‘The Boy Behind the Door’ Review: Best Friends in Peril
Bobby and Kevin are tied up and gagged in a car trunk. Once Kevin is out and whisked away, Bobby is left inside, but he manages to let go of his restraints and squirm. Instead of running for his life, Bobby heads for the sprawling house where Kevin is being held captive: “Friends until the end,” the pals had sworn to each other.
You know that promise will keep, because 12-year-old boys like these two take these matters seriously.
Bad, bad things happen to Bobby (Lonnie Chavis, Randall in “This Is Us”) and Kevin (Ezra Dewey) in the horror-tinged kidnapping thriller “The Boy Behind the Door”. And, it must be said, for the most part they happen onscreen. This is not common in American outings, where child abuse tends to be suggested, metaphorical, or abstract caricatured. David Charbonier and Justin Powell’s film eschews exploitation, however, because while the camera doesn’t look away from Bobby and Kevin’s woes – there is blood – it does so in a clinical, almost neutral way that, again, we are not used to seeing it applied to children. (Some viewers may find this detachment very unpleasant.)
“The Boy Behind the Door,” which airs on Shudder, leaves no room for anything other than brutally straightforward suspense mechanics: Bobby spends the entire movie trying to free Kevin while avoiding their captors, including Kristin Bauer van Straten , of “True Blood”, as an opaque embodiment of capricious evil.
We don’t know why the two were kidnapped, or what their world is like other than playing on a softball team – the movie never cuts, say, anxious parents. Charbonier and Powell, themselves childhood friends from Detroit, focus on the boys’ allegiance to each other with unwavering focus.
This intentional minimalism is also the reason why the film does not transcend its virtuoso, almost abstractly tense narrative. Especially when a few confusing and catchy flourishes creep in unnecessarily, notably a scene that borrows from an ultra-famous scene from “The Shining”. And why, exactly, put a Make America Great Again bumper sticker on the kidnapper’s car? The real world creeps into the stylized suspense with a thud rather than an invigorating jolt.
The boy behind the door
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 28 minutes. Look on Frisson.
#Boy #Door #Review #Friends #Peril