29th Philadelphia Film Festival: ‘The Boy Behind The Door’ Reviewed

by Rachel Bellwoar

The Boy Behind the Door

Written and Directed by David Charbonier and Justin Powell

From la de da, look at that car driving by to oh sh*t, there are two kids in that trunk. Anyone who’s seen a trailer for The Boy Behind the Door won’t exactly not see that reveal coming but it’s still a difficult image to stomach. Then again, those looking for “easy” are probably better off skipping this movie. Like some of the best horror films, it’s a movie carried by kids.

Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and Kevin (Ezra Dewey) are two best friends, tossing a ball around. When Kevin doesn’t come back from fetching the ball, though, Bobby goes looking for him and that’s how he ends up kidnapped, too.

Bobby never has to look for Kevin. They were by themselves in the field and when Bobby gets left behind in the trunk, he manages to escape by himself. It’s not like he walks up to the kidnapper’s house thinking a stranger will answer the door and help them, but Bobby can’t leave his best friend behind, and that kind of loyalty is the exception, not the rule.

Within this traumatizing ordeal Charbonier and Powell have written is a rare and beautiful friendship and that’s what keeps this movie afloat. Bobby and Kevin are the film’s beating heart. The ax might be out of The Shining. You can be an armchair critic if you want and nitpick Bobby’s choices, but it’ll only make you feel horrible (and besides that, there’s really not that much to critique). The danger the adults pose is constant, but they only appear on screen sparingly (and there are some great TV actors involved). Rather it’s Chavez who viewers spend most of the film with and, having cut his teeth on This Is Us, there’s no emotion he can’t hit. I can’t promise you won’t be tense while watching, but that just means the film is working.

The 29th Philadelphia Film Fesitval runs from October 23rd to November 2nd. Click here for the full program.

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