Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

At first glance, one would probably think a movie featuring a rich twink living with a man dressed up as his “pet dog” would not be an obvious selection for a horror movie festival. Norwegian import Good Boy, formerly titled Meg, deg & Frank, has far more going on internally than expected. Written and directed by Viljar Bøe, this twisted romance/horror/thriller will be a tasty treat, particularly for those who have struggled with the inherent strangeness that comes with online dating.

Multi-millionaire heir Christian (Gard Fartein Løkke Goli) starts his day like any other. First, he prepares food for his “dog,” Frank (Nicolai Narvesen Lied). Frank falls asleep by the foot of Christian’s bed as Christian browses a dating app hopeful for a connection. After giving Sigrid (Katrine Lovise Øpstad Fredriksen) a “superlike” and matching, Christian arranges a date for the two of them to meet up. Naturally, she shows up very late, citing her poor time management. Despite all odds, the two kick things off at this dinner rather splendidly. Their polar opposite personality traits seem as if they could be a good match. Christian stays very active and treasures the structure in his life, whilst Sigrid works double duty going to school for psychology and working as a cashier. One struggles to make ends meet, while the other is filthy rich.

Christian eventually invites her back to his place, which happens to be a massive house and piece of property. He does disclose that he has a dog, but says “it’s hard to explain” what species they are. The next morning, Sigrid is stunned to find Frank in the room. Initially, she freaks out, wondering if it is a fetish thing. It turns out the answers are more complicated than that. Attempts to define normality in the modern dating world may be futile, yet expecting a stranger to refer to your roommate as a literal dog is maybe going a bit overboard. Can Sigrid get past her reservations about “puppy play?” Drawn in by Christian’s charms (seriously, he could be a Skarsgård), Sigrid agrees to go away on a cabin trip with Christian and Frank.

To say too much more about the plot would be to rob Good Boy of its surprises. Rest assured, there are more than a couple buried just below the surface. As the film claws its way toward a disturbing climax, I was left in awe of what the filmmaking team was able to accomplish in such a truncated timeframe. Just over an hour in length, Good Boy still manages to tell a captivating story teeming with thematic overtones. In the complicated world of online dating, where exactly does the line get drawn when testing one’s limits? 

Good Boy screened at 2023’s FrightFest, and comes to digital platforms on September 11th.

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