Latest horror satire shows Kiwis are on something of a roll

After last year’s hilarious vampire mockumentary, What We Do In The Shadows, it seems New Zealand is on an indie horror roll.

The country’s latest horror satire, Housebound, offers a twist on the typical haunted-house genre, fusing all the tension of a thriller with the laughs of absurd comedy.

Caught red-handed busting open a cash machine with a stick of dynamite, bad-tempered teen Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is placed under house arrest. Forced to return to her childhood home, the care of a blabbering mother (Rima Te Waita) and a put-upon step dad, Kylie’s anti-social tendencies intensify. But Kylie isn’t the only one on house arrest.

A trapped spirit sparks the film’s genre-bending chain reaction taking us from ghost story to murder mystery.

Fortunately for Kylie, her probation officer Amos (Glen-Paul Waru) turns out to be a self-taught paranormal expert keen to flex his ghost-busting detective skills. It’s just one of the far-fetched coincidences Housebound delivers with unflinching confidence.

First time writer-director Gerard Johnstone employs horror’s typical devices for laughs rather than scares but much of the comedy comes from mundane domestic conflicts. A spatter of wincing comedy gore rounds off this accomplished debut.

Housebound is showing at Derby Quad for three days beginning Friday, July 17.

4/5