A new installment of Hulu and Blumhouse’s Into the Dark anthology series has been one the part of every month for awhile. And this July, we got a Pet Appreciation Week installment with Good Boy, directed by Tyler MacIntyre and starring Judy Greer, McKinley Freeman, Ellen Wong, Maria Conchita Alonso, and Chico the Dog.
In this feature length horror comedy, Maggie (Judy Greer) wants children, and in line with the standards set for many women, her age is pushing her into worry, and her online dating matches who are just looking for flings are just exacerbating it. As her anxiety continues to grow she tries to deal with the mounting stress she’s trying meditation and other coping strategies that just isn’t working. Between the mounting pressure she’s putting on herself to have a child and a land lady (Maria Conchita Alonso) raising her rent happening the same time that her job is going contract, everything is mounting.
To help cope with some of her growing anxiety, Maggie gets an emotional support dog she names Reuben. Only, she finds him to be even more effective than she could have imagined because, unbeknownst to her, he kills anyone who adds stress to her life.
Good Boy does an amazing job at showcasing the difficulties of one, having a child alone, and two, having a child later in life when every doctor and person is reminding you of the limited time left on the clock. The cost of achieving her family, $10,000 to be exact, would have been stressful itself but moving to contract work has pushed her to her limit. But beyond that, Maggie isn’t defined by her age, while she is dealing with fertility issues, the truth is that she’s a woman dealing with pressures from her own expectations for herself, work, and more.
Maggie and Reuben’s relationship is one of the cutest things I’ve seen screen and when Reuben become murderous it’s hard to think of him as anything but a good boy looking out for his mom. This is sold by Greer’s performance with her canine co-star from their matching pajamas to Reuben defending his mom from terrible men. Whether it was Aaron Eisenberg and Will Eisenberg‘s script or Greer’s acting, Maggie is a character that evokes empathy from the audience and is just genuinely hilarious.
Beyond that, the mauling moments of Good Boy work best because you don’t see a raged out Reuben, instead you get a perspective from the bottom up, as Reuben looking at his victim and you hear an intense growl that shows the tiny little good boy turning vicious. The liberal use of fake blood is the perfect choice over relying on showing Reuben actually eating people. Which makes finally seeing monster Reuben all the more impactful. Plus, it lets you continue to see the adorable pup as just that which adds to the comedy of the film.
Additionally, with breed restrictions and stereotypes against large dogs which leads to them being killed by both cops and shelters at higher rates, the choice to make Rueben a small little pupper over a large one is a good one, and Maggie’s willingness to protect her best friend is something I think a lot of pet owners can vibe with.
The story overall is simplistic and that’s what has served Into the Dark productions best and it proves to be a winner for Good Boy. There is some weird story beats, like Maggie connecting with a young influencer that he used to babysit and having her move from working as a journalist to becoming a barista. That said, the overall look and feel of the film is well-worth the watch and overwhelmingly fun – especially for dog owners.
Good Boy is a campy film that doesn’t really have a low point. While there are some odd choices in its storytelling, this is one well worth watching, especially for dog-moms who have dealt with fur baby who begins to do what they think you want instead of what you train them to do.
Into the Dark: Good Boy is available exclusively on Hulu.
Into the Dark's Good Boy
Good Boy is a campy film that doesn’t really have a low point. While there are some odd choices in its storytelling, this is one well worth watching, especially for dog-moms who are stressed.