I can’t believe I only just watched this new horror classic a few nights ago. I am still completely floored by first-time writer-director Gerard Johnston’s Housebound. A New Zealand horror film from 2014 that showcases Johnston’s sly command of deadpan humor without ever once defusing its scares. This is a genuinely horrifying horror film because the audience never knows when the jokes are coming. This is what makes Housebound so brilliant; the unpredictability is not only with just the scares, which is plenty, but also with the well-timed, authentically funny moments. However, the satirical humor doesn’t just come from witty dialogue, it derives from character. Any educated filmmaker or movie-buff knows that great movies require distinct, intelligently written characters. That alone is what makes this film so successful at balancing this horror-comedy tone; characters who are funny are going to make choices that illustrate this humor when faced with horror. I don’t want to dive into the characters too much because that would ruin the novelty of getting to know these well-drawn out people. But I will say that Miriam, who is the mother of the main protagonist Kylie, is so well written and acted that one could easily imagine this woman in the “real world.” By inventively subverting the horror tropes in this movie, Johnston finds something wildly different and unique-something I’ve rarely seen in this genre.
If you want to see a horror film that is funny, original, heart-pounding, and by the third act mind-blowingly bloody then Housebound is the horror movie for you!
AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX!