(jp) wrote: Somehow this film should have made me care more than it did. Imagine being lost in the jungle in the middle of wartime. Starving, going crazy, and captured by cannibals. Finally, you wind up king of the tribe, and it's the best thing that could have ever happened to you! While Nick Nolte looked the part, his performance failed to inspire as perhaps it should have. The fault may also lie with the flat, uninspired direction. But at least we have a clue as to where Christian Bale got his Batman voice.
(nl) wrote: a novel idea, to portray a message without words. Until the very end you are free to try and figure out what the director is telling you. This is a series of national geographic style images put to music. The film seemed to me to be loosely split into two halves, the first showing the simple life of the third world and the second being the complexity of the first, and how it has affected the former. Some of the scenes drag on for too long and the music is pretty annoying but some of the scenery and images in the first half in particular are quite pleasant and relaxing.
(ca) wrote: If I were under the impression that my house was haunted, I wouldn't wait around awhile for some scary shit to spit on my neck - I'd get out of there. Calling upon a paranormal investigator to cement my fears would be a possibility if I were more of a risk-taker, but as someone who puts my health, both physically and mentally, over anything else (as any person in their right mind should), playing house in a home where vengeful spirits lurk is something at the bottom of my bucket list (if I were to take the time to make one, that is). So I've always considered it unthinkable that characters in horror movies continually, and blatantly, ignore every warning sign that comes their way until it's much too late. It's bad enough that they wander through dark hallways and pitch-black staircases when an inexplicable bump in the night makes itself known, and it's bad enough that they'd prefer to emulate the characters of "Friday the 13th" rather than the ones of "Scream." Even during one of the best horror movies of the decade, "The Conjuring," I was distracted by the fact that the fictional ensemble really felt the need to stay in a house that obviously had something against them, and by the fact that the characters were, unfortunately, based on real people who made many of the same, head-scratching mistakes. 2014's "Housebound," a New Zealand import, is a haunted house movie, but don't expect it to insult your intelligence in the ways that so many other entries in the genre do. The characters do stay in the said haunted house much longer than we might, but only because its scrappy main is suspicious that it isn't actually a bed of supernatural terror responsible for all the mayhem, and that there might be more than what meets the eye. Tropes are here too (ranging from such classics as Killer That Wouldn't Die to I'm In Danger But the Police Think I'm Crazy), but, being a horror comedy, "Housebound" plays with them and puts a wickedly humorous spin on its aftereffects. It's a fun, bloody monkeyshine of a thriller perfect for horror buffs and inviting for the outsider who can deal with the humor of "Re-Animator" but not the gore. In "Housebound," a first-rate Morgana O'Reilly stars as Kylie Bucknell, a ne'er-do-well put under house arrest after a botched robbery attempt. With a past consisting mostly of drugs, crime, and bad men, she's all but said goodbye to her family, bridges burned and relationships severed. But house arrest is a tricky thing, and Kylie doesn't have the kind of home the law is looking for. And so she is placed in the very same two-story that she grew up in, a scenario nothing less than a nightmare for a born rebel. As always, Kylie doesn't get along with her mother (Rima Te Wiata), who is middle-aged and is fed a steady diet of gossip magazines and infomercials, and she certainly doesn't like her stepfather (Ross Harper). She watches the clock as if it might bring her some relief, desperate to again be a part of a world that doesn't live off of nine-to-five jobs and mild-mannered sweetness. But a little while after arriving at her temporary living quarters does Kylie begin to notice that something is a bit off about her childhood home. Strange noises flicker in and out during the night. A presence seems to be watching her during all hours of the day. Objects disappear and move as if the house were occupied by yet another person. So, being bored and curious as to why the home seems to be out to get her, she does some Nancy Drew style snooping. And, sure enough, it's clear that we're not dealing with your regular old - shall I say it again? - haunted house. The writing and directing debut for Gerard Johnstone, "Housebound" is an excellently macabre lark that increases in charm the more time we spend with it. Nifty and quick-witted, with hints of valid darkness, it thrills as often as it brings us to fits of laughter, and there isn't a thing wrong with liking a couple of dashes of humor to go along with your entre of horror. Johnstone has more than a handful of tricks up his sleeve, concocting a genuinely compelling whodunit, and I especially like how he writes Kylie not as a weak Woman In Trouble but as a Woman in Trouble who's annoyed with being in trouble but luckily has the street smarts to get herself out of it. At this point in the later day horror genre, you might be pressed to find an oddity as charismatic as "Housebound." Sure, you've got a few indie mini-masterpieces here and there, but this one has meat on its bones, never feeling like an homage to when the genre was at its peak. It is very much itself, and I'm curious to see what dulcetly black offering Johnstone will come up with next.