Boy Kills World review | A gloriously gory thrill ride

Boy Kills World review
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Bill Skarsgård goes on a violent murder spree in Moritz Mohr’s superbly gory action thriller. Here’s our Boy Kills World review.

Gore is not for everyone. That goes without saying, but I’m a big fan of bloody spectacle. There’s just something very appealing about limbs getting torn off, heads spinning and blood covering every inch of the screen. 

Which is exactly why I loved Boy Kills World, Moritz Mohr’s exceptionally stylish and gory new action thriller. If gore is not your thing, you prefer substance over style, you may want to take this review with a grain of salt. 

The film follows Boy, a deaf-mute man played by Bill Skarsgård, who plots revenge against the Van Der Koy family who murdered his own kin via their yearly Hunger Games-style televised event. He can’t speak, but Boy does have a particularly animated inner voice, speaking in the unmistakable tones of H Jon Benjamin. 

Mohr follows Boy on his road to revenge while also giving us plenty of flashbacks to reveal his training with the mysterious shaman (The Raid’s Yayan Ruhian). Boy is often also followed by the ghost of his little sister (Quinn Copeland). 

Bill Skarsgård Boy Kills World
Credit: Signature Entertainment

Boy Kills World is truly weird and wonderful. There’s an attractive playfulness to its ultraviolence, which is modelled after videogames and martial arts cinema. The cinematography, courtesy of Peter Matjasko, is kinetic, almost chaotic, but Mohr directs our gaze with precision. 

Skarsgård has the difficult task of communicating an awful lot without actually speaking, or rather, having someone else record a lot of lines for him in a sound booth somewhere. Skarsgård has already proven himself to be a genre force to be reckoned with in films like It and its sequel, Barbarian and John Wick Chapter 4, but Boy Kills World lets Skarsgård let loose like never before. 

He’s a magnetic presence, and Boy Kills World would be a lesser film without him. The script lacks nuance and the larger themes can feel a little simplified, but Skarsgård’s performance keeps us glued to the screen. With his large, expressive eyes and talent for action, the Swedish actor excels even if the writing sometimes lets him down. 

The rest of the cast is pretty great too. Jessica Rothe’s role as one of the faceless security team is probably mostly played by a stunt woman hiding behind a helmet, but once Rothe is allowed to show her face, she kicks a lot of butt. Equally, Sharlto Copley (also a highlight in Dev Patel’s Monkey Man) is a hoot, and Famke Janssen brings a necessary iciness to her role as the matriarch of the Van Der Koys. 

H Jon Benjamin, known for his voice roles in Archer and Bob’s Burgers, is a wonderful choice to voice Boy’s inner thoughts. Boy has adopted this inner voice from a videogame from his childhood, one of the rare happy memories he has. Benjamin’s voice is spirited and lively and makes for a nice juxtaposition with the relentless violence. 

Boy is presented as almost superhuman, and Mohr and screenwriters Tyler Burton Smith and Arend Remmers rarely offer us much in terms of world-building or history. Boy Kills World does test the limits of your suspension of disbelief as wounds magically disappear and Boy deflects hit after hit with no damage whatsoever.

Yet, I’m already looking forward to a rewatch of Boy Kills World. I’m beyond excited to visit this deranged, violent ballet of bullets and broken limbs. We don’t always appreciate entertainment value enough, and I had a ball with Boy Kills World.

Boy Kills World is exclusively in UK and Irish cinemas from April 26th. Distributed by Signature Entertainment.

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