In a flashback to 6 hours earlier than the kidnapping, Bobby (Lonnie Chavis of “The Water Man”) and Kevin (Ezra Dewey, star of the filmmakers’ follow-up “The Djinn”) reveal a straightforward, playful rapport as they stroll to their baseball recreation in matching green-and-white uniforms. They toss a ball forwards and backwards and dream of fleeing their small city to go to California, promising they’ll be “pals to the top,” and it’s the type of intense bond finest buddies share after they’re tweens, earlier than puberty hits and ladies turn into a distraction.
That is all we find out about them, however it’s sufficient. As a result of as soon as they discover themselves at risk, their loyalty to one another is what sees them by means of. At first, we don’t see who has taken them—we simply see Kevin being lifted from the trunk of a automotive, and Bobby being left behind to kick and scream by means of the duct tape protecting his mouth. Intelligent child that he’s, although, Bobby finds a technique to break away and run to security—solely to listen to Kevin’s screams echoing from a large brick home on the hill behind him. Time appears to have stood nonetheless on this place with its black-and-white TV set and rotary telephone, a few lonely pumpjacks groaning exterior offering the one noise or motion for miles. (A “Make America Nice Once more” sticker on the again of a beat-up automotive is vaguely amusing however appears gratuitous, and it shakes us from the movie’s foggy temper.)
The majority of “The Boy Behind the Door” finds Bobby sneaking inside and—actually, fairly often—hiding behind one door or one other as he skulks about, looking for his buddy whereas outwitting his captors. As day turns to nighttime and the creaky home grows darker, the administrators and cinematographer Julian Estrada use dramatic streaks of sunshine to light up ominous hallways and cramped quarters. Additionally they use silence successfully, prompting us to carry our breath identical to the youngsters to keep away from being discovered. Chavis and Dewey are known as upon to take action a lot that’s bodily and emotionally difficult—they usually typically should do it alone, as a result of they’re separated for many of the movie—which makes their performances much more spectacular. These are clearly sturdy, good children however they’re additionally delicate and candy, they usually take logical, affordable steps of their efforts to flee. This isn’t a kind of maddening horror motion pictures through which the characters make needlessly dumb selections to place themselves additional in hurt’s approach.
https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-boy-behind-the-door-movie-review-2021 | The Boy Behind the Door film assessment (2021)