Friday, July 24, 2020

Into the Dark: Good Boy (2020)

Streaming Services: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Into the Dark: Good Boy (2020)
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Hulu
Director: Tyler MacIntyre
Writer: Aaron Eisenberg, Will Eisenberg
Actors: Judy Greer, McKinley Freeman, Steve Guttenberg, Ellen Wong, Maria Conchita Alonso, V.J. Foster, Elise Neal, Travis Schuldt, Veronica Diaz Carranza, Chico, Parisa Fakhri, Tatiana Carr, Aaron Eisenberg, Iman Nazemzadeh, Mina Joo, Marina Valle, Dylan Arnold, Jessica Jade Andres

Blurb from IMDb: After being forced into freelance work, 39 year old journalist Maggie Glenn is encouraged by her boss to adopt an emotional support dog. She does so, unwittingly becoming embroiled in much more than she bargained for as the dog is not what he appears to be, and far more dangerous than your average pet.

Selina’s Point of View:
There is only one good thing I have to say about this film, and it’s not something that actually has anything to do with it. The music in the beginning reminded me of the Seed music from Final Fantasy 8 and it was a hit of nostalgia. That’s it. That’s my good thing.

The rest of the film was intolerable.

Look, I’m definitely one of those people that see Judy Greer (The 15:17 to Paris, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Archer) as underutilized, but this film was not the one to help. It used her, but not well.

The plot seemed so interesting, but they shoe-horned in this ‘biological clock is ticking’ story for the main character that was just ridiculous. Had her doctor talking about her 39-year-old eggs with words like “geriatric”.

Now, I know that’s something that the medical community used to do decades ago, but that’s been out of practice for a long time. It was outdated information when this film came out. They stopped because the word doesn’t fit the situation.

I didn’t like it. If done well, that kind of story can work. It does, in fact, in many different creative projects. But when it’s done like this it feels off-putting and stereotypical. Maybe it’s time to retire it.

The way they executed the main story was not great either. You know from the start exactly how it’s going to end. There’s only one surprise by the time the story winds down and it just involves some disturbing, and completely unnecessary, imagery.

I will never recommend this one.

Cat’s Point of View:
I have to admit, I’m a little on the fence with Good Boy. I was excited to see that another Into the Dark installment had landed on our schedule. Considering the relatively good experience that we’d had with Uncanny Annie (2019), I had some hope. Cautious optimism is generally a good rule of thumb when dealing with any sort of anthology.

Let’s focus on the positives first. I found myself really investing in the frustrations of the socially awkward main character played by Judy Greer. I wanted to root for her. I giggled at the nostalgia factor of Steve Guttenberg’s (Lavalantula, Lez Bomb, Heckle) casting, and genuinely bought his portrayal of a corporate schmuck. There were some other stand-outs among the cast as well, such as McKinley Freeman (Second Chance Christmas, Illicit, I Got the Hook Up 2). I was even on board for the dynamic between his character and Greer’s.

Of course, then we arrive at the titular character of the Good Boy. The puppy performer was absolutely adorable.

That’s where this movie starts to lose me, though.

I’m a bit on the fence with the film’s portrayal of an ‘emotional support animal.’ I understand that any pet can really be utilized to boost someone’s mental health. Unfortunately, too often people confuse these with ‘service dogs,’ and it makes it harder for people who have canine partners that have gone through extensive (and expensive) training. Though, in the movie’s favor, they do mention the distinct difference that this pooch wasn’t a service dog. I don’t want to nitpick, though.

I appreciated how most of the scenes involving canine mischief are left up to the viewer’s imagination. You know something is different, but you haven’t come face to face with it directly. It felt like there was a huge buildup for a reveal at the film’s climax. Then I felt let down. While I understand this production may not have had the biggest budget to work with, I think they could have gotten more bang for their buck going in a different route on the creature effects.

I don’t think that the practical effects that they chose to employ did this story any favors. The screen time for the climactic events is so very brief, it seems almost that the effects were tossed together as an afterthought. It took me right out of the moment, unfortunately.

All told, I’m still interested in watching more of the Into the Dark anthology film series, but this is not one of the episodes I’d recommend to introduce it to someone.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 6.4/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating1/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2.5/5

Movie Trailer: 

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