Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Tag

Housebound (2014)   7 comments

aaahouseposter

Sentenced to house arrest after getting in trouble…again, Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly) returns to her childhood home in rural New Zealand to spend the next eight months at home with her mom and step-dad.  Kylie’s a bit miffed about this and takes it out on her mother, Miriam (Rima Te Wiata).  She sits around drinking all day and makes a mess for her mother to clean up.  She resists counseling and is generally obnoxious.  She won’t even let her mom watch Coronation Street.

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Kylie says darn a lot.

Soon after her arrival, Kylie starts hearing things and gets the feeling she’s being watched.  After talking to her mom she learns that she too has been hearing things for years.  Their neighbor, Amos (Glen-Paul Waru), who is also the technician who fitted Kylie with her surveillance anklet, believes in the paranormal and begins to monitor the house.  Kylie discovers her home once served as a halfway house for kids with psychological issues and that one of them was stabbed sixty-seven times with a carving fork.  Now, she has something to think about.  She and Amos think the spirit haunting the house belongs to the murdered girl.  Kylie finds a cache of souvenirs under a floorboard.  She also finds dentures.  After reading old newspaper accounts of the crime, they learn the girl was bitten.  Could the murderer have lost dentures while biting the child?  Armed with this theory, Kylie and Amos come up with a possible killer.  The two amateur sleuths launch an investigation with a lot of twists.

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Director, Gerard Johnstone does a nifty job pulling you in different directions.  As soon as you think you know the answer, he changes the question.  Johnstone wrote the story as well and filled it with fun dialogue and tense situations.  When Kylie says her method of dealing with a ghost is a punch to the face, Amos counters with, “You don’t punch ectoplasm.”  Fun stuff.

aaabear

“I ate Ted for lunch.”

The soundtrack by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper has a quirky feel during quieter moments, but builds rhythmically, pounding faster as the tension mounts.

HOUSEBOUND keeps you guessing and entertained.  I like it a lot.  Because of the surprises and twists, I’ll stop now before I give the game away.  The film is a happy surprise full of flawed and interesting characters.  Kylie is a strong woman who comes off as a real jerk at the start, but she doesn’t take any crap and that’s fun to watch.  I hope Gerard Johnstone writes another film soon.

aaaboo

Hey, Boo.

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Deathgasm (2015)   Leave a comment

deathgasm poster

Brodie’s mom is out of town. Actually, she’s serving a stretch for a meth-induced sexual assault on a shopping mall Santa. His mom’s indiscretions force Brodie to live with his aunt and uncle who he describes as “balls deep into Jesus Christ”. It doesn’t go well.

Brodie (Milo Cawthorne), a self-described metal head, wears leather and studs and listens to Skullfist and Nunslaughter. He doesn’t fit into life in the boondock suburbs of New Zealand until he meets Giles, Dion, and Zakk. Together, the four outcasts form a band. When they find a piece of music that summons demons to earth, the teenagers and their friend Medina (Kimberley Crossman) have to battle their newly demonic neighbors to gain control of their town and send the evil beings back to hell.

Part Carrie, part Footloose, and part Shaun of the Dead on steroids, Deathgasm tells the story of a lonely outsider who decides impulsively to take revenge on all the people who’ve mistreated him by using satanic powers to wreak havoc on his town. You know, Tuesday.

Like the title character in Carrie, we get to know Brodie and we like him. He has tattoos and 8 Foot Sativa posters and he’s a bit of a smartass, but he’s a sweet guy. Listening to death metal takes him out of his sad existence.

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Brodie’s heavy metal daydreams.

Unfortunately, it also unleashes evil forces which threaten to end all life on earth. Love, loyalty, betrayal, and sacrifice all play parts in this story of high school angst and zombies.

Director Jason Lei Howden keeps the pace brisk and the extreme violence comical in his first full-length feature. You have to love a film in which the main character chainsaws his aunt, kills a half naked zombie with a weed wacker, and beats his uncle to death with a marital aid. I like that Brodie and Zakk (James Blake) weren’t all good or all bad and that Medina, though blond, had a brain. She could also handle an axe like a lumberjack.

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Medina takes no prisoners.

Deathgasm moves fast and doesn’t always go where you think it will. I cared about the kids and hoped they’d vanquish the newly demonic. The cast, who were all new to me, did a terrific job portraying misfits forced to save the world. The music fit perfectly and the broad slapstick humor worked. A few scenes stood out. After shooting a video for their new band, the eponymous Deathgasm, Brodie runs into his crush, Medina, who asks him to have an ice cream with her. Brodie and Medina sit on a park bench and enjoy their cones with Brodie in full heavy metal makeup. It’s funny and sweet. Another favorite scene has the math teacher, newly zombified, facing a pretty fresh-faced girl and vomiting blood on her for a reeeaaaallly long time. Disgusting, yes, but also funny.

Deathgasm is creative and funny. It tells a story of teen friendship and love set against a backdrop of heavy metal music and satanic undead killers. Brutal, man.

ice cream

Awww.

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