Housebound ★★★★

After an hilariously bungled ATM heist, belligerent Kiwi teen, Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O'Reilly) finds herself slammed with an unthinkable sentence: eight months home detention with her scarily doting mother. And, if that's not bad enough, being back in her childhood home unearths some deep buried childhood memories of kiddie murders and supernatural beings.

Very much in the vein of early Peter Jackson, Housebound mixes big scares with piss-taking comedy. Writer director Gerard Johnstone mines New Zealand's idyllic suburbs for their quaint parochial treasures then stamps them with heavy horror accoutrements. The juxtaposition is outrageously funny, just as it was with Jackson's seminal gore-fest, Braindead, though Johnstone is lighter on the splatter (but only a touch).

The performances, all round, play to the film's strengths. O'Reilly does a superb job in lead, taking Kylie to the brink of obnoxiousness but keeping her identifiable and bluntly comic. Rima Te Wiata as Kylie's mother, Miriam, is an absolute scream as are all the supporting roles, villains included. Johnstone goes in heavy with the misdirection to keep a lid on just who those villains are, and though it gets a bit hairy now and again, the constant rejigging of the scenario keeps the film cranking. Johnstone even pulls off some real surprises.

Housebound is a real corker of a horror comedy. It put be back in my childhood parked in front of the video player with a pizza and some like-minded mates. I reckon that'd be a great way to enjoy this one too.

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