My Rating: 4 stars
Those crazy New Zealanders have really been on a roll. I’ve been enjoying just about every film that’s come out of that country over the last several years. I’ve been watching movies in all different genres—horror, comedy, heartwarming coming-of-age stories. But one element that seems to be a common thread throughout them all is that they’re all very quirky. There’s a dark humor that runs just under the surface of all these stories, whether they’re billing themselves as funny movies or not. And, I love that kind of thing. Just about any movie can be improved with a little bit of a sense of humor.
This movie is a horror flick. And, it really does feel like a straight horror—not a horror-comedy. The script is never overtly asking for a laugh from the audience. But, that New Zealand-style absurdity is infused into the script. So, while this movie is very scary and suspenseful, it’s also one of the most hilarious stories ever when you think back on it. This is the story of a young juvenile delinquent, Kylie. She’s been dragged into court for vandalizing property once again, but this time the judge decides to give her one of those experimental sentences. He realizes that Kylie is a fundamentally good kid, and that jail time never really turned anyone’s life around. So in lieu of imprisonment, he’s sentenced Kylie to six months of house arrest at her mother’s house. Mom is a scatterbrained, gossipy chatterbox, and Kylie is pretty sure that she’s going to be driven completely insane by the ordeal.
But, her mom is the least of her worries after she starts to notice some really weird things happening around the house. Creaks and groans in the walls. Doors opening and closing on their own. Creepy old electronic toys turning themselves on and scaring everyone. Plus, Kylie’s mom is pretty sure that the house is haunted after it’s been revealed that a murder had taken place in the house decades before. Kylie would like to investigate things a little further—starting with her creepy next-door neighbor—but her ankle bracelet is keeping her within a very tight radius of the house. To add insult to injury, her parole officer is pretty sure that Kylie is just off her meds and is hallucinating everything. What a nightmare!
This is a really good movie, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes horror films. Like I mentioned earlier, the movie is very funny. But, this really is a straight horror film. It relies on suspense and misdirection to create tension. I found myself holding my breath during really nerve-wracking scenes. So, the movie isn’t for everyone. I’ve become relatively immune to scary movies lately, and I found this one to be pretty exciting. So, I think it’s definitely worth checking out.