The Boy Behind the Door (2020)

The Boy Behind the Door (2020) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: The Boy Behind the Door
Year: 2020
Country: USA
Director: David Charbonier, Justin Powell
Main cast: Lonnie Chavis, Ezra Dewey, Kristin Bauer van Straten
Runtime: 88 minutes
Production company: Kinogo Pictures, Whitewater Films


I was excited to finally encounter face to face with the movie The Boy Behind the Door (2020). Since its premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 27, 2020, the movie has collected quite positive reviews, highlighting how tense and terrifying the film was. Well, with a reference like this, I was in! I needed to see this so-called new must-see of independent horror cinema. But, sadly, it didn’t go as expected.

For me, The Boy Behind the Door (2020) is predictable and boring. The duo of filmmakers formed by David Charbonier and Justin Powell debut in a feature film with a title that is pretentious but it fails because of its lack of content. Two kids trying to escape from their kidnappers, first from a car trunk and a basement, then from a very creepy house in the middle of nowhere, and later in the woods. Not much of the background story is shared, so the entire movie is held on the escaping quest. Well, it was a risky bet and it didn’t go as well as one would desire.

It is true that some background plot of human trafficking is mentioned, but as leaving the mystery for the imagination of the viewer to fill up the whole story is sometimes a powerful way to present the plot, this time it just added a feeling of a poorly developed global package of a film.

The filmmakers tried to focus on the creepiness of the stages, with a very sordid old house and later the cold arid darkness of the woods. But abusing of dark sequences can sometimes also turn against you when the audience can’t see what is going on because of the darkness of the sequences. The attempt to create a scary atmosphere becomes another negative point in the global scheme.

The main protagonists of this film are the two kids, played by Lonnie Chavis and Ezra Dewey, who manage to perform a credible enough act despite the surrounding emptiness of the whole production. The rest, pretty mediocre. The house works only because it’s old and dark, but not much extra personality is added – which in a movie of these sorts could have been a differential fact. The directors try to imprint a distinctive touch with some camera tricks and angles, but those are neither fresh enough, they never work to make the audience feel like part of the story. But, let’s also share a positive view, the screenplay, despite its big story shortfall, is at least fluid enough. With nothing else to offer, the escaping of the two kids never gets too tedious. Unsubstantial and hollow yes, but still watchable.

This is not a case of high expectations ruining a movie. I was indeed hyped before the watch, but it really lacks many pieces that can make a movie into a decent watch. Not even a memorable watch, just a decent one. I can see what the filmmakers aimed for, which perhaps wasn’t enough, but the execution didn’t either fulfill. For me, The Boy Behind the Door (2020) is a failed attempt at making an intense horror film, halfway from everything.

RATE: 4/10


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