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David Charbonier, Justin Powell
Lonnie Chavis, Ezra Dewey, Micah Hauptman
David Charbonier, Justin Powell

After Bobby and his best friend Kevin are kidnapped and taken to a strange house in the middle of nowhere, they attempt to escape and survive.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.38:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 3/15/2022

• Music Video
• Bloopers


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The Boy Behind the Door [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 21, 2022)

All parents fear the notion that some stranger will abduct their kids. With 2021’s The Boy Behind the Door, we find a tale of that sort, albeit one treated in the thriller vein.

12-year-old kids Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and Kevin (Ezra Dewey) are best pals. As they head home from school, a stranger (Micah Hauptman) kidnaps them.

This miscreant takes them to a remote location and imprisons them there. With no one else as support, the boys need to rely on each other to escape this dire situation.

With its child’s-eye perspective, Door offers an unusual take on the abduction thriller genre. It also manages a more stark experience than usual from a film of this sort.

Indeed, Door plays as a largely language-free experience for much of its running time. While snippets of dialogue emerge along the way, much of the movie plays as a silent affair.

That side of the story adds intrigue and probably makes Door more realistic than otherwise would occur. The movie lacks much backstory as well, so we briefly see the kids idling afterschool before they suddenly find themselves in danger.

Actually, that doesn’t prove wholly accurate, as Door suffers from one unfortunate choice that impacts a lot of horror movies: the “scary prologue”. The film opens with a hint of the terror to come before it goes back in time to show how the boys ended up in their situation.

I understand that filmmakers do this because they fear the fickle tastes of moviegoers. They worry that if they wait too long to show some thrills, the audience will drift off.

And I get that, but I still dislike it. I wish more filmmakers boasted the confidence to start movies on quiet notes and make viewers wait for the action without this unnecessary tease, as I think it just seems kind of desperate.

Beyond this issue, Door falters as it goes because it simply lacks enough real content to fill an entire feature. Honestly, this seems like a short film extended to 88 minutes, whereas it would probably fare better if it lasted closer to 20 minutes.

Not that this means I believe Door comes with 68 minutes of filler – I don’t intend to imply that this specific version could lose that much footage. I do feel that a script that aimed for 20 minutes or so would feel about right and not too long.

In any case, this leaves us with a movie that offers inconsistent thrills. Parts of it work, as individual scenes convey good terror, and the actors fare nicely.

In particular, both the boys provide solid performances. Chavis and Dewey avoid cutesy tendencies and create believable kids.

Unfortunately, they do so in the service of a story that tends to meander and drag. As noted, the film lacks much real plot, and it fails to find a lot of suspense, as it doesn’t milk potential tension like it could. The score attempts to add drama but instead feels too pushy and insistent.

Door also blatantly rips off aspects of The Shining. A few scenes nod in the 1980 flick’s direction, but one comes so close to a particularly famous sequence that it doesn’t even feel like homage.

No - Door crosses the line from tip of the hat to actual theft. Granted, I feel certain that the filmmakers knew viewers would pick up on the similarities and didn’t believe they’d pass off this material as truly original.

Nonetheless, it still seems strange Door would so obviously “borrow” from Shining, as it offers a near literal recreation of some material. This does nothing more than distract the audience members familiar with the 1980 movie.

Even without the lifts from Kubrick, Door would offer a mediocre thriller. It simply lacks the depth and suspense it needs to fulfill its goals.

Footnote: though I take a backseat to no one in my disdain for the 45th president, the filmmakers’ choice to make the villains Trump supporters seems wholly gratuitous. Perhaps someone else can find an organic need for this to occur, but as far as I can tell, it just acts as simplistic “commentary”.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

The Boy Behind the Door appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.38:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a good representation of the source.

Overall sharpness came across fine. A couple of shots looked a bit soft, but those didn’t create a notable concern. Instead, the flick delivered positive clarity and accuracy.

No jaggies or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes remained absent. I also saw no print flaws.

To reflect the film’s setting and tone, Door came with a heavily stylized palette that emphasized a pretty strong mix of teal and amber/orange. While those choices broke no new ground, they worked fine given the movie’s narrative, and the Blu-ray reproduced them well.

Blacks seemed strong. Shadows also appeared smooth and concise, though they felt a smidgen dense at times. No one will use this as a showcase image, but it replicated the filmmakers’ intentions.

Given the movie’s subdued nature, I expected a low-key DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, and that was what I got. The audio concentrated on moody ambience much of the time.

Effects occasionally cropped up around the spectrum, and the film’s score also utilized the various channels. Nonetheless, this was usually a restrained soundscape.

Audio quality appeared positive. Music was full and rich, while effects seemed accurate and clear.

Dialogue worked fine, as lines seemed natural. This became a suitable soundtrack for the story on display.

Only minor extras appear here. a music video lasts two minutes. Seven sconds.

It shows movie scenes accompanied by score. It feels more like an ad for the soundtrack than anything useful.

A collection of Bloopers spans two minutes, 38 seconds. Expect the usual goofs and silliness.

Despite a solid cast and an intriguing scenario, The Boy Behind the Door does not quite deliver the goods. The film feels padded and lacks the suspense a story of this sort should deliver. The Blu-ray brings positive picture and audio but it includes only minor bonus materials. This winds up as an inconsistent and not especially satisfying production.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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