Variety’s Rave Review For Kiwi Horror-Comedy ‘Housebound’: “Near Flawless” and “Marvelously Entertaining”


In a hilarious opening sequence, the dislodged head of a sledgehammer spectacularly curtails an ATM smash-and-grab robbery attempt by petty criminal Kylie Bucknell (O’Reilly) and an anonymous male accomplice. A snarling ball of venom with a lengthy rap sheet, twentysomething Kylie is spared prison by a lenient judge who says home detention and regular sessions with a psychologist, Dennis (Cameron Rhodes), will provide the stable environment she needs to turn her wayward life around.

With those words still lingering, audiences will chuckle when Kylie arrives at the creepy-looking house of her childhood to begin an eight-month stretch. The dwelling is home to her stepfather, Graeme (Ross Harper), an oddball who’s seen but rarely heard, and her mother, Miriam (Rima Te Wiata), an endearing chatterbox who believes the house is haunted. Kylie’s petulant behavior and eye-rolling mockery of Miriam’s claim establishes a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship that will eventually outgrow its comical roots and bring real heart to the story. The slow change starts when Kylie begins seeing things that make her believe “something” is indeed lurking in the basement and within the walls. Several spine-tingling incidents later, Kylie seeks help from Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), the security company guy hired to monitor her electronic ankle bracelet. Cleverly introduced as a fairly bland and functional character, Amos leaps wonderfully to life at the first mention of supernatural activity. Armed with old-school equipment, including a Polaroid camera and a microcassette recorder, this sweet-natured nerd with a passion for all things paranormal forms a splendidly eccentric detective partnership with the tough but mellowing Kylie.

-from the Variety review by Richard Kuipers

So apparently, Housebound (whose official site can be found here) played at SXSW this year and went over so well with the crowd (and critics) that it was not only picking up a buzz as ‘a comeback for New Zealand horror-comedy’, but the world sales rights were also acquired within weeks by Paris-based Films Distribution.  Right now Housebound–the feature debut of Gerard Johnstone– is still making the genre circuit, but don’t worry about having to wait years to see it; XLrator Media has acquired U.S. sales rights and plans a theatrical and day-and-date VOD release [Source:].  That ‘day-and-date’ will be October 17th, when the film will be released on VOD, iTunes, and select theaters. Here’s the trailer:

Check out the complete review below (to read the entire Variety review, click on “View original” in the lower left. This one is definitely going on our must-watch list!


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