Boy Kills World is one of the funnest action movies of the year.

What do you get when you mix Bill Skarsgård, H. Jon Benjamin, The Purge, and John Wick?

I’m not entirely sure, but I imagine it would look something like Boy Kills World.

Originally making its debut at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, Boy Kills World didn’t make its way to American theaters until late April, and even then it didn’t seem to stick around long. My girlfriend and I planned to go see this movie in early May but no theater anywhere near us was playing it. Thankfully it came to streaming services pretty quick, so we were able to watch it at home later in the month.

The premise of the movie is simple.

The unnamed main character (played by Skarsgård) lives in a dystopian hellhole run by a woman named Hilda Van Der Koy (Famke Janssen, known for playing Xenia in GoldenEye and Jean Grey in the X-Men movies) and her family members. After witnessing his mother and sister be publicly executed in an annual event called “the Culling”, Boy is rendered deaf-mute. An unnamed shaman (played by Yayan Ruhian, an Indonesian actor/martial artist) finds Boy and raises him to become a killing machine, with the hope that he’ll eventually kill the Van Der Koys.

And kill them he does.

After watching the Van Der Koys’ army massacre a bunch of civilians, Boy decides enough is enough and springs into action, finally embarking on his quest to remove the Van Der Koy family from power and gruesomely kill anyone who gets in his way. He links up with Basho (Andrew Koji, known for his role in the Cinemax series Warrior) and Benny (Isaiah Mustafa, the black guy from the Old Spice commercials that WASN’T Terry Crews), the last surviving members of a resistance movement against the Van Der Koys, and the trio launch an all-out bloodbath of bullets, severed limbs and heads, and even a bench vise being dropped on someone’s head.

Being deaf-mute, Boy obviously can’t speak, nor can he remember what his voice sounded like when he was younger. So he adopted the voice of the announcer from an arcade fighting game as his internal monologue. While Boy doesn’t speak to any of the characters, we as the audience hear his thoughts, narrated by H. Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers, Archer, just to name a couple). While I’ve trashed Bob’s Burgers in the past, there isn’t anybody in the world who can possibly hate H. Jon Benjamin’s voice or his pristine delivery of incredulity when the situation calls for it. I’d say his role in Boy Kills World is reminiscent of a less refined not-so-cocky Sterling Archer in a way, though the movie is nothing like an episode of Archer.

H. Jon Benjamin doesn’t carry the performance alone though, Bill Skarsgård does a magnificent job as Boy. Many people don’t understand just how difficult a non-speaking role can be, especially when you’re playing the main character. You essentially have to carry an entire movie without using words, that isn’t easy. It takes a talented actor to properly convey the character’s reactions without dialogue, relying only on emoting. Skarsgård is definitely a talented actor, physically acting alongside Benjamin’s voiceover to create a character that’s entertainingly over-the-top. While Boy Kills World obviously isn’t Skarsgård’s breakout role, his performance in the film demonstrates that he’s talented, and I have no doubt that he’ll go on to have a great career in splatter horror movies.

A common criticism of this movie is that the characters are thinly written and the plot is predictable. I can’t say that I disagree that the characters are thinly written, but I honestly didn’t see the twist involving Hilda at the end coming. It wasn’t anything mind-blowing, I just didn’t expect it.

This isn’t a movie that’s supposed to have any serious meaning or depth to it. It’s a splatter action film, and it doesn’t try to come across as anything more. Watching the trailer should make that obvious. You don’t go into a movie like Boy Kills World expecting a serious story with deep characters, you go into it expecting wanton bloodshed and carnage, which the film delivers plenty of.

I’ve noticed that so many people go into movies expecting them to all be hard-hitting thought provoking masterpieces, and in my opinion that’s just foolish. Not everything has to have deeper meaning or character development, not everything has to make you think. Sometimes I just want to watch a movie and escape from the bullshit of everyday life. And that’s what Boy Kills World is, a movie that you put on when you just want to watch stuff happen without having to care too much about why it’s happening. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t require much more than your attention to enjoy. The story is silly, the fight scenes are bloody fun (the fight with the pirates was insane), and the characters are basically just there to drive what little story there is forward. You really can’t ask for much more.

Boy Kills World may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s definitely worth watching if you like gory action movies. I give it a 6/10.

Avatar photo

By Angry_Jerk

The CEO/Editor-in-chief of AJnet, and the current king of internet ranting. Hailing from the fine village of Northeast Philadelphia, AJ has been creating content on the internet for over 15 years. None of it has really been funny or entertaining, but he keeps trying anyway. When he’s not creating new articles for the site, he can be found hitting the weights, watching anime, or playing retro video games.