28th Aug2021

Frightfest 2021: ‘Boy #5’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Laura Montgomery Bennett, Lennon Leckey, Natasha Naomi Rea, Adrian Palmer | Written and Directed by Eric Ian Steele

Tackling the vampire genre is a brave move in horror. Creating some mass appeal with something akin to Twilight probably means you’ll be making less of a horror movie. While making a horror-centric vampire film is hard because there’s a lot of them and it’s pretty hard to stand out from the pack. You’ve got to be pretty good to stand alongside Fright Night, Lost Boys, Let The Right One In, Martin or the many tales of Dracula. Boy #5 tries most obvious features are that it tells and original story and that it is very British.

Being very British might be an odd thing to point out but it was literally the first thing I thought after only a couple of minutes of viewing it. In the same way Shaun of the Dead is a very British zombie comedy, Boy #5 is the exact opposite, it’s like the U.K. version of The Office if there was no comedy. This feels dreary and depressing right from the word go and I’m sure this is what the film-makers are going for. The buildings and locations, the offices the characters are working in on mostly beige and boring to look at. It seems to be telling the viewer that this is a mundane job and the characters are feeling that way about. So when the lead character (who has plenty of recent work issues) starts working with a homeless boy who has been accused of terrible things, the last thing she suspects is that he’s a vampire.

It’s an interesting way to go with a vampire flick and you can see why a new film-maker would like it because very little budget is needed. This is a heavily story-based movie, there’s little action and it’s not really needed but something else is. Sometimes the depressing nature of the subject here and the way it is portrayed is a bit much. The delivery of lines is boring, no-one seems to show any emotion, these are mostly dull characters – the vampire says very little and has little to no presence about him. Things do pick-up in the final third and I guess this kind of slow burn type of movie is what the director is going for but many people will have lost interest by then.

The script does head into a direction I was not expecting at all and it’s a good choice too. Because of this, that final third is the best part of the movie but it’s not enough to save it.

Fitting horror stories around social work isn’t completely unheard of (Renee Zellweger starred in Case 39) but it could create some new ideas. Boy #5 needed some extra inspiration to make it a little more memorable because even vampire fans will struggle to love this.

Boy #5 screened today as part of this years Arrow Video Frightfest.

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