SXSW 2019 – Review: BOYZ IN THE WOOD Is A Wacky And Entertaining Horror-Comedy


Best described as a mix of Moonrise Kingdom and The Purge, Boyz in the Wood is a hilarious horror-comedy with a great premise.
Technical Merit

Boyz in the Wood is a new horror-comedy directed and written by Ninian Doff and starring Eddie Izzard. The film tells the story of a group of four boys who set out on a camping trip to earn an award necessary to pass a class, only to discover that they are being hunted. It made its debut at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

The story of the movie is definitely very fun and wacky. There is an inherent goofiness to it, but if you are able to embrace this (and it’s not too hard to do so), you will likely love what the film has to offer. It is a mixture of Moonrise Kingdom and The Purge to amazingly entertaining effect. The plot moves along at a rapid pace, the movie clocking in at a short and breezy hour and a half.

One of the things that makes the film so enjoyable is that it so effectively immerses you in the world which it is building. The idea of the Duke of Edinburgh award is absolutely hilarious, and the antagonists are quite interesting too. It’s hard to discuss this without giving spoilers, but it would be awesome to see spin-offs of the movie centering on the antagonists.

Another thing that makes the film work is the relationship that is built between the characters. Although the arcs they experience are predictable, particularly that of the character Ian, they are compelling and sympathetic. The way in which the boys interact is touching and fun, adding quite a bit of enjoyment to the movie. DJ Beatroot is also a great character, with a ton of funny scenes and a touching arc.

The film does not slack on the comedy, and as a result, the movie moves along at a rapid-fire pace. There’s hardly a moment in the film where you aren’t either laughing hysterically or on the edge of your seat. The comedy in the beginning is relatively simple, but as the movie goes on and begins to introduce additional bits, like the “rabbit shites”, it becomes ridiculously hilarious.

The ensemble does a very good job with their roles. The four lead actors are all quite good and have excellent chemistry together. Each of them does a great job with the comedic delivery. Hopefully all of them will have a promising future in film. Samuel Bottomley particularly seems like he could breakout through this movie. Eddie Izzard is also hilarious in his role as the antagonist of the film.

Another significant strength that the movie has is its editing. Since the director was got his start in music videos, the film has the aggressive energy of a music video, and it works quite well in the context of the movie. There are a lot of special effects during the more surreal scenes that are quite fun and look really good. The film also has a few sequences that are actually music videos, and those are a ton of fun too.

Overall, Boyz in the Wood was an extremely fun horror-comedy. This is exactly what you would hope for from a film festival midnight movie.

Boyz in the Wood is now playing at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.


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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


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