Title: Housebound

XLrator Media

Director: Gerard Johnstone

Writer: Gerard Johnstone

Cast: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Ross Harper, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Ryan Lampp

Running time: 112 min, Not Rated (Language and violence)

Special features: Deleted Scenes and Filmmaker Commentary

Available November 24 on DVD

Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is forced to go on house arrest after she and her accomplice tries to rip off an ATM. She has to go home and live with her mother and stepfather. She and her mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) do not get along, because Kylie is a rebellious child and her mother is an overly cheerful busybody, but she does have her limits. Kylie tries to push her mom’s every button the entire 8 months on house arrest. Kylie’s only link to the outside world is her phone and the television. Her phone mysteriously disappears, but she can sometimes hear it ringing with its incredibly annoying “hello moto” ringtone, and she goes in search of her phone in the old house. She gets down to the basement and is attacked by an unseen person or entity. The venture into the basement caused her ankle bracelet to ping her probation officer Amos (Glen-Paul Waru) who fancies himself a bit of a paranormal expert, whom is convinced the house is haunted, but by whom? Graeme (Ross Harper), Kylie’s silent stepdad opens up to her and tells her that the house they live in was once something else, but he pushes her to talk to her mother about it. Kylie does some investigating and discovers the home was used as a halfway house and one of the wards, a young girl named Lizzy, was viciously murdered in the home.

Kylie finds part of a dental plate in an old furnace and thinks maybe the mysterious next door neighbor who skins opossums may be the culprit. The fact that he has old newspaper clippings of the murder seems to be a dead giveaway, but Amos soon discovers that the man is a bit of a amateur detective with a hoarding problem. He directs Amos to the idea that maybe it was this weird kid named Eugene that was living under his house for awhile and may have moved into Miriam’s house years later. Kylie accidentally discovers a hidden room in an upstairs closet, revealing the whereabouts of Eugene. She runs to the cops and when she gets back, the hidey holes are all repaired and make Kylie look like she’s going mad. Dennis (Cameron Rhodes) , her court assigned counselor tells Miriam that maybe Kylie should go to the mental hospital to get the help she needs. Miriam regretfully is all for it until they notice Dennis also has a dental plate.  After a bit of distraction, Kylie searches the basement for old records and discovers that Dennis was Lizzy’s counselor before she was murdered. After putting the link together, Dennis knows the jig is up and chases the women through the house where Eugene gives them temporary sanctuary. He tells Kylie that he had been watching her since she was a little girl and was actually her friend that she had forgotten about once she reached puberty and started a downward spiral. Kylie realizes that she was just a bad kid that was too hard on her mother and their relationship is on the path to getting repaired, as long as they find a way to get rid of Dennis and out of the house alive.

The Good:  I loved it. The characters were funny and the story was clever.  You think this is going to be a paranormal thriller and it throws you for a loop. Very low budget film and they did an amazing job.

The Bad: Finding the tape on the charred talking bear was highly unlikely. Was the tape player made of asbestos?

I would like a chance to tell the filmmakers who were arguing on the commentary track that the actress that Morgana most looked like was Tara Morice from Strictly Ballroom. Whomever told them that they thought she looked like Eva Green or Natalie Portman was seriously deranged. Morgana is great actress in her own right, but I wanted to clear that up.  I think it’s awesome that this film got high praise from Sir Peter Jackson, because it’s very much his old style that many of us fans fell in love with.

Acting: A

Story: A

Technical: A

Total Rating: A

Reviewed by: JM Willis


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