Scrolling through Netflix’s horror genre, it is a sea of one and two star shit-shows. We spotted one with four stars and jumped on it. Housebound is a 2014 film from New Zealand. What this means to American audiences is that the characters speak with accents and drive on the wrong side of the road. The premise: A young woman named Kylie commits a crime and is sentenced to 8 months of house arrest…with her mother and step-father in the house she grew up in. She’s surly and rude, but things get interesting when she overhears her mother confess that she thinks the house is haunted. With the help of the security guy that monitors her ankle bracelet compliance, she discovers that her home was once a halfway house for fucked up kids and that a 16 year old girl was murdered there. There are weird sounds and a super-fucked-up Teddy Ruxpin-ish bear. Meanwhile a creepy neighbor looms and Kylie’s mom babbles non-stop. Is it a ghost? A demon? Or is something of flesh and blood hiding in the house?
Though the film is not meant to be a spoof (I don’t think…who can tell with kiwis?), Housebound manages to be both funny and quite scary. I think this would have scared me much more if I’d watched in the dark instead of at noon while eating a turkey sandwich. I have no complaints about this, nor saw any errors. I agree with Dana that the actress playing Kylie seemed too old for the part, but she was very good. Brave though frightened, she was a real heroine. Don’t be misled by my Afghan rating. It’s very good. Just not butt-puckeringly scary.
We found this movie by just flicking through Netflix to see what we could find, and this just happened to be the movie we decided on. I thought it was a stretch to place the lead actor on house arrest for the crime she committed , especially given the age of the character. Well, the supposed age of the character, because we never really know, but it seemed that the actress was stretching to play the age of the character. But once through that, it was a fairly enjoyable movie to watch. Not a lot of horror or gore, with just a little bit of suspense, but with some mystery thrown in that has you constantly guessing what is really going on. Overall, a good movie to watch for those wanting a good movie, without being a typical, all out horror movie.
Dumplings is a Hong Kong film in Chinese with English subtitles. It’s available on Amazon Prime. The premise: A beautiful former actress (Miriam Yeung) in her mid-thirties feels her rich husband’s (Tony Leung) attentions waning. She seeks youthful rejuvenation in Aunt Mei’s (Bai Ling) famous black market dumplings. Since you find out in the opening scene, I will tell you what’s in the dumplings: aborted human fetuses. First trimester fetuses are very nutritious, but the most powerful rejuvenation powers come with second-trimester babies. These are, however, more difficult to acquire. Icky shit ensues.
What makes a horror movie? I asked myself this question a few times as I watched this film. Several times I found myself thinking “This isn’t scaring me.” But does a horror film need to scare you? Or just horrify you? Because I wasn’t scared but I was definitely horrified. This film is gory as fuck. You will see shit you never wanted to see and may never forget. But, this film is not about abortion, really. It’s about an imbalance of power between men and women. About how far a woman will go to hang on to her meal ticket. Does Mrs. Li really love Mr. Li? Or is she just afraid of being cast aside for a 20-year-old? As Aunt Mei says “Every man wants to fuck a 20-year-old body.” What depths will Mrs. Li sink to, what crimes will she command and commit to regain her youth? None of these characters are even a tiny bit likeable. This film was disgusting but compelling, but one aspect that felt forced was the sex scenes. I get that the filmmaker (Fruit Chan. I’m sorry, I laughed every time I saw it) was equating sex with youth/vitality, but it was sort of unnecessary. And though Tony Leung was crazy-hot in The Lover in 1992, now he has white hair and is not so bangable. But maybe that’s the point. Men stay attractive forever? Or money makes them fuckable? Mr Li basically fucks everyone in this film…as if he’s the only man in Hong Kong. I don’t know, maybe he’s the George Clooney of Hong Kong film. Anyway, this film is worth a watch if you can stomach fetal remains…so to speak.
Not scary, but disturbing.
Posted in Movie Reviews
- Tagged 31 Frightful Films, abortion, Bai Ling, cannibalism, Chinese films, Chinese George Clooney, Dumplings, Fruit Chan, Hong Kong film, horror movies, Miriam Yeung, October films, scary movies, Tony Leung