July 26, 2021
After tweens Bobby and Kevin are kidnapped on their way back from baseball practice, what follows is just about on the right side of palatable
The Boy Behind the Door review – child abduction thriller walks a tricky line
Here is an example of a rare phenomenon: a film in which children are the heroes that is not a children’s film on any level. In fact, David Charbonier and Justin Powell’s tightly confined and well-marshalled slasher-thriller walks a fine line: not only does it subject its two tween leads to multiple “scenes of threat”, but – and this is genuinely unusual – it shows tangible bodily harm being inflicted on them with enough frequency to make this a rather dismaying watch. Its best-friends-for-ever message is barely enough to keep the film on the right side of palatable.
Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and Kevin (Ezra Dewey) – 12 or 13 years old – are living their best lives, dreaming of California and getting in some baseball practice, when both of them are abducted and bundled into a car boot. Kevin is removed first, leaving Bobby to force his way out; he emerges in the garage of a remote and dingy house. He’s about to run for his life when he remembers their pledge – “Friends until the end” – so he does a 180° turn. Tiptoeing around the evil babysitter holding them hostage, he locates a whimpering Kevin in a locked room on the upper storey.
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