The Boy Behind the Door is every parent’s worst nightmare, a film centered on two young boys caught in a dire situation. The film had its world premiere last night at Fantastic Fest, and it was a hit. It draws attention to child abduction, and sex trafficking, which is probably why landing a distributor might be an issue. However, this is a very relevant film that addresses a dark subject matter and is capped off by two stellar child performances.
This has been the year of timely films, and The Boy Behind the Door is at the top of that list. While logically flawed, the film packs a very important message about friendship and wants to be a statement against the heinous rings that exist around the world. The Boy Behind the Door is so relentless it might cause parents to keep a closer eye on their children. Directed and written by David Charbonier and Justin Powell, the film stars Lonnie Chavis, Ezra Dewey, Scott Michael Foster, and Kristin Bauer Van Straten. The Boy Behind the Door follows two best friends, Bobby (Chavis) and Kevin (Dewey), who are abducted during the day while playing. After being taken to a house, Bobby quickly escapes but returns to save his friend from the danger within.
While very engaging from start to finish, this film rushes to its point and you don’t really get to know the two kids. Still, the predicament they are placed in will be enough to get audiences on their side. The villains in the film aren’t that fleshed out either, but they are child traffickers and that’s all that matters. The Boy Behind the Door does a terrific job of showing the strong bond between these two best friends because Bobby will not leave this house without Kevin. Most of the film is Bobby running around the house trying to dodge his captors, and this bridges into a few homages from other classics like The Shining. Usually, the bad decisions characters make are unforgivable, but these are two kids behaving just how two scared kids would behave in this horrific situation. Overall, this script is solid and the bond between Bobby and Kevin will keep everyone invested.
Chavis and Dewey are incredible, these two actors are examples of the talent child actors can possess. They easily will draw you in with their cries and screams, as they beautifully bring Bobby and Kevin to life. The interactions they share are spectacular to watch and Chavis is giving it his all here as Bobby. He is our focus for most of the film, taking us on this thrilling cat and mouse adventure that resembles a twisted version of Home Alone. When you have two kids in peril, it may become too intense for some, but these two young stars are phenomenal in The Boy Behind the Door.
Charbonier and Powell have crafted a fast-paced thriller that should help bring attention to these real-world issues. These two snatch you up and refuse to let go till every hair on your back is raised. The ways they create fear out of these lingering shots of shadows and intimidating standoffs throughout the house is amazing. The Boy Behind the Door starts off very innocent and quickly becomes a nerve-racking ride that raises the tension with each passing moment. Anton Sanko’s score only adds to the danger lurking in the shadows for these two best friends, it accompanies the intense faceoffs wonderfully. Also, it needs to be said that this film’s message is made loud and clear, and it never comes off as exploitative.
The Boy Behind the Door follows familiar beats, copies a few scenes from better films, but still delivers an engaging adventure that brings attention to a growing issue that a lot of people aren’t concerned with. A heart-pounding thriller that deserves a theatrical release, but probably won’t get the recognition it deserves. A call to action that gets brought to life by two rising actors who deserve every bit of praise they are destined to get.