In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Toronto After Dark, I will be revisiting one film from each year of the festival. Please be aware that these discussions may include SPOILERS.
Revisiting Toronto After Dark 2014: Housebound
Well, the tenth edition of Toronto After Dark begins this evening and we have reached the final post of my trip through the festival’s history. Last year was probably one of the biggest years for Toronto After Dark, which was headlined by films such as the audience award winning Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead, the post-apocalyptic zombie film Wyrmwood, and the highly anticipated closing film The Babadook. The film that I am revisiting from 2014 is the New Zealand horror-comedy Housebound.
Housebound is a film with a relatively simple premise. A delinquent girl named Kylie (Morgana O’Reilly) is sentenced to house arrest in her parent’s house, which is apparently haunted. While Housebound is ultimately a comedy, featuring the very familiar New Zealand brand of humour, the film also features some very real scares, as Kylie investigates what is happening in the house.
It’s hard to talk in-depth about Housebound without heavily going into SPOILER territory, so take this as a warning to stop reading now. I think one of the most interesting aspects of Housebound is how it crisscrosses multiple genres. For at least the first two thirds of the film, it is believed that a ghost is haunting the house. However, it turns out to be an odd reclusive man named Eugene (Ryan Lampp), who is living in the walls, in an apparent allusion to Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs.
At first Kylie believes that Eugene is a crazed killer, who murdered a girl when the building was a halfway house. However, it turns out that the true killer was Kylie’s psychiatrist Dennis (Cameron Rhodes), which marks the point where Housebound turns into a slasher film, with Kylie and her mom running to hide from Dennis. Ultimately it is Eugene who comes to save the say, in the form of an electrified fork and the film’s biggest gory gag.
Housebound is ultimately a pretty fun comedy, which straddles many different types of horror film. It is a film that exemplifies what Toronto After Dark is all about!