Housebound ★★★½

One of the many reasons I love Letterboxd is the films you can discover here. I like many of you have found some very good films on the site that I might not have otherwise heard of if I wasn't a member. Housebound from writter/director Gerard Johnstone, is another one of those films. It's a gem of a horror/comedy set in New Zealand that delivers a solid amount of laughs if horror on the funny side happens to be your thing. I didn't know it was a horror/comedy going in, as far as I knew it was a straight up horror film, but the comedic tone is set in an opening seen that features maybe the worst attempted robbery of an ATM of all time. It got a pretty good laugh out of me, and as the film went on, it actually proved to be pretty damn hilarious. If you're looking for scares you'll likely be disappointed, it's simply not that kind of horror film, but the laughs come quick and are plentiful.

After a botched ATM heist, Kylie (Morgana O'Reilly) is sentenced to 8 months of house arrest after the judge determines she has not responded to previous attempts at rehabilation. This means going home to stay with her mother (Rima Te Wiata) and stepfather (Ross Harper). Kylie must wear an ankle monitor and can't leave the property. Soon after arriving home, strange things begin to happen in the house, and as it turns out her mother has always believed the house is haunted. One day Kylie is down in the basement investigating some of strange noises she's been hearing when she is startled by someone grabbing her foot. Being down in the basement causes her ankle monitor to go off which prompts the arrival of Dennis (Cameron Rhodes) who is assigned to respond and happens to live in the same neighborhood. Kylie and her mother explain to Dennis their crazy sounding story of possible paranormal activity, and much to their surprise he kinda believes them, and is willing to help.
This leads to Kylie and Dennis basically working together to investigate the matter, and what happens next is a terrific blend of horror and comedy that's sure to satisfy fans of the popular genre mashup.

As I mentioned, the tone is set for Housebound to be more on the funny side from the very beginning. Lets just say Kylie's accomplice during the attempted ATM robbery may need to brush up on his sledgehammer skills. It's a funny scene and one that had me onboard with what the director was going for from the get go. The problem with this type of film is, they generally will either be really funny, or really stupid. Thankfully this one is really funny, at least in my opinion. I'm sure some folks will think it's dumb, but for me it was a hell of a lot of fun. I enjoyed the entertaining albeit ridiculous story. The cast features actors/actresses I'm not really familiar with, but they all do a fine job, especailly considering the type of film this is. The comedy comes thanks to some clever writing and the kind of gore those of us with a morbid sense of humor tend to get a belly laugh out of.

There's two main reasons why I really liked Housebound, It was a Letterboxd discovery and also surprisingly good. I mean who doesn't love discovering an underseen film and really enjoying it. Sure it's pretty silly, and won't be for everyone, but for those of you out there like me, who tend to laugh at even straight up horror, I think you'll find Housebound to be right up your alley.

Ron's recommendation: See it.

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