Earlier this year I saw the stellar New Zealand horror/comedy WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, which played up the humour about vampires living in a share house in modern day New Zealand. So I came to the film HOUSEBOUND with high expectations. It too is a New Zealand horror/comedy and was also released this year but unfortunately I was pretty disappointed.
Set in a small town in country New Zealand, Kylie Bucknell is a troubled girl. Charged with attempted burglary Kylie is sentenced to 8 months house arrest with her estranged mother and her mother’s introverted boyfriend. Once she arrives strange things start to happen in the house and Kylie must uncover the truth about the house’s past.
In lots of horror films set in a haunted house you often ask why the folks being haunted don’t just leave so it was nice that HOUSEBOUND found a clever and creative way to keep its protagonist inside the house. Kylie’s mum played by Rima Ti Wiata killed it, with some of the funniest lines and delivery in the film. She really seemed like the saving grace of the film and the parts I enjoyed most had her in them. The set up to the film was interesting but it felt like HOUSEBOUND struggled to find its tone. At parts it was trying to frighten and at others trying to be funny. I love comedy in horror, for example I think DRAG ME TO HELL does it perfectly, however in HOUSEBOUND it wasn’t cohesive enough and felt too disjointed.
As the film went on the plot went in all different directions, maybe to keep the audience guessing but in all honestly it didn’t capture my attention and I found myself noticing plot holes instead of enjoying the film. I wanted to like this film a lot but maybe my pesky expectations were too high. There definitely were a few very funny and gory moments but as a whole it didn’t really work for me.
HOUSEBOUND is directed by Gerard Johnstone and stars Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata and Glen-Paul Waru. HOUSEBOUND is currently available in theaters, VOD and iTunes.