Frightfest: Good Boy (2023)

Director: Viljar Bøe

Running Time: 76 Minutes

Starring: Gard Løkke, Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen, Amalie Willoch Njaastad, Nicolai Narvesen Lied

Seeking love on a dating app, millionaire heir Christian (Gard Løkke) finds himself on a charming date with psychology student Sigrid (Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen). The date continues at his mansion where Sigrid meets Christian's dog, only she is shocked to discover that Frank (Nicolai Narvesen Lied) is actually a man who dresses and acts like a dog.

Following his 2021 release, To Freddy, writer/director Viljar Bøe delivers another excellent feature which roots an intriguing set-up within stellar character work. While a lesser film would have used the premise to shame those who partake within puppy play, Sigrid follows the revelation with a heart-to-heart with her friend, Aurora (Amalie Willoch Njaastad). The question is raised of why they should judge how Frank copes with his life, leaving the student to realize that she does not want this to derail a promising relationship.

This gives Sigrid the drive to understand Frank, as Christian shares how this is an elaborate method of therapy to cope with past trauma. Bøe uses unconventional means to simultaneously capture a heartwarming friendship between a pair supporting each other, and a likeable romance between two souls looking for companionship. With the charming chemistry shared, this group makes up a lovely family unit.

However, it soon transpires that all is not as it seems. As the trio spend more time together, it becomes clear that Christian has an insidious side, exerting control through enforcements about how he desires things to be done. As scenes unfold on a knife-edge, a gnawing uncertainty grows about what will happen next, aided by the cast terrifically selling the change in tone. What the resulting power games reveal is a tale about finding some form of control within life, and confirm Bøe as an exciting filmmaker worth following.

Good Boy made its UK Premiere at Frightfest 2023, and is available on Digital Platforms from 11th September