Housebound nz

Housebound is our new Braindead

I know. Big call. But bear with me.

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF’s Wellington premiere of Housebound. It’s a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It’s a scary movie that’s genuinely scary and what’s more, it’s a funny movie that’s genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I’m talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Housebound nz

 

Written and directed by Gerard Johnstone, Housebound was made as part of the Escalator scheme, chosen in 2010 for a measly but significant $250,000. It sounds like fuck all, and that’s because it is. Nobody is paid anywhere near half rate but that being said, without such a scheme, filmmakers on the shy side of experience may never get a shot at it, and the country should rejoice that Gerard Johnstone got the opportunity to craft this comedy milestone in NZ horror cinema.

 

Gerard Johnstone award

Gerard’s won awards and yet he looks so young!

 

Gerard has come into success with The Jacquie Brown Diaries, snagging Best Comedy Show at the NZ Film and TV Awards in 2009 and 2010, so he’s not new to comedy. Also, he won the 48hour filmmaking competition the very first year it was on. This is where his relationship with Ant Timpson (executive producer on Housebound) grew its manlove roots.

 

When the lights grew dim in the cinema, I looked around to see the Embassy Theatre FULL, save for a couple of the shitty rows down the front. A feat in itself, and on a Saturday night? Magic. I hastily switched my phone to Do Not Disturb but not before sending a final tweet.

 

About to see NZ horror comedy Housebound. Go kiwi comedy!

At the end of the film, I checked my phone to see a flurry of twitter notifications. Quint from aintitcool.com had replied claiming, ‘It’s a good un!’ which, coming from a world class reviewer of all films awesome, is high praise. I mean, I know Quint because he was flown to Aotearoa to hang out on set of The Hobbit for weeks at a time, one of the only film writers to be granted unadulterated access to Peter’s kingdom – because they’re friends.

 

While we’re on Peter, he’s been quoted saying Housebound is ‘bloody brilliant’. So there’s some nice praise too, from the director of NZ’s greatest horror comedy.

 

Morgana O'Reilly

Rima Te Wiata and Morgana O’Reilly – Two funny, fantastic, beautiful leads

 

I gotta tell you about the leading actress Morgana O’Reilly. She’s natural, she’s gorgeous, and she looks great and believable throwing some physical action around. She plays Kylie, a very unlikable, sarcastic, defensive bitch with a permanent scowl. It’s hard to like a character like this.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt that Morgana happens to be gorgeous, but there’s more going on. As the film progresses, Kylie softens to a number of other characters in a very slight way, but that ends up being enough for us to fall for her. Apart from being a superb actress, Morgana looks the part. Rocking stained sweat pants and a loose hoodie, she doesn’t fit the mold of ‘sexy bimbo horror lead’. She ends up giving of a ‘maneater bitch you used to see at parties who steals your weed and humiliates you but goddamn you wish you could kiss her’ vibe.

 

Glen-Paul Waru

A strong supporting cast ensures laughs

 

Housebound boasts the funniest performance by an on-screen mother since Shaun of the Dead, a bumbling but sweet Miriam played by Rima Te Wiata. Every time her face appeared on screen wearing a doltish expression, sympathetic laughter would ripple through the audience. Another huge source of laughs was Kylie’s adorable supernatural-enthusiast sidekick Amos, played by Glen-Paul Waru. It’s like you’re watching three of your best friends banter back and forth – which turns out to be very close to what happened. Waru is an old mate of Johnstone and, by the way Gerard talked about Rima at the Q&A afterward, he adores her. Add to the supporting cast a weathered possum-skinning neighbour, a dimwitted local police duo and a near-mute stepdad constantly draped in the world’s most horrendous woolen sweaters, you’ve got a pretty sweet lineup.

 

The film is shot incredibly well considering the budget. These guys mustn’t have had a lot to play with but numerous light sources in all scenes allows for complex shadows and the clever camera work allowed for effective shocks.

The special effects are good enough that you’d forget they’re even there.

The score is right on the mark, carrying the story comfortably through the suspense building sequences and a surprisingly touching end to Act Two.

But the real hero in Housebound is the art department. The house is ornately decorated with shining wood. Bizarre artifacts line the walls, a creepy basement is filled with cabinets, antiques and toys, and a secret room in a secret place is crowded with … I don’t wanna ruin too much. How they managed it with the budget is beyond me.

 

I was able to completely lose myself in this film because it felt like a film. Perhaps this is why the moments worked so well with an audience. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, cheering moments, and gotcha moments. This was where Johnstone’s talent became clear. The audience were eating out of his hand. The music would build here, everyone would lean forward in their seats, the the camera would whip around, past the massive prop of Jesus (yup, there’s a massive Jesus in there) and the perfectly placed sound effect would do its job and audience loses their shit. Johnstone orchestrates his scenes like a director in control and in full knowledge of what each moments needs.

 

Housebound is a fun film. While horror isn’t a genre I rush to cinemas for, this film was different. It made me laugh and squirm in spades. Keep your eyes on Gerard Johnstone.

Fingers crossed he scores a decent fund for what his next feature film endeavour may be because he’s the kind of talent we should showcase more.

 

Housebound film

Housebound will be getting a NZ theatrical release September 2nd

 

Related Posts

HJW's Top 20 Movies of 2014

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF's Wellington premiere of Housebound. It's a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It's a scary movie that's genuinely scary and what's more, it's a funny movie that's genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I'm talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Read More

Like What You Like

Do you ever feel embarrassed admitting you like Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande's song Problem? Greeted with furrowed brows when confessing to rereading the Harry Potter series? Laughed at when coming clean about your love for anal?

Read More
Boyhood

Boyhood worth the 12 year wait

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF's Wellington premiere of Housebound. It's a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It's a scary movie that's genuinely scary and what's more, it's a funny movie that's genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I'm talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Read More
Housebound nz

Housebound is our new Braindead

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF's Wellington premiere of Housebound. It's a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It's a scary movie that's genuinely scary and what's more, it's a funny movie that's genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I'm talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Read More

The Dark Horse hits the kiwi-film nail on the head

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF's Wellington premiere of Housebound. It's a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It's a scary movie that's genuinely scary and what's more, it's a funny movie that's genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I'm talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Read More
Denzel Washington in Man on Fire

Tony Scott's masterpiece Man on Fire

Okay, I just got back from the NZIFF's Wellington premiere of Housebound. It's a NZ made microbudget horror-comedy. It's a scary movie that's genuinely scary and what's more, it's a funny movie that's genuinely funny. The crowd (while admittedly being an excitable audience) whooped and hollered throughout. I'm talking screams, guffaws, mass intakes of breath, the whole horror film shebang.

Read More

Comments

You may also like

One comment

  • long hoodie December 14, 2015  

    Hi there fantastic website! Does running a blog
    such as this require a great deal of work? I have virtually no expertise in computer programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyway, should you have any ideas or techniques for new
    blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject nevertheless I just had to ask.

    Thanks a lot!

Leave a comment