‘Boy Kills World’ Movie Review: A Very Bloody Good Time

It doesn’t take much to convince cinephiles like me to visit the film theater. In fact, it’s more the opposite: it takes very strong reasons to keep me away. My personal methodology of trying to watch movies without any prior knowledge remains extremely strict, so for Boy Kills Worldthe presence of Bill Skarsgård (It) was more than enough to spark interest in a basic premise of revenge with a clear action focus. Moritz Mohr’s directorial debut brings a certain element of surprise, as the story he co-created with Arend Remmers – which they turned into a short film – is now adapted into a feature-length movie by the latter and Tyler Burton Smith (Child’s Play).

Stunt Filled Revenge in Boy Kills World

Recently, The Fall Guy premiered in cinemas around the world as a tribute to the stunt department and the numerous stunt doubles who are often overlooked and undervalued by the industry. In this sense, Boy Kills World is an excellent complement to that homage to stuntmen and stuntwomen, standing out due to its fight sequences filled with long, complex, purposefully over-the-top choreography, while being in sync with the naturally light tone of a flick that never takes itself too seriously, despite its R-rating.

Smith and Remmers’ screenplay follows a fairly predictable, formulaic story driven by the vengeful arc of the unnamed deaf-mute protagonist, so Boy Kills World needs multiple layers of entertainment to compensate for the lack of narrative and character depth. Whether it’s the martial arts-inspired fights or fanciful twists that raise more questions than answers, Mohr throws everything he has onto the big screen in a style reminiscent of Sam Raimi (Spider-Man), which doesn’t come as a surprise since the filmmaker is one of the producers, as well as his company.

The Uninhibited Violence is Not for the Faint of Heart

Visually, Boy Kills World isn’t a trip recommended for the faint of heart. The violence reaches particularly brutal levels of intensity during the film through exponentially bloodier, more disgusting sequences, such is the uninhibited nature of Peter Matjasko’s (Hausen) cinematography. From sound effects of punches, kicks, and all sorts of cutting weapons to the uncomfortable proximity to characters’ skin being torn off by kitchen graters – just writing about it gives me chills – fans of excessive yet imaginative action will have plenty to entertain them.

Bill Skarsgård in Boy Kills World. Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions.
Bill Skarsgård in Boy Kills World. Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

Credit naturally goes to the stunt team, particularly Grant Hulley (Escape Room), stunt coordinator, and Dawid Szatarski (Black Widow), action and fight designer, but also to Skarsgård and, especially, the legend Yayan Ruhian (The Raid). The former once again demonstrates an imposing presence, communicating solely through expressions and gestures, besides participating in various set pieces, while Ruhian shines in hand-to-hand combat, executing his own choreographies. Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day) deserves much more than a superficial role with her face hidden behind a helmet for most of the runtime.

When Action Scenes Lose Their Punch

That said, any excess can turn something impressive into something ordinary. Boy Kills World suffers from the same issue as the John Wick franchise – losing the right timing of when to end an action sequence. No matter how incredible the choreography and stunts are, when scenes drag on too long, aggressive fights become dance-like repetitive movements lacking the excitement, adrenaline, and impact of before, in addition to often falling into the trap of inadvertently making the “heroes” seem invincible no matter how many blows, stabs, and shots they take.

In the case of Boy Kills World, this problem is even greater due to its shallow narrative. There are no secondary arcs, attempts to surprise the viewer fall flat, and it’s a story too simplistic and too concentrated on a single character – who is nothing more than a boy traumatized by his past with little capacity for independent thought. Human connections with other characters rarely grow beyond the very necessary, even after revelations that should completely alter relationships that unfortunately remain superficial.

Yayan Ruhian in Boy Kills World
Yayan Ruhian in Boy Kills World. Image courtesy of Roadside attractions.

Boy Kills World finds its stage when it focuses on the cool stunts and explosion of unrestrained action that will certainly win over genre aficionados. The revenge premise never quite flies off narratively, remaining a thematically superficial, undeveloped story, but the numerous sequences of violently choreographed fights are entertaining enough to please the majority of the audience. The layer of humor fits the light tone, but beware of the complete uninhibitedness regarding the doses of blood, ruthlessness, and creative use of everyday items for combat. The standard recommendation for a weekend without plans.


Boy Kills World is now in theaters.

Learn more about the film, including how to buy tickets, at the official website.

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