Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Housebound, or: Punching Ectoplasm

Another round of Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab!  This week is horror-comedy from New Zealand because of course it is!  Check out Christa’s review here to see what she thinks!

The Film:


Where to Watch:


The Premise:

A woman under house arrest must live with her mother and some not-so-nice residents of the supernatural variety.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Our film revolves around the rebellious and incredibly unwise Kylie, now under house arrest in her childhood home after an incident with an ATM. There were explosions.

A woman sitting on a couch glares angrily at
Kylie, master of resting bitch face.

When Kylie returns home to live with her mother and stepfather for the next 8 months, she makes it clear this is her particular version of hell. Her mother, either the queen of snark or the most clueless optimist remarks on Kylie’s ankle monitor, “Aren’t you lucky having all that fancy technology on your foot?” Other people checking up on Kylie include Amos, parole officer, and Dennis, counselor.

A woman sits with a cup of tea while wearing a very busy knitted sweater.
Kylie’s mother.  That sweater.

In spite of evidence to the contrary, Kylie refuses to believe her mother’s superstition that the house is haunted. This is probably because Kylie has the emotional maturity of a 13-year-old even though she must be approaching 30. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I had way more sympathy for her mom (though I do appreciate a good eye roll). Kylie eats the entire fucking meatloaf her mother made for dinner and won’t let her watch Coronation Street in the evening. If I can deal with NCIS, you can put up with Coronation Street, Kylie.

Basically, I was really glad when something grabs Kylie in the basement, which brings both her mother and Amos to investigate. Kylie tries and fails to explain the presence she felt without admitting it could have been a ghost. When Amos hears of the supernatural possibilities, he pulls out a mini recorder and asks the spirit about its business here. Though he gets no response, he decides to set up some equipment to monitor any paranormal activity.

A man in a dimly lit basement speaks into a handheld recorder as a woman in the background looks on.
All I want to do now is watch Ghost Hunters.

Kylie is still super sarcastic about the whole situation, saying she would punch a ghost in the face if it bothered her. Amos responds “You can’t punch ectoplasm.” A possessed teddy bear quickly convinces Kylie to change her tune.

As it turns out, the house was not a cozy bed and breakfast as Kylie’s mother claimed, but rather a home for the criminally insane. Kylie suspects the ghost is that of a girl stabbed to death in her room with a meat fork. When she tries to explain her theory, no one believes her, and her counselor ends up in the hospital after suffering a ghost attack (I feel there must be some better ghost hunter-y terminology for that, but it’s not coming to me). Prime suspect in attack: Kylie.

Now it’s imperative for Kylie to find out who and why the girl was murdered. Could the crazy neighbor who seems to collect roadkill be responsible? After a really gross attempt to steal his dental plate, Kylie and Amos learn about a kid named Eugene who stayed with him briefly. Eugene liked taking things apart and putting them back together…including animals! A year after he disappeared, the girl was dead.

Oh, also, Kylie’s stepdad is attacked and hospitalized. Then a crazy-looking bearded guy who is apparently living in the walls of the house attacks Kylie herself. Once again, Kylie tries to explain her theory, and no one believes her. In fact, the counselor suggests she needs to be medicated and institutionalized.

A man with wild hair and eyes looks out in surprise from a cupboard he's sitting in.
Crazy wall-inhabiting dude, just for fun.

Suspicion shifts to the counselor, who, as it turns out, worked at the house while the girl was institutionalized there. She, in fact, attacked and beat the shit out of him, causing him endless shame. Or at least enough shame for him to MURDER HER.

Kylie discovers all of this while her mother distracts the counselor/gossips him to death.

A man tensely grips the arms of the chair he's seated in
“You look pretty nervous…”

All of this leads to an intense action-packed sequence involving a knife, a toy xylophone, and a laundry hamper. Also an attempt to use hairspray and a lighter as a weapon.

Okay, I tried to explain the rest of the movie in a way that doesn’t completely ruin everything, but I was becoming so vague that I’d better just stop.


And we get this memorable line from the evil counselor: “You have no idea what it’s like to try to help someone when all they want to do is throw it back in your face!”


The Critique:

In retrospect, the plot was basically Brave but with more ghosts and fewer bears.

This film is a New Zealand production, so there are some delightful accents. I recommend watching based on that alone.

In addition, the humor is actually pretty great, and I especially loved everything Kylie’s mom said.

My only complaint is I wish the movie had been a little creepier.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I think I would almost say 3.75/5 b/c I enjoyed it slightly less than Grabbers and Ginger Snaps, but I’m possibly the only one here who cares about .25 of a Pink Panther head.

Read Christa’s review here!

3 thoughts on “Housebound, or: Punching Ectoplasm”

  1. Amazing review! So glad we’re on the same page about Amos. What a cutie. Sure his ghost busting skills are a little amateur, but there’s nobody I’d rather go Scooby Do investigating with. Except maybe you xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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