepy, secluded house she grew up in, which also happens to house a very unhappy spirit (or two).

This simple plot is complicated in a number of entertaining ways. It is a legitimately unpredictable film, with several twists that pile onto one another in hilariously inspired ways, and a talented, enjoyable cast of interesting and well-developed characters. It might fumble a tiny bit in the home stretch, but that is honestly just nitpicking. This movie rules.

With all due respect to THE BABADOOK (which I liked very much), I do believe that HOUSEBOUND is my favorite straight-up horror film of 2014. 2014 was a very good year for horror, too, with excellent candidates for that title such as OCULUS, THE SACRAMENT, HONEYMOON, THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, STARRY EYES, and DEAD SNOW: RED VS. DEAD, as well as horror-adjacent films like UNDER THE SKIN, THE GUEST, NIGHTCRAWLER, CHEAP THRILLS, ENEMY, THE PURGE: ANARCHY, and ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE.

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