Title – Boyz in the Wood (2019) also known as Get Duked!
Director – Ninian Doff (feature debut)
Cast – Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben, Samuel Bottomley, Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie
Plot – British teenagers Dean (Gordon), DJ Beatroot (Juneja), Duncan (Gribben) and Ian (Bottomly) get more than they bargained for when their school camping trip is interrupted by a group of murderous teenager hating locals.
“I’ve never seen a murder before – I’m homeschooled”
Review by Eddie on 28/09/2020
Also known as Get Duked!, Amazon original comedy Boyz in the Wood is a very British comedy about a bunch of teenage miscreants in over their heads when a school organized trip to the remote outdoors as part of a Duke of Edinburgh program goes very wrong when a bunch of murdering elder statesman start hunting the group down, but while music video director Ninian Doff keeps things visually fresh and moving at a rapid pace for his feature debut, the small-scale laugh ratio and so-so characters of Wood stop if from being a new UK comedic classic.
Crass, brash and loud, Wood barely wastes a moment of screen time on anything of any substance, even if it tries to offer up some moments of reflection and friendship lessons in its final stretches and its a film clearly inspired by the likes of heavy hitting British favorites like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and even in some ways Trainspotting but you never feel like Doff makes the most of his ripe set-up (which must be said doesn’t really feature any actual woods) or manages to get us invested in the four main young men we are stuck with across this mad-cap adventure.
There’s the groups charisma free leader Dean, loud-mouthed wannabe rapper DJ Beatroot (who steals all the films best moments), the dim-witted and mumbling Duncan and out of place home schooled nerd Ian but Rian Gordon, Viraj Juneja, Lewis Gribben and Samuel Bottomley don’t ever gel to a memorable level despite brief moments where the films more experienced cast that includes Kate Dickie as a totally unnecessary local police officer, James Cosmo as a rap loving farmer and Eddie Izzard as one of the hunters hell-bent on ending these boys lives don’t get much to work with either in a film that loses focus on a number of occasions on side plots and sight gags that don’t fit into the greater whole.
It’s a shame the laugh ratio and characterization is a weak element to the film as Ninian proves to be a visually arresting first time feature film director with Wood feeling like a polished and well-rounded film technically, especially in a gonzo moment at the mid-way point where DJ Beatroot gets the local party started in a secluded barn but all the pizzazz technically isn’t enough to make Wood a recommendable outing even if its sure to find a big enough audience to guarantee a shelf life in the underground cult circuit of British offerings.
Final Say –
A British comedy that could’ve potentially been the next big thing out of the countries comedic wheelhouse, Boyz in the Wood has some nice visual touches and moves at a rapid pace but its devoid of any standout moments of real laughter and is severely lacking great likable characters.
2 stickers out of 5