(Coming Soon) - Housesitters (2018) - Reviewed

A shoe string miracle, conceived on a soiled mattress in a motel marijuana den, and grown to maturity in a post social media purgatory, Housesitters is a deviously slick horror-comedy and an undisputed champion of guilty pleasure films.  Jason Coffman's debut features a hilarious ensemble performance and a razor-sharp script, both which are ingredients in a potent refutation of a generation consigned to the hell of underachievement and mediocrity.

Izzy (A pot dealer) and Angie (“Currently seeking employment.”) have a side job housesitting, in which they spend days in the homes of strangers getting high and eating take out.  Things take a dark turn on their latest job when they discover occult signs in blood in the basement, which they choose they ignore.  Coffman's screenplay is surprisingly biting, taking every opportunity to lambaste the ridiculousness of early adulthood in a world of casual sex, esoteric rituals, and platinum visas.  Dappled with scenes of cartoonish violence, critical pornography analysis, and a few scenes of unexpected gravity, the self-contained world of Coffman's design is one of playful mayhem with an undercurrent of sadness.  This is what makes Housesitters special.  On the surface, where the low budget shows, the film appears to be a modern bacchanal of wasted potential, poking fun at those who remain outside nuclear family expectations.  However, underneath the revelry is a story about losing one’s entire existence to darkness entwined with a Sartre-esque take down of societal expectations and the company of others.  

Jamie Jirak and Annie Watkins' performances as Izzy and Angie are the foundation of the film.  Their comedic timing enhances what could have been a forgettable affair with both dedication to Coffman's vision and the type of chemistry one would find with lifelong friends.  Jolene Vega's cinematography has a restrained quality that reminds the viewer that despite the antics, there is danger everywhere.  While there is an undeniable Evil Dead vibe throughout, Housessitters is its own animal, eschewing jump scares and gratuitous violence in favor of the most terrifying thing of all: watching lives lived without purpose.  

Coming hopefully soon to the festival circuit.  Housessitters is a dirty shot glass full of bong water.  Deftly avoiding the confines of an extremely low budget to create a story about lust, take out menus, and demonic possession, Coffman shows that he has a lot more to offer to a genre he clearly loves.  Featuring a brilliant intermission sequence and a truckload of VHS charm, this one is not to be missed. 

--Kyle Jonathan