Doc Manson is back writing at the B-Movie Geek for SHOCKTOBER 2015! The quest? To watch 31 horror movies in 31 days. Today, we're talking about movie #3, a horror-comedy from New Zealand, Housebound, which is readily available for your consumption via Netflix Instant Streaming.
Housebound tells the story of wayward youth, Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O'Reilly), whom, after a botched ATM robbery during the film's opening minutes, finds herself sentenced to house arrest at her mother and step-father's creepy old house in the country. The disaffected youth has some difficulty adjusting to the quiet life back at home and, before Kylie has a chance to settle in, inexplicable happenings begin to occur. Before long it seems that the old country home might have some unwanted guests that never quite managed to vacate the premises after an untimely, violent end - if you get my ghostly drift.
I won't go into too many more details about the plot, as the film unfolds into a rather clever and satisfying little tale. Beyond the plot, then, I'd like to mention that the film has the honor of being one of the more subtle horror-comedies that I've seen in some time. Numerous events happen, but unlike a lot of films where slapstick elements rue the day, Housebound manages to keep an understated tone throughout its most humorous scenes. It comes across as a dry sense of humor, maybe unsurprising given the film's country of origin. It was a refreshing change from the more obliquely obvious comedic elements found in most other film's from the horror-comedy genre.
I feel like this review is a little short, but it's difficult to talk any more about the film without spoiling some elements of the plot. Given that I enjoyed the storytelling on display, I hesitate to spoil anything more here. Instead, I think I would encourage you to watch Housebound yourself. It's something of a slow burn, but the subtle humor gives it an energy that you don't often find.
The only other thing I'll say is to watch out for that cheese grater. Yeah, it gets used, and it gets used exactly like you think it will.
It's October and the B-Movie Geek, Doc Manson, is back to take the #Shocktober challenge! The quest? To watch 31 horror movies in the 31 days of October. Movie #2 is the WWE Studios produced slasher film, See No Evil 2. Full disclosure, this entry into my SHOCKTOBER journey was chosen due to its relevance to my current online activities as co-host of an online talk show about professional wrestling, the NAIborhood podcast.
As mentioned, the film was produced by WWE Studios and stars the Big Red Demon, Kane (Glen Jacobs). I actually thought that the first See No Evil was an OK slasher film, and that Kane's portrayal of Jacob Goodnight -stupid name aside- made for a great slasher antagonist. Kane, after all, is a legitimate 300-lb, 7-foot tall, muscular monster of a man; to say that he is physically imposing is an understatement.
In the sequel, Jacob Goodnight is now missing an eye (the result of the climax of the first film), and wears a clear mask. This provides a more distinctive, iconic look for the killer. Goodnight also makes less use of his chain-hook weapon in the sequel, which in theory ought to help increase variation in the kills. In reality, Goodnight tends to use his bare hands a lot more, and only occasionally makes use of some sort of amputation knife/bone saw combination weapon. Oddly, it also seems that the filmmakers felt as though the violence ratio of the film had to be increased, as nearly all of the kills from the first film appear here in flashback sequences.
I enjoyed the first film, but not everything about it worked, and some of that carries over to See No Evil 2. The whole God's Hand Killer moniker and the underlying religious motivations for the Jacob Goodnight character never quite gel. The religious undertones to the killings just don't seem justified in what is otherwise a standard slasher film. This is material better suited to a headier film.
Beyond that, I continue to think that Glen Jacobs is a fantastic choice to play a horror movie slasher. I say give this guy the hockey mask and give him a go as Jason in the next Friday the 13th (Come on, we all know it's coming sooner or later). I also loved the performances put in by Danielle Harris (Halloween, Hatchet II) and Katharine Isabelle (American Mary, Ginger Snaps).
Credit goes to the screenwriters, Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby, as they've woven in a couple of great moments into See No Evil 2. The standout is a scene in which one of the legs of a paraplegic man is skewered by a hook on a chain. This moment stuck out to me because, as would be expected, the man doesn't feel any pain in response to the violence against him. There's an odd sort of detachment in his reaction that the directors really translate to the audience through the deft use of visual and audio cues. It's a small moment, but it works well.
The Soska Sisters have directed a finely produced film, coaxed good performance from their actors, and delivered some above average cinematography. Seriously, the use of colors and clarity in certain shots of this film are way above the level of a direct to DVD film. In light of the many things done so well in this film, it's all the more disappointing then that the end sequence is so poorly executed.
In the film's final moments, Jacob Goodnight is stabbed by a large surgical needle and pumped full of embalming fluid. The embalming fluid sequence is just poorly shot; too much time elapses between the stabbing and the activation of the fluid pump mechanism. The scene lacks any sort of proper cadence, marring the tension in what is otherwise a fulfilling and creative end to the antagonist.
That said, I'll watch another one. I guess you could say, I'd be glad to See More Evil.
OK, that was funnier in my head.