The Boy Behind the Door
the boy behind the door | david charbonier | justin powell | lonnie chavis | ezra dewey | kristin bauer van straten | mystery | thriller | united states | kidnap | micah hauptman | scott michael foster | rich ceraulo ko | anna b. shaffer
Film: The Boy Behind the Door
Directors: David Charbonier and Justin Powell
Writers: David Charbonier and Justin Powell
Starring: Lonnie Chavis, Ezra Dewey and Kristin Bauer van Straten
This is a movie that I got turned on to thanks to it appearing on a list of the better reviewed horror films from this year on Shudder. I decided to give this a watch for my year end list of movies to see if this could be a potential top ten movie or not. Aside from that, I came into this one blind and not necessarily knowing what it was about. The synopsis is after Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and his best friend Kevin (Ezra Dewey) are kidnapped and taken to a strange house in the middle of nowhere. Bobby manages to escape, but then he hears Kevin’s screams for help and realizes he can’t leave his friend behind.
We start by getting the lay of the land. It feels like it is early in the morning and we’re following a car as it travels far enough from civilization. There are dense forests and oil wells. The car comes to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Kevin is removed from the trunk and Bobby is left there. The movie then shifts us 6 hours into the past to show how they ended up here.
From this point, we are following Bobby as he gets free from the car. He tries to get his bearings and like the synopsis said, he decides to go into the house to free his friend of Kevin. He meets locked doors. Their kidnapper is watching television and we don’t get to see their face at first. Bobby sneaks around the house and in the process, he makes noise that draws attention. This creates an interesting game of cat and mouse.
Our kidnapper then leaves when a creep shows up, played by Micah Hauptman. Bobby hears him talking to Kevin and this ramps the tension up for him to try to save his friend before it is too late. Fear grows and trying to stay hidden isn’t easy as time goes on. Bobby can communicate with his friend, but can he find a way to get to him from behind the locked door before it is too late?
That is going to be where I’ll leave my recap for this movie because to be honest, there isn’t a lot to the story. We get a glimpse of the predicament they are in and then we learn about them a bit after that. These two best friends are on the same baseball team. They want to go to California together. This felt a bit weird. Now I did see some trivia that this movie is based on a friendship of the writers/directors David Charbonier and Justin Powell. It also sounds like they look fairly like the characters as well. There is something here that I want to be honest about, I got vibes that they have deeper feelings than just friends. Now both are a bit young to fully know their sexuality, but that is what it felt like. Not that there was anything wrong there, but it was interesting when that they want to run away together without showing one of them having a rough life at home. This could be hinting at them wanting to make movies, but it doesn’t add a lot to the overall story. Not saying this is an issue, but something I wanted to explore here.
With that taken care of, this movie is every parent’s nightmare. To be honest, I’d go as far to say this could be a trigger warning for someone who can’t handle to see things like this. The boys are kidnapped. From what we discover as the movie goes on, this could be sex trafficking or the very least for them to be molested in this house. I did like seeing Bobby’s fight for survival. I’m not saying that Kevin doesn’t have it too, but his friend is free for most of the movie and that allows him to move around the house. Kevin does have some things that happen to him as well. No children should have to go through what they do. It is empowering to see what they’re willing to go through to survive and save each other. Going along with them being taken, the reveal of who is behind it was something I wasn’t necessarily expecting and I thought it made for an interesting way to go.
I don’t think there is anything more I need to go into for the story, so I’ll go to the acting. Our two boys here were solid enough. Seeing what both Chavis and Dewey go through was a lot. I thought the fear and the pain looked real to me. The only time I had issues here would be when they needed to go deeper with the drama. It isn’t horrible and I recognize they’re young so that could explain it. Kristin Bauer van Straten was good in her role along with Hauptman. Aside from that, we have some police officers and they work for what was needed here, especially Scott Michael Foster as he arrives for a reveal. The acting was solid across the board despite some minor hiccups.
Then really the last things to go into would be the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, they went practical with everything that they could. I thought that it looked good and there were a couple of things that made me cringe. That is usually ticking a box in the positive category when you can do that. There should be a bit more blood for some of the wounds, but I’m not going to hold that against the movie. The cinematography is good as well. There are some great establishing shots that were nice to look at. It helps to ramp up the tension when we see Bobby sneaking around with the captors in the house. Other than that, I think the music we get helps with the atmosphere. The sound design also is solid when our boys are separated. This helps as well to build tension.
In conclusion here, this is an interesting take on a terrifying, real-life crime. This isn’t based on a specific one, but this happens more regularly than it should. I like that we are taking these two boys and having them fight for survival against adults. They’re isolated, alone and terrified which is a good start. The acting I thought was good. There were some slight issues, but nothing to ruin the movie. The effects we get are good as well along with solid cinematography. Soundtrack and the sound design are good to help build tension. This movie is solid. I’m glad that I got around to seeing this one and didn’t sleep on it. I’d say this is an above average movie just missing out on being good in my opinion.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10