Following its premiere at South by Southwest, Housebound is mentioned as one of this year’s genre essentials. A twisty horror-comedy that is entirely its own thing, with close to manic acting by Morgana O´Reilly as insolent and vicious failed criminal Kylie, sentenced to house arrest in her childhood home, which her chatterbox of a mother guarantees is haunted. When said haunting proves anything but babble, Kylie takes matters into her own hand, resolved not to take any crap by irate ghosts.

Bold and more than a little audacious, director/writer/editor Gerard Johnston’s debut feature pulls the sheets over conventional tropes. Where most horror-comedies exploit ludicrous premises and relies on telegraphing the silliness of the supernatural, Housebound springs to life by taking itself and its horror seriously. The humor comes organically from the characters themselves and their often deadpan delivery and reactions. Tonally comparable to Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, it is smart, technically brilliant and delightfully spine-tingling.

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