‘The Boy Behind the Door’, friendship marked by horror

The Boy Behind the Door is presented within the Sitges Film Festival as a horror film, but its development expands that frame a bit within the narrative genres. Unlike stories in which fear stems from supernatural issues, in this film directed by David Charbonier and Justin Powell is based on human tensions to generate that feeling of anguish in the viewer. Although it may seem strange, the film is pleasing to the eye due to its visual realization. The sensation does not stop colliding with what happens in the story, frenetic from the beginning.

The Boy Behind the Door tells the story of two children who are kidnapped and taken to a house outside of more urban areas. The plot is triggered when one of them, Bobby (Lonnie Chavis), manages to escape and, along the way, discovers that his friend, Kevin (Ezra Dewey) is still held captive. The film was released on September 27 of last year and, in general, since then it has been adding good comments. Perhaps these evaluations can be explained from the narrative duality chosen by the directors.

The film begins with a series of scenes that invites us to think of much softer stories. After the first few minutes, script and aesthetics darken. The phrases of the protagonists progressively lose the illusion with which they began and the atmospheres darken, without ceasing to be pleasing to the eye. Without being a visual experience in the style of Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015), The Boy Behind the Door is pleasing to the eye. This is influenced both by the color palette, its handling, and by the different frames selected.

Trailer : The Boy Behind the Door


The terror through this film is not produced through silence and questions falling suspiciously but through the suffering and anguish that its protagonists go through. Sympathizing with a couple of children persecuted by adults is the bridge to approach multiple frightening circumstances. That approach, on the part of the directors, is correct. Although on the way there are a number of script conveniences that can be uncomfortable. However, at least for those who write, they are not as significant as the sensations generated through The Boy Behind the Door.

The most obvious influence during the film is that of The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980). Yes, there is an ax that is used to open a hole in a door, among other scenes that evoke that classic from the cinema. In this relationship, another of the problems that can be put on the film appears, since perhaps it abuses the referentiality, to the point of seeming a tribute rather than an influence. The same thing happens with this aspect as with the script conveniences, they can be omitted in favor of what happens with Bobby and Kevin. As production progresses, that opening scene between them takes on even more valuable value because it becomes the plot that makes sense of one trying, at their own risk, to save the other.

The Boy Behind the Door gives so much weight to the protagonists that the story is weakened when the reasons of the antagonists are not shared or their profiles are not deepened. Perhaps, in the case of criminal minds, the format of the television series is necessary for that. However, little else would have been enough to complete the context, without losing the focus of the story: two friends trying to survive the evil of adulthood.

Perhaps in that last reading the essence of the film and its resolution are framed. The goal of life is not success or happiness, but to prevent adulthood from devouring the candor of childhood.