March 14, 2022 The Boy Behind The Door (Movie Review)
Sometimes the most terrifying horrors are the ones that are grounded in realism – if the events on screen could conceivably happen in everyday life then that is truly something to be scared of. Set for release via RLJE Films on VOD, Digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray as of March 15, 2022, The Boy Behind the Door is the story of two young boys who are abducted…and so begins every parent’s worst nightmare.
Best friends Bobby and Kevin are on their way home together from baseball practice when they are ambushed and kidnapped. They wake up to find themselves trapped in the trunk of a car. Whilst one boy is taken into a house, the other boy manages to escape. However, when he hears the screams of his friend, he realizes that he cannot leave him behind.
The Boy Behind the Door marks the feature debut of Filmmakers David Charbonier and Justin Powell, who co-wrote and co-directed the film together. Lifelong friends, Charbonier and Powell bonded over Horror films and always wanted to make their own one. Inspired by their own friendship, they set out to make a horror that had strong foundations in both friendship and their love of the genre and The Boy Behind the Door certainly succeeds in honoring both of those elements.
Set in one location, the film could have easily been held back by its low budget constraints. However, quite the opposite happens and actually the singular location only helps to enhance the tension and unease throughout the film. The Boy Behind the Door is at its core a cat and mouse thriller and the constant threat of being caught is elevated by the limited number of hiding places.
The Boy Behind the Door is also elevated by the two central performances from Lonnie Chavis (White Famous series, This is Us series) and Ezra Dewey (Criminal Minds series, The Djinn 2021), who play Bobby and Kevin respectively. Both young actors display incredible diversity in being able to portray both the wide eyed innocence of youth as well as a deep set maturity where they deeply understand the futility of the situation that they have found themselves in. The audience is on tenterhooks throughout, rooting for these brave boys and praying for a good outcome. The friendship between the boys is at the heart of this film and Chavis and Dewey’s performances make that friendship feel completely believable and real.
The Boy Behind the Door may at its surface appear to be a straightforward and taut horror thriller film, however there are lots of details throughout the film which add interest for the audience. There are small messages of defiance – the MAGA sticker on the bumper of the villain’s car for example. There are also homages to horror classics and even little clues to later reveals.
Coming in at under ninety minutes, The Boy Behind the Door makes good use of its running time. Whilst, the film is not genre defining, it does feel genre diverse and is a film that will appeal to both Horror and Thriller fans. The subject matter is inherently dark, and this is a film with grim and unspeakable undertones. However, the focus on the staunch friendship between the boys and their refusal to leave each other means that a film that could have potentially felt very miserable and unrelenting is instead a film with a sense of goodness, hope and the meaning of true friendship. That is why Cryptic Rock gives The Boy Behind the Door 4 out of 5 stars.