Director: Gerard Johnstone
Writer: Gerard Johnstone
Cast: Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Ross Harper
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]
Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) was just caught in a very unfortunate attempt to steal money from an ATM. Instead of prison, she is released on house arrest. But not just at any house – no, she has to stay with her parents. That is, her mother Miriam (Rima Te Wiata) who talks without pause and her stepfather (Ross Harper) who doesn’t talk at all. Kylie is annoyed before moving already and is even more annoyed when her mother talks about how the house is supposedly haunted. But Kylie quickly has to admit that there is something going on in that house.
Housebound was awesome. A film that manages to be hilarious and really, really scary at the same time – a hard enough balance. Plus, it’s smart, surprising and it looks really good. I can hardly believe that this is the first feature film Johnstone made.
Housebound starts off as a typical ghost story (with an untypically good explanation why Kylie doesn’t just leave the house) and then turns into something that isn’t supernatural at all which I loved. And I didn’t foresee it at all. Not because it was unforeseeable but rather because I was so busy watching the film and being completely involved in the story that I had no time guessing where it might be headed.
There was a lot to keep me occupied. For one, there was the great look of the film – the camerawork is excellent, the color scheme is interestingly subdued (in a lot of brown and grey) but without ever getting boring. And Morgana O’Reilly is a beautiful woman with an expressive face who I could have watched for much longer.
Plus there is the relationship between her and her mother that feels completely realistic. The script provides a good basis that O’reilly and Wiata turn into one of the most convincing, normal and yet rarely shown on screen relationships between mother and daughter. I loved that, especially since the film is so much about finding family where you wouldn’t expect to find it: at home.
And all of that bundled into a film that turns your laughter into fear within seconds without diminishing either. I’m just really impressed and I want to see it again right now.