‘Boy Kills World’: No Movie This Year Has More Bloody, Violent Deaths

Courtesy of TIFF

Tallying what will likely be the highest body count at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (where it’s debuting in the Midnight Madness section), Boy Kills World is a high-octane action extravaganza sure to satiate genre fans’ delirious bloodlust. Based on a short of the same name, director Moritz Mohr and writers Arend Remmers and Tyler Burton Smith’s dystopian saga is a bonkers smash-up of a million geeky things at once, from movies (The Raid, The Running Man, The Hunger Games, John Wick, Dredd) and video games (Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, countless first-person shooters) to comics, cartoons, anime, and all manner of post-apocalyptic fiction. If its ingredients are well-known, however, its balls-to-the-wall carnage is uniquely deranged—complete with one standout scene that shows Evil Dead Rise how to put a cheese grater to truly gruesome use.

There’s truth to Boy Kills World’s advertising, as its story concerns a rampage that leaves so many dead bodies scattered about that one feels intermittent pangs of pity for the maintenance crews that will inevitably have to come in afterwards to clean up the mess. No such compunction plagues the film’s protagonist, the unnamed adolescent Boy (Nicholas Crovetti), who resides in a forest hut on the outskirts of a metropolis with his mentor Shaman (The Raid’s Yayan Ruhian). This land is ruled by the tyrannical Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen), who restored law and order 25 years ago through authoritarian force, and who hosts an annual televised event known as The Culling, in which alleged dissidents and criminals (but, in reality, innocent citizens) are rounded up and publicly executed in lavishly perverse pageants.

Boy is both deaf and mute (albeit not naturally), and he’s therefore only heard via inner-monologue narration that’s as ferociously jokey as the rest of these proceedings. By day, Boy is trained by his mentor to be an unstoppable “instrument” whose sole purpose is to kill Hilda, and by night, he has drug smoke blown in his face by Shaman, thereby instigating trippy hallucinations of anthropomorphic teeth, eye bubbles, and hands reaching out of throats. Before long, the young Boy has grown into a lean, mean adult fighting machine (played by an imposingly ripped Bill Skarsgård) who’s nonetheless still traumatized by memories of his mother and sister’s Culling execution at the hands of Hilda. So deep is this pain, in fact, that Boy routinely sees and speaks with his deceased sibling (Quinn Copeland), who’s akin to an impish second voice in his head as well as a de facto sidekick and, ultimately, his conscience.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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