What the hell did I just watch?
Innocent Boy, a 12 minute short film from Mattioli Productions and The Contested Edge, is absolutely wild and three speeding trains headed for disaster. I mean this in the best way possible, however. It’s an award winning narrative that recently found release through Together Magic Film Group, and it somehow gave me serious Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes without being the least bit similar. Written, directed and edited by Brock Cravy, Innocent Boy finds its characters on the outskirts of a Texas highway. On one side, a group of gay hustlers prey on the depraved who wander too close to their property. And on the other, a murderous cowboy looks to find his next stomping ground. In the middle of it all is a trans boy trying to escape the horror. What happens when these three paths collide? Rent or buy the film by clicking on the link below and find out for yourself.
Innocent Boy was co-produced by AJ Mattioli with executive producer Deiadra Armstrong, and it features cinematography by Karissa Leicht. Kamy D. Bruder, Unique Jenkins, Ian Michaels, Michael Vincent Berry, Becky Nitschke and Saul Vasquez star. I don’t have any criticisms towards this short film’s work during principal photography and post-production edits, nor do I have anything negative to say about the performances from its incredible cast. So, this is going to be a pretty simple review. What I will do, though, is flesh out some of my notes and that way you can see what Innocent Boy has to offer. For instance, the most horrific thing about it is its tremendous sense of hopelessness. Whether it’s the con-men, the cowboy or the youth trying to live, you get this idea that none of them are truly happy with themselves, but are powerless to stop their actions. Except Mama. Mama doesn’t give a fuck.
Aside from the uncomfortable level of suspense and pure sweat and grit poured into this film, it’s other biggest assets are its cinematography, use of color and special effects. These all combine to hurdle Innocent Boy out of the independent title category and into a bracket that other aspiring film-makers should aspire to. Atmosphere and visual appeal are key to a story’s success, and that’s why Innocent Boy blew me away even when I wasn’t sure what the hell was going on. Plus, the cowboy is smoking hot and I’m a vapid whore. Innocent Boy grabbed my attention from start to finish and I genuinely hope it gets adapted to a feature length film one day. There’s still so many unanswered questions and I’d love to see these characters origins in a more fleshed-out way.
With gay horror cinema continuing to emerge around the world, Innocent Boy raised the benchmark and deserves to become one of the most talked about titles in the subgenre.
Final Score: 9 out of 10.
Rent or buy Innocent Boy: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/innocentboygayfilm