Hey Fella’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched about 40 minutes of this and hated it. Realized the problem wasn’t the film but me and my attitude. I walked away from it for a day and started it up again and I ended up enjoying it significantly more now. I wish film critics had more sense to try this. Engage with art on its own merits. Most art is doing something and trying to wrap your head around why that something connects with someone can be valuable. Even if you still upon trying this come away feeling very little or even total repulsion it was worth the extra effort rather than just dismissing the piece altogether for not fitting neatly into your sensibilities. This is why I go out of my way to watch films I know I’ll get something out of on some level and why I usually avoid writing explicitly negative reviews. There is some insights occasionally from harsh critiques but generally they don’t tell you much. What they ultimately do is tell you to avoid something rather than give you compelling reasons to approach it.
I could have written this about a number of films over the years but this just happened to be the most recent one to inspire this thought. I’m very passionate about the horror genre and I tend to have a negative gut reaction to films I feel are undercutting the genre with comedy or drowning it in drama as a way to subvert or elevate it respectively. Some even attempt both which I think sort of sums up Ari Aster’s career. I’ve relatively recently come around on his work as well and I did so by letting go of my preconceptions of what the genre ought to be. I’m still not completely sold, my issues remain, but the attempt to understand or reevaluate my thought process was worthwhile. In conclusion I don’t really have a lot to say about Housebound itself, I’ve just come away with being able to accept it for what it is and what it is works. Don’t ever think you’re lowering your standards or whatever by trying this, there’s no universal standard for an abstraction like art to even work with.