I had nothing planned for today’s post. Therefore, I thought this would be the ideal place to start one (of several) experiments for this blog: Netflix Roulette. On those days I have nothing planned (i.e. not seeing a movie in theater, not revisiting a classic, nothing I feel the need to rant about, etc.) I will let Netflix pick a movie for me. Okay, so here are the rules: I will start up the Netflix app on my PS3, scroll down to the Horror subcategory, then I will use the random number generator app on my phone to select a number between 1 and 60, this number will indicate the number of seconds I will scroll through the list of movies, I will release my finger once I hit the magic number, and if the movie it stops on is new to me I’lll watch it, if not I will repeat the process until I get to a new one.
The magic number for today was 17… so, I started the clock and seventeen seconds later I landed on the movie Housebound. I had never heard of the film and after reading the Netflix description I didn’t know what to expect: “Which is worse: being held prisoner in a haunted house, or having your weirdo family in there with you?” To be honest, I was a bit haunted-house’d out after yesterday’s Poltergeist double-header. The good news? The average user review was nearly five stars.
I’m glad to say, it was apparent an hour and forty-seven minutes later that the Horror Gods were smiling down on me. This movie was a ton of fun… really creative… original… words I haven’t used to describe a horror movie in quite some time.
I didn’t know anything about the movie before going in… and still haven’t looked into it. I wanted to get my thoughts down before I let anything pull me away or push me towards a different opinion. The basic plot, without spoilers, is that a delinquent teenager in New Zealand is sentenced to eight months house arrest with her mother and step-father (who she hasn’t seen in years). The horror kicker is that the house may be haunted. What follows is a great mix of spooky, scary, startling, gory, and funny. The best way I can explain it is that it seems like the perfect mix of Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson pre-Lord-of-the-Rings (If you’re not sure what that means check out Bad Taste and Braindead (or by its North American title Dead Alive). The lead actress, Morgana O’Reilly, is perfectly cast, and her delivery is spot on… plus, she a pretty tough chick, which is super cool. There are a couple of standout scenes that do a great job of balancing horror and comedy: one is a scene of defiant urination and the other is a wickedly funny/scary scene in complete darkness.
Random thought: I taught a Comparative Criminal Justice Systems course last semester. I had my each of my students choose a country and discuss its criminal justice system. A couple of them chose New Zealand. One of the unique features of the country is that it has a very rehabilitative/welfare stance towards juvenile justice. I couldn’t help but wonder if the opening few scenes were speaking towards a political or social response to this policy. Anyone out there come from or spent much time in New Zealand recently? If so, what’s the general public’s response to this policy? If you’ve seen the movie (and if you haven’t you should), am I overanalyzing it (which, is always a distinct possibility with me)?
Oh, just did a bit of research and saw that there is an American remake in the works… that will be great… I’m sure (sorry, sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate to the written word).
Can’t wait to see what Netflix has in store for me tomorrow.