FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 27, 2015

Day 27: HOUSEBOUND (2014)


After a botched ATM robbery, surly ne'er-do-well Kylie (Morgana O'Reilly) is sentenced to nine months of house arrest. With a bracelet on her ankle and a sneer on her face, Kylie must readjust to life in the home she fled years ago. Mostly this readjusting consists of taking over the TV, making her mother and stepfather miserable, eating everything in the house, and being a total slob. Just when it seems the situation can't get any more dire for the lot of them, there is increasing evidence that the house is, as they've always suspected, haunted. Kylie isn't too worried–she'll just punch any ghosts who give her shit–but events quickly spiral beyond the point where problems can be solved with paranormal fisticuffs.

Listen, if Housebound doesn't end up as beloved a horror comedy as Shaun of the Dead, then we'll all know for sure that there's no justice in this cruel, cold world. Lawd oh lawd blessed be, this isn't a satire, an homage, or meta anything. Rather, it achieves that difficult balance between genuine frights and genuine laughs as it twists and turns along as a ghost story, a murder mystery, and more. I had no idea where the film was headed, but the journey sure was terrific (if, admittedly, a bit bloated and perhaps a touch overlong).

Comedic horror ain't usually my bag; sure, I like Shaun of the Dead as any rational person must, but generally it's a subgenre I avoid. Housebound completely won me over almost immediately, however, with its sometimes sharp, sometimes broad humor, its charming characters, and especially with its true horror leanings. It's two great tastes that taste fucking great together.

7 comments:

Rob K. said...

Just watched this last night and: total 100% agreeance on everything you just said! (I'm sure you're relieved.) Including the fact that it will likely become a cult fave, and (on the other foot), that it is, yes, a tiny bit bloated & overlong - I would've shaved maybe just 5-10 minutes off the run time). Best Thing: it was funny AND scary (which is where it bests Shaun of the Dead, which just wasn't scary); Second Best Thing: it goes completely beyond where we think it's going. How many movies can puff their chests out and brag about that? Huh? Anyway, yeah, everybody see this one, like Stacie says.

John LaTour said...

Sounds fun. Wife and I saw Murder Party for the first time this week, so we're looking to keep the comedy alive this Halloween. Thanks Stacie!

Jen Manriquez said...

I love, love, LOVE this movie! It's fantastic.

Sean Belcher said...

Yea! I really loved this, too. I see so many people fault this one for not having a "likable" lead character, which is just the laziest way to approach your entertainment. I didn't "like" Kylie but she was interesting, which is much more important; a real character with humanity and guts, so I was rooting for her.
And re: *that* gore gag at the end, it takes a lot for something like that to make me laugh out loud, but, man, that was both gross and hilarious in the best way.

Stacie Ponder said...

In horror, I think there is "unlikable" for the sake of unlikability, meaning the character who is just over the top and relentlessly repellent so that the audience will cheer when they get their head cut off or torn apart by zombies or whatever. They're as much a trope as the Final Girl.

I will say that while being "likable" shouldn't factor in to whether or not you care about a character or whether he or she can be a hero (ESPECIALLY WITH REGARDS TO WOMEN) (I've spent so much time defending Wendy Torrance), it's rare to find a character written well enough that you find yourself liking them/rooting for them/not hating them regardless. Sean's right–Kylie isn't just "unlikable", she's interesting. I love that she's not the type of horror lead you see all the time. I was curious how she'd handle everything the house threw at her.

And I love the mom so much. And this movie in general. I laughed out loud quite a few times, what a delight. A DELIGHT I SAY

Sean Belcher said...

My tolerance for that kind of stock unlikable character is directly proportional to how spectacular/cathartic their demise is; if I'm going to spend over an hour with some sexist douche, his exit better be hilarious and/or gory as hell.

matango said...

This was so great! I was genuinely surprised.