HOUSEBOUND **** New Zealand 2014 Dir: Gerard Johnstone. 109 mins
“You can’t punch ectoplasm!” An engaging genre-blending gem from New Zealand, built upon a familiar suspense set-up we’ve seen in DISTURBIA and 100 FEET. After a botched ATM heist, surly bad-girl Morgana O’Reilly’s probation is eight months of house arrest with a restricting ankle-bracelet. Holed up with her relentlessly chipper old mum (a delightful Rimi Te Wiata), and ineffectual step-dad, she comes to realise their house is prone to paranormal activity. Although weakened by over length, HOUSEBOUND builds a genuinely creepy ambience that is enhanced, rather than weakened, by a very Antipodean quirky sense of humour that incorporates a deadpan security-officer-cum-paranormal-expert. O’Reilly is a marvelously unlikely and morose (anti) heroine, and the climax is funny and inventive, with clever and timely use of linen baskets, cheese graters, a couple of great throwaway gags and a show-stopping demise for a key character.
Review by Steven West