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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Boy Behind the Door


Starring: Lonnie Chavis, Ezra Dewey, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Micah Hauptman and Scott Michael Foster
Distributor: Acorn Media International
RRP: £19.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 02 May 2022

Two twelve year-old boys are abducted on their way home from school and driven to an isolated house in an unknown location. While Kevin is shackled in a locked upstairs room whilst unconscious, Bobby wakes up within the confines of a car boot. Finally managing to kick his way, free he hears the cry of his best friend, who is undoubtedly incarcerated and in unknown peril in the house. He weighs going for help with the possibility of returning too late, before surreptitiously entering the house and watching events. As he moves around the house, he discovers there is a dangerous man and woman present with an unknown but violent agenda. Bobby will do anything to rescue his friend, but will it be enough...?

There are a number of ways in which you can describe this film. A game of cat and mouse, perhaps. It’s certainly a horror, which it is primarily promoted as; but I would classify it as more of a thriller in the same manner that Psycho straddles the two. I thought this was going to be a very slow burner, and it is to a point. But it’s worth sticking with as The Boy Behind the Door is very well structured by debut writing/directing duo David Charbonier and Justin Powell. There is a smooth choreography of the players and the house itself, which almost comes across as a character in itself with hidden secrets. The analogy of a little bit of the rope being played-out at a time comes to mind. In other words, there is always something intriguing happening, and the tension is ramped-up in stages.

Lonnie Chavis definitely requires a special mention here, as he carries the majority of the film single-handedly. The story is from Bobby’s perspective and, unlike many young characters in horror movies, is intelligent and level-headed. It is a refreshing angle. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his breakdown moment, which is significantly more natural than constantly going to pieces like in some flicks. The fact he constantly has something to do or to react to is down to the taut writing and direction, but just as much down to the actor. He acts his way through this one with aplomb – totally reeling the audience in and putting them on edge from the start – and so, correspondingly, deserves many plaudits. This may be a name to look out for in the near future.

It's great to receive another Shudder original horror Blu-ray for review from Acorn Media International; the majority of which have been excellent entertainment. Yes, there are some unanswered questions, but on this occasion it is kind of the point. Abductees wouldn’t necessarily know the reasoning behind their captors, or indeed have the whole story. The inference, however, is that it is for the entertainment of a hidden audience – as payment changes hand early on and there are cameras in a handful of locations within the house. Either way, it is a clever, nail-biting idea to have pre-teenage boys as the protagonists.


Ty Power

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