This week Jillian chose a film I’ve actually seen before. I didn’t remember that much about it if I’m honest, which would usually be a reflection on the film itself. In this case, I recall liking it but watching it late at night, and being a little delirious on tiredness, so I blame that for my fuzziness. I was more than happy to revisit it, as it pops up a lot on scary movie lists and I want to like it.
So thanks to Jillian for giving me the opportunity to see it again as part of this week’s Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab!
Where to Watch:
Kylie Bucknell is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. (via IMDB)
The Uncondensed Version:
Two thugs, one of whom reveals herself to be female, badly botch a robbery job one night and as a result, are caught red-handed. The girl, Kylie Bucknell (Morgana O’Reilly), ends up under house arrest at her mother’s. During the sentencing we learn that she has been in and out of rehabilitation facilities without success and the judge thinks all she really needs is stability. Hence Mum’s house.
Kylie is a cow, especially to her mother (but I would probably be the same under the circumstances) and lounges about the house like an insolent sack. She is fitted with an ankle tag that allows her only to the very edge of the garden otherwise she will be in breach of her probation terms.
She hogs the TV, eats all the food meant for others and is generally a miserable addition to the household. Miriam, Kylie’s mum, is a lovable gossip who likes nothing more than gabbing to her friends and Coronation Street. Graeme, Kylie’s step dad is a silent man, not one for conversation.
On her first night, Kylie hears her mother on the radio, speaking to a paranormal expert about their home. Miriam is convinced the house is haunted as weird things have been going on ever since they bought it 20 years previously. Kylie mocks Miriam about her beliefs, though Miriam is quick to remind her that she had the same opinion when she was a child. Kylie shakes it off as childish fantasy and goes back to being a bitch.
She is quickly reminded however, when she hears a phone ringing inside the house and goes looking for it in the cellar, which is full of junk, including a statue of Jesus and hundreds of dusty boxes and books. Just as she is giving up on her search downstairs, Kylie’s ankle tag starts to beep. Her foot is grabbed by a hand from underneath a piece of furniture and she freaks the eff out.
Her Mum comes downstairs and is skeptical about Kylie’s story, pissed that she has to go to work in a few hours. They hear someone upstairs and this scares them both as Graeme is on a night shift. Kylie creeps upstairs and takes out the intruder, who turns out to be Amos, the parole officer, who’s come in response to the trigger from Kylie’s ankle tag.
They explain what’s happened and rather than disbelieve them, Amos turns out to be an amateur paranormal enthusiast, who is delighted to help them out. (Amos is super adorable and by far the best character).
Later, Kylie is terrorised by a possessed Teddy Ruckspin who scares the shit out of her. She throws him on the fire only for him to later turn up while she showers. Amos comes and takes pictures and then takes the bear away, no closer to an answer about what is going on. Kylie thinks Amos doesn’t believe her.
Kylie receives a visit from a counselor, who is there to assess her mental health, I guess. They talk about his qualifications a bit. She isn’t particularly responsive to him. Back in her bedroom, Kylie is irritated by a creaking door so she removes it. The creaking doesn’t stop, however, and a small door in the skirting board pops open. Inside the cubby it reveals, Kylie finds a load of old toys, including some tap shoes. One of the boxes also contains some pictures of a young girl Kylie doesn’t know.
She boxes them up and has a little dance in the tap shoes. Her step dad, Graeme startles her by appearing out of nowhere and asks her to help him with something. Eventually she does. They chat, awkwardly as Graeme is not good at talking. He lets slip some facts about what the house used to be, her mum had told her it was a B&B which blates isn’t true.
Kylie remembers the boxes in the cellar and goes looking for clues. This is where she learns that the house had been a halfway house where a horrific murder had happened. Kylie is pissed off that Miriam has failed to tell her that a young girl called Lizzie was stabbed over 60 times to death in her bedroom.
Later Amos and Kylie discuss this case and Amos admits there is lots of negative residual energy about the place. They discuss what they can do but fail to make a decision. Kylie asks the police/parole board for a transfer somewhere else, which they won’t give her unless she can prove she is in danger/or a danger to others. Kylie orchestrates a mental relapse and throws the clothes dryer around a little bit before storming off.
The counselor, Dennis is present and he makes comment about how Miriam’s superstitions are having a negative affect on her daughter. Just then the lights go out. Miriam leaves the room to put them back on, as they are used to this happening. They flicker on for a second and we see a figure in a sheet standing over Dennis, before the lights go off again. Next thing we know, Dennis has been attacked and tangled up in the clothes dryer. He’s bleeding and whimpering.
This review is getting very, very long so I’ll try and keep it brief from hereon-in, otherwise we’ll be here forever. And also, I want to leave a few bits to the imagination.
Kylie is a suspect in the attack of Dennis, since she has pretty much just lost it violently in front of him and the cop. But she and Miriam stand by the fact he was attacked by a ‘vengeful ghost’. The next morning, Kylie decides she can’t take anymore and packs her things, ready to hot foot it out of town.
Obviously, Amos is there to meet her and he gives her a lecture on the ghost, who he believes is the spirit of Lizzie, the young girl stabbed to death in Miriam’s house all those years ago. He talks Kylie into giving a shit about Lizzie and agreeing to help her out, e.g. solving the mystery of what happened.
Kylie goes back to the house and tries to talk to Lizzie. As she does so there’s a banging coming from the out-of-service furnace, where Kylie finds a small box of goodies including a bag of weed and an old, valuable looking pocket watch. She also finds a pair of dentures in the furnace, which she is convinced hold the key to Lizzie’s death.
She tells Amos her theory, that Lizzie was a thief who pissed someone off so much that they killed her. As they talk they glance out of the window and see the neighbour, gutting a possum. They talk about how weird he is and Kylie jokes about the stench coming from his house but just as they are about to move on, he removes a set of dentures. They figure if his match the ones Kylie just found, they have their killer.
Cue some kerfuffle as they both break into the neighbour’s to get their hands on the dentures. I won’t spoil it, but it is genuinely tense and funny. One not so funny thing is that Kylie gets scared in the midst of all the action and mistakenly stabs Graeme in the stomach with a pair of shears and puts him in Intensive Care. Well, if you will keep sneaking up on people, Graeme.
While Kylie tries to make amends by actually helping around the house, Miriam is stoic. Meanwhile, Amos goes back to the neighbour’s house again where he stumbles across some truth bombs that change everything. Basically, everything is not as it seems and just because a man skins possums for fun, doesn’t make him a killer.
He tells Amos an odd story about a young boy called Eugene, who he took under his wing until he disappeared a year before Lizzie was murdered. Is this a major clue? (Spoiler: Yes).
While Kylie is putting the hoover away back at the house (which she struggles and then loses her temper with in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY I DO, EVERY TIME), she discovers a crawl space that leads to a secret room. She is shocked and terrified to note that there’s a man living inside the room: (Eugene)! He startles her/she startles him and there is a tussle.
There’s some to and fro here but basically nobody believes her when she tells them about Eugene and the secret room. Dennis and the bumbling cop from earlier come and sit in the house, and Dennis persuades Miriam that her daughter is bipolar and has imagined the whole thing. Since the cop then finds the bag of pot from earlier, they assume she’s stoned out of her box. While they are sitting and trying to calm Kylie down before taking her to yet another rehabilitation centre, Kylie notices that Dennis is wearing DENTURES. She gets Miriam to distract him while she refers back to the files in the basement.
Surprise surprise, we have our main suspect in the shape of creepy Dennis! Did he kill Lizzie? And if he did then why?
There are some action scenes, the cop is killed and Eugene steps up to help save the day. A man loses his head, Miriam is surprisingly kick arse and we get all the answers we need. But why, if Eugene witnessed Lizzie’s murder, didn’t he come forward? Does Lizzie’s spirit even exist? Does Amos make it? And what about poor Graeme in the hospital?
Well, only one way to find out, little ones!
This is a great film, full of darkly witty moments and genuine tension. It’s not needlessly gory but seems to pay homage to Peter Jackson at least once with it’s inventiveness. Kylie is a moody biotch but you root for her in the end.
Miriam is so perfectly Mum-like that I’m sure anybody who has spend time back at their ma’s house for any length of time would be able to identify with the challenge faced by both parties (not mine obviously!). I enjoyed this film immensely and long for more films of this nature, to counterbalance all the shit we get from Hollywood.
4 chattering teeth gifs out of 5
And what did my dear friend Jillian think? Pop over soon for her take.