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Hank Boyd Is Dead (2015)

HankBoydAccused murdered Hank Boyd has died and his mother wants him remembered with a funeral and gathering at the family home.  Sarah is hired to work this gathering for the local catering company.  As the hours pass, the Boyd family grows stranger and stranger and Sarah must fight for her life.

Written and directed by Sean Melia for whom this is a first full length feature film, the story seems simple at first: A child murderer has died in a small town and his family is trying to keep a minimum of respect for him at his funeral.  However, as more and more is discovered about the Boyd family, the more twisted the story becomes.  It isn’t only about Sarah’s survival among this family but also about how crazy can one family really be.  The story is fairly well written and unfolds at a good pace, never losing the viewer’s attention but also not exactly feeling like it’s doing anything new with the crazy family aspect.

The acting is decent from the leads and supporting cast.  Standouts are Carole Monferdini as the aging and slowly losing it clan matriarch, Beverly Boyd, who alternates between sweet old lady and crazy violent bitch.  Her performance is nuanced with a touch of bat shit insane.  The other standout if Stefanie E. Frame as Sarah Walsh, the outsider who becomes captive and fights for her life.  She shows a range of emotions from boredom to stunned surprise to desperation which adds to the viewers’ care for her character.

Hank Boyd Is Dead is a violent film but there is no gore and very little blood, the horror here is more psychological in nature.  Yes, there is violence, but what is meant to shock is the story, the characters’ backgrounds, and the family dynamics, not the physical damage made to others (except in a couple of scenes).  That being said, it is a violent film with some disturbing aspects, however for a more jaded audience, it’s not quite enough to have much of an effect.

The film has good performances in general, a fairly good story, decent dialogue, but nothing is really shocking or new.  At 76 minutes, it’s a fairly short feature which allows it to not overstay its welcome.  The twists are interesting but will be predictable to some.  Nonetheless, the film is entertaining while not breaking any new ground in the crazy family with major issues horrific drama sub-genre.