Good Boy starts as strange as you would expect, with the initial pacing steady and measured, if not too slow. Half of the already short film spends its time building up the backstory of Meg and Christian dating. I like a slow burn, but most of the scenes with Meg’s roommate could have easily been swapped with a more ambitious sequence of events once reaching the cabin.
Given the context of the film, it’s obvious something will go sideways at a moment’s notice. That first critical turning point is when Frank breaks character and speaks to Meg, telling her that she needs to find help and escape. However, it almost feels like a red herring, as if Frank is in on Christian’s undisclosed plan. The movie’s first half is unsettling, but Frank’s line turns a romantic fetish drama into a psychological horror.
When the third act confirms the true intentions of Christian, the situation gets much more brutal. However, it feels like director Viljar Bøe doesn’t know how to strike a balance between torture that advances the plot and facetious abuse (such as the spanking of Frank.)
The final scene with the young girl in the dog costume seemed like Bøe was trying too hard to find a deeper meaning to the story while not knowing how to wrap things up cleanly. I’m sure there is some underlying message here about Christian solely seeking control and viewing others as animals, but this was not it.
This film seemed particularly interesting on paper, but the pacing could have been better planned, and the storyline could have been more inspired once it reached the third act. Once Christian reveals his intentions, the story feels rushed and hollow, leaving much to be desired. What could have been a relatively captivating cult classic amongst fans of the unusual evolved into a lackluster shock-horror based on the initial premise on which the story builds.
I’m traditionally a big fan of weird, offputting films that push the limits of what is considered “quality” cinema, but I feel like I need to pick and choose which movies I watch more after this.