Get Duked! (AKA Boyz in the Wood) – Action/Comedy/Horror – Ninian Doff – UK/Scotland – 87 minutes – Watch on Amazon Prime
After piling up experience in directing short movies and music videos (including the famous Miike Snow: Genghis Khan video), Ninian Doff made his directorial debut with the Amazon original horror/comedy Get Duked!, alternatively titles Boyz in the Wood.
Due to the success it achieved over the course of 2019 in genre festivals, Get Duked! dropped on Amazon Prime on August 28, receiving mostly positive reviews.
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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My review is also available on IMDb – Get Duked! (2019)
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Get Duked! – a simple story with a clear message
Three troublesome teenagers – Dj Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), Dean (Ryan Gordon) and Duncan (Lewis Gribben) – get punished by their school, being forced to spend part of their summer holiday in the Scotland Highlands, where they’re tusked with the challenge of completing the Duke of Edinburgh Award trek. Along for ride, they are joined by Ian (Samuel Bottomley), an overachiever who is in this for the opportunity to pad his CV. The four teens are dropped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a map, and they must work together to reach their campsite before dark. However, they aren’t as alone as they think, as a mysterious masked man appears on the hills and begins hunting them.
The situation escalates, as the survival game slowly turns into a conflict between traditions and old generations. This is probably the main theme of Get Duked! and, unfortunately, is handled in too obvious of a way to become interesting and thought-provoking.
Unapologetic comedy and energetic style
However, the unsubtle approach provides a lot of humour that most of the time really works. This has to do mostly with the characters: they’re represented as an exaggerated version of the lost generation and their naïve approach to the situation makes for some hilarious comedy. Speaking of which, the film also features some deeper satirical elements, such as its assessment of terrorism, politics and sloppy police work. Hidden beneath the loud and silly comedy, there is in fact substance that attentive viewers can look out for.
At the same time, to keep comedy and story going there’s a very defined, upbeat style that makes Get Duked! quite a bombastic experience. Even when the dialogue doesn’t feature jokes, editing and camera-work (especially the use of zooms) provide the audience with a very well-executed visual comedy. Two outstanding examples of this are the “Get Duked!” music number halfway through the film and the hallucination sequences that pop up every now and again. The former benefits from Doff’s experience in the field, as the lyrics are thought-out and fitting, the arrangements very catchy and the choreography quite impressive. In the case of the former, the movie does a good job at creating a believable visual representation of drug trips, which change depending on the kind of drug the characters take.
Light on horror, high on comedy
As much as the comedy is mostly brilliant, it tends to overshadow both horror and action in the film. There are some good practical effects and some creepy moments in Get Duked!, but overall the movie seems afraid to go all out and, therefore, holds back in the scare department. The same could be said for the action.
However, the story remains interesting (albeit very simplistic) throughout, as there are enough twists and turns to keep it from being predictable and becoming boring.
As a directorial debut, Ninian Doff’s Get Duked! is quite impressive and it never stops being entertaining and well-made. The hilarity that ensues from the characters is cleverly backed up by decent writing and stylised presentation. Some of the themes in the movie could be a tad too on the nose, whereas others are delivered in a more intelligent way.
Overall, Get Duked! is an entertaining and fun watch for those of you who don’t mind horror comedies where the humour takes central stage at the expense of the scares. Although, in the long run, the movie feels a bit disposable and not that memorable, it could certainly provide a lot of enjoyment during its brisk 87-minute-long runtime.
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