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[Fantastic Fest] ‘The Boy Behind the Door’ review: Young take on an old premise

Are strong characters enough?

A common occurrence in horror movies is the aborted escape. A victim is about to get away but come back to save a friend after their hearing their cries for help. Making its world premiere at Celebration of Fantastic Fest, The Boy Behind the Door takes a different approach.

Bobby and Kevin are two best friends on the same little league team. One day the two are kidnapped and taken to an unknown house. Bobby manages to escape but turns around to save his friend. What follows is a deadly game of catch me if you can.

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The Boy Behind the Door is a tense experience. Bobby escapes fairly quickly. Much of the movie’s drama is centered around the game of cat and mouse between Bobby and his captors. This is one of the film’s biggest strengths and weaknesses.

The film is naturally engaging by default. The large house is filled with rooms to hide (and nearly be discovered) in. The Boy Behind the Door also does a good job of never staying still for too long. There is a strong sense of urgency during the entire movie.

Because of this close setting, it also stands out more when Bobby makes odd decisions. Checking an electronic safe that beeps loudly is probably not the best idea when trying to hide, for example. There is also a scene involving cleaning a large pool of blood that stretches credibility.

[Fantastic Fest] 'The Boy Behind the Door' review: Young take on an old premise

The Boy Behind the Door does an excellent job of highlighting the bond between Bobby and Kevin. It starts with the type of innocent promise many have made during childhood. The depth of their friendship is shown throughout the movie as the situation escalates.

Equally impressive is the performance of the antagonist. They are the embodiment of evil, pure and simple. There is no attempt to explain or justify their actions – nor does there need to be. The characters in the movie are well written and will garner emotion from audiences.

The Boy Behind the Door takes a common horror movie premise and puts a new spin on it. There have been plenty of films that have seen kids take on a villain. This one is much more grounded in reality, leading to a thriller filled with anxious moments.

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