In the film Housebound, Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) is comfortable being a delinquent. When an attempt to rob an ATM goes awry, Kylie is once again taken into the New Zealand justice system. With many strikes against her name, the court assigns her to house arrest with her parents. Returning to your mother’s house is bad enough, but when Kylie begins to suspect that the house is haunted (thanks to her mom of course), things get worse. Trapped by an electronic ankle bracelet, Kylie does not have the option of leaving her house without making her punishment worse. Kylie’s home was once a half-way house and the location of a grisly stabbing. Could the house be haunted or is the reason much more terrestrial and sinister?
Creepy teddy bears, stolen cellphones, a stepfather, and dropouts of the mental service profession make Housebound terrifying. Costing only around $255,000 to make, the plot relies heavily on dialogue and scares that you hear and anticipate rather than see. Don’t let this fool you, as this film provides a good deal of blood as well. Stabbing is a favorite method of blood-letting in this film, so we aware if you’re sensitive to violence. I found myself having to pause a few times during one scene where a Teddy-Ruxbin-like doll begins to say horrible things to Kylie while she sleeps.
Kylie’s mother (Rima Te Wiata) is a brilliant blend of fed up mother and innocent bystander. It doesn’t hurt that her New Zealand accent is incredible. She plays the role of loving mother trying to understand her daughter while also playing the audience for a few laughs. Morgana O’Reilly is drop dead gorgeous (if you’ll pardon the pun) and manages to give off the delinquent vibe and be the most intelligent person in the film without sacrificing either intelligence or street cred. Without giving too much away, Cameron Rhodes (which you may remember from the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings), is deeply uncomfortable to watch as the Social Worker, Dennis. His psychobabble makes the viewers skin crawl from the very first time he speaks with Kylie.
Housebound is not all chills and actually provides a more than adequate number of laughs that put this easily frightened reviewer at ease. The film is currently available to stream on Netflix or purchase.