TIFF 2023: ‘Boy Kills World’ Is More Video Game Than Movie

Boy Kills World is an arcade game for the multiplex screens, a bruising orgy of violence that goes for some of the same beat-em-up high octane found in today’s superhero franchises. Bloodier for sure – but not much better.

Inspired by high-flying button-mashers like Mortal Kombat, the movie stars Bill Skarsgard as the titular Boy, a muscular mute raised in the jungles by a martial arts shaman (Yayan Ruhian). Since childhood he’s been taught one thing, and one thing only: destroy Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen) the malevolent matriarch of the world’s Hunger Games-esque hellscape.

Supported by a wild-eyed, scene chewing cast including Sharlto Copley and Jessica Rothe, the movie regrettably keeps its action motives one dimensional, and ultimately, deadly dull. Debut director Moritz Mohr supplies a formulaic series of gory sequences and perverse stabs at comedy designed like new chapters in a comic book. Colourfully predictable and with unlimited lives, to boot.

It’s all the more disappointing for that, too. During its initial opening minutes, the humanistic training montages flow kinetically amidst its emerald forest and the movie feels like it’s going to be terrific. Alas, Mohr’s script trades structure for mindless absurdity that sidesteps any curiosity about these characters.

Given the movie’s confused chaos, sometimes too much blood is too much of a good thing, especially when your hero should be unconscious from the loss of it – not taking on an army of 100, again and again and again.


Myles Herod

Myles Herod

Traveller, image maker, pop-culture seeker, storyteller, a guy you want around when things go south. Tastes range from Kubrick to Krautrock, Wu-Tang to Wiseau. Currently resides in Toronto, Canada.
Myles Herod