Bonkers and Brutal, Boy Kills World is a feast for the senses and an assault on your eyeballs

It’s something of a surprise to find out BOY KILLS WORLD isn’t based on a graphic novel, although perhaps it would be more accurate to say it’s not based on any specific graphic novel or existing property (beyond the filmmakers’ own short film), because it definitely wears its influences on its sleeve. They’re just harder to see because the sleeve in question is shredded to shit and drenched in blood. A chaotic symphony of dystopian action and surrealist visuals, BOY KILLS WORLD slams into the screen with the force of a wrecking ball and doesn’t let up.

The action centers on Boy (Bill Skarsgård), a deaf-mute with a vividly hyperactive imagination, who becomes an unhinged warrior on a relentless quest for vengeance. Trained by a wise and aged warrior, he has been raised from childhood to avenge the murder of his family and the mutilation which took his hearing and speech. The object of his obsession: the corrupt and cruel Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen) and her family. The opportunity: the annual gathering of twelve dissidents for The Culling, a televised execution entertainment extravaganza.

While there are distinct parallels to THE HUNGER GAMES in both the dystopian disparity between rich and poor and the annual gathering of “tributes,” BOY KILLS WORLD has little interest in delivering hefty political subtext and angst-ridden, bleakly gray social commentary. Nope, the focus here is on blood, brutality, and balls-to-the-wall action. Visually, BOY KILLS WORLD is an eclectic mix, blending gritty realism with wildly over-the-top fantasy elements. Every frame is drenched in color and kinetic energy. The action scenes are relentless, choreographed with a flair that’s both bonkers and beautiful, making even the most jaded action fan sit up and take notice. The creative use of Boy’s disability to heighten the intensity of the action is a stroke of genius, immersing viewers in his perspective and creating a uniquely immersive experience.

For fans of ARCHER (and maybe BOB’S BURGERS), the whole dizzying diorama is all the more delicious for Boy’s decision to endow his internal monologue with the dulcet tones of H Jon Benjamin. His pitch-perfect mix of arrogance, swagger, and occasional incredulity meshes perfectly with the carnage unfolding on screen.

The other performances are as wild as the narrative. Bill Skarsgård delivers a ferocious and physical performance, his ability to convey emotion and intent without dialogue nothing short of mesmerizing. It’s a testament to his skill that you never feel the absence of spoken words; his presence is commanding enough to fill any void left when Benjamin falls silent. Michelle Dockery, Famke Janssen, Brett Gelman and Sharlto Copley are clearly relishing their amped-up adversarial roles, while Jessica Rothe (HAPPY DEATH DAY, HAPPY DEATH DAY 2 U) and Andrew Koji dive into the physical arena, giving as good as they get and providing the film with dynamic and unpredictable energy.

While there’s no denying it’s director and co-creator Moritz Mohr’s movie, there’s a sense of producer Sam Raimi’s influence in the darkly humorous and wickedly witty orchestration of the violence, especially the many, many kills that leave a bloody trail of mayhem in Boy’s wake.

While the plot occasionally feels secondary to the spectacle, and attempts a third act twist that comes perilously close to derailing everything that’s come before, it’s propelled by a gleefully bombastic script that keeps the film from descending into mindless action. As twisted journeys of revenge and redemption, punctuated by moments of surprising tenderness and introspection, go, BOY KILLS WORLD is a cut above.

Sure, the relentless pace can be a little exhausting, and the sheer volume of visual and auditory stimuli might overwhelm the senses. There are moments where the narrative coherence takes a backseat to the stylistic excess, but BOY KILLS WORLD remains a bold, visceral experience, a film that defies convention and dares you to keep up. If you’ve a taste for the tasteless and extreme, it’s a thrilling, anarchic ride.

boy kills world review
Score 7/10
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