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Housebound Kylie Bucknell and mum, Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Ross Harper, Ryan Lampp

Housebound: after robbing an ATM machine Kylie Bucknell is sentenced to house arrest for eight months, but her old family home appears to be haunted. All of the setup, paranormal and haunting stuff absolute dynamite; but has the side-effect that the murder mystery in the second half feels a touch inferior – although it’s still wildly entertaining. Branded as a “Horror Comedy” I’d argue that it’s more a black comedy that is set in a haunted house – although this isn’t a bawdy spoof. The comedy writing and delivery is outstanding (in a NZ deadpan way) with a lot of great genre and trope gags that create a fun and off-kilter tone where even things like a juvenile delivery of  “do they?” sends you properly ROFLing. The rickety house setting is reminiscent of Braindead (aka Dead Alive), but Housebound doesn’t lean on – or borrow from – it much, with only a few splashes of gore, and its eye firmly on the comedy prize. Housebound is a fantastic directorial debut: the story’s well told, it looks great, but most importantly – it’s really really funny, letting it stand proudly alongside Tucker and Dale Vs Evil and Cabin in the Woods. Believe the hype.

Score: 8.5/10

Housebound Cast Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Ross Harper, Ryan Lampp

Housebound Amos Pointing Recording, Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, Cameron Rhodes, Ross Harper, Ryan Lampp

Chopping Mall Killbots Julie Corman, Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Angela Aames, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller

Chopping Mall (aka Killbots): it’s the near-future, where mall cops have been replaced by security robots, and “absolutely nothing can go wrong,” but a couple of lightning strikes later… yuuup, things are going wrong for a bunch of “teenagers” stuck in the mall overnight. If one thing defines this film, it’s the knuckle-chewing levels of cheese present in every scene. All characters are hyper-generic (nerd, wallflower, hunk, party boy) and the dialogue / delivery is terrible across the board – even the cool and quotable lines like “Let’s go send those fuckers a Rambo gram!!” The film plods through as a by-the-numbers pedigree b-movie, that’s not quite bad enough to be so-bad-it’s-good – but everyone seems to know how bad it is, and rolls with it anyway. Shopping centre boffins will note that this looks very similar to the one from Commando!! Chopping Mall just isn’t as shocking, gory or violent as the ‘slasher’ title would suggest; it just ends up feeling like a 1950s sci-fi film with a 1980s face-lift.

Score: 3/10

Chopping Mall Killbots 02 Julie Corman, Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Angela Aames, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller

It’s like Krieger’s robot and Cheryl/Carol from Archer!

Chopping Mall Killbots 03 Julie Corman, Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, Suzee Slater, Paul Bartel, Angela Aames, Mary Woronov, Dick Miller“Where the shopping can cost you an arm and a leg”