An Average Movie-Goer’s Review
Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post
I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.
Today we’re looking at 2020’s Hulu original Good Boy a part of Hulu’s Into the Dark series
A woman’s emotional support animal is willing to go to great lengths to cure her anxiety and stress… including murder.
Is Into the Dark Good Boy (2020) Scary?
No, while there are a few jump scares that are pretty effective but feel pretty cheap in retrospect, the movie leans into the comedy. There are also maybe one or two gory scenes that also are completely unexpected so if you don’t like gore and guts you don’t have to worry too much.
Overall you won’t leave Good Boy scared of anything unless you don’t like dogs that are also monsters.
The film opens with our main character journalist Maggie (played by Judy Greer) on a date that gets awkward when she brings up having kids. It’s pretty clear Maggie is looking to start a family and is worried about her biological clock but dating hasn’t been working out.
The next day as she meditates in her apartment she’s interrupted by her landlord Bea (played by Maria Conchita Alonso) who raises her rent but hides it as a monthly parking fee. Later Maggie is working on a story about a kid’s cupcake party in the park? I don’t know, it’s pretty random and clearly only serves to push the story along.
One of the moms, or teacher, or both (again it’s not clear) doesn’t realize Maggie doesn’t have children and mentions her bringing them by later. This causes Maggie to take the plunge and make an appointment to freeze her eggs.
At the appointment, we learn this isn’t the first time Maggie has wanted to freeze her eggs but she didn’t go through with it the last time. The doctor alludes to Maggie running out of time and is concerned if her eggs will still be viable to freeze.
The next day Maggie gets to work late and heads into a meeting where the team is told by the boss Don (played by Steve Guttenberg) that they’re going digital. This means corporate is firing everyone but Don spins it as everyone is going to be an independent contractor. He tells them they’ll be able to work from home, yay! They’ll be paid per story… yay? But they’ll lose their salaries and benefits… the fuck?
After the meeting, Maggie gets a call from her doctor who says her levels are within range and they can get started on the process. Before she leaves, Don calls her to his office where he recommends she get an emotional support pet for her stress and anxiety.
At the pound, Maggie finds a dog and is told the previous owner was sent to prison. The dog is immediately affectionate towards Maggie and since this is the dog on the poster, she adopts him.
At home with the new dog, he refuses to play but eats Maggie’s Reuben sandwich leading her to name him Reuben. The two immediately bond and Maggie becomes a happy dog mom as we see a montage of them living their best lives.
Meanwhile, Maggie also gets a part-time job at a nearby coffee place and bumps into Annie (played by Ellen Wong), a child she used to babysit who is now all grown up and an annoying influencer.
Later Maggie returns home and tries to play with Rueben who is under the couch. Using a rope toy she pushes it under the couch and Reuben grabs it while unleashing a guttural growl. Though Maggie comments on his unbelievable strength she thinks nothing of it when he pops out from under the couch. She then looks at the front door and sees deep scratch marks on it but assumes it was just Reuben missing her.
That night Maggie tries online dating again and agrees on a date as long as she can bring her dog. We cut to Maggie on a date with Nick (played by Travis Schuldt) at what she thinks is his house but he reveals he flips houses and this is just one of them. The date quickly goes south after Nick forces himself onto Maggie and then yells at Reuben for jumping on the couch.
Maggie rushes to the bathroom as Nick goes to the backyard to have a smoke but he hears some rustling in the bushes. Leaving the bathroom, Maggie finds the front door open and rushes outside to look for Reuben only to find the mangled body of Nick on the street with Reuben next to him.
A neighbor rushes out and assumes a car hit and killed Nick. Since Maggie didn’t see anything she assumes that’s the case as well. After Maggie takes Reuben to the vet since he had blood on him and wants to make sure he wasn’t injured by the car as well. The vet gives Reuben the seal of approval but also takes some blood for tests just in case.
Sometime later Maggie writes an article for the paper about Nick’s hit-and-run and receives the good news from Don that it went viral-ish. The following day after an outside yoga class with Reuben and Annie, Maggie returns home but is spotted by Bea who flips out about Reuben.
Bea tells Maggie there are no dogs allowed and dismisses the assertion that he is an emotional support animal. Bea follows Maggie to the apartment where she sees the scratches on the door and threatens to evict her. Maggie assures her she’ll get a crate for Reuben and Bea allows them to stay as long as Maggie pays the increased parking fee by Friday.
Later Maggie buys Reuben a cage, locks him in, and heads to work. Meanwhile Bea, in her apartment, gets ready for a bath but is interrupted by someone off-screen. At work, just as she’s closing, a customer Nate (played by McKinley Freeman) asks for a quick coffee and then gives Maggie his number.
Returning home, Maggie finds the window screen broken, blood around Reuben’s bowl, and Reuben with blood on his fur. Naturally, Maggie assumes this is just raspberry for some reason. Maggie takes Reuben with her to drop off the parking fee check to Bea but finds her door open.
Entering the apartment she finds Bea dead in the bathtub with her guts hanging out. Maggie freaks out and calls 911 but hangs up with Reuben’s shits and Bea’s finger is mixed in.
Realizing that Reuben is a stone-cold 10-pound killer, Maggie cleans up the scene and disposes of Bea’s body somewhere in the desert, which is just an example of true love. The next day Annie video calls Maggie and there’s a jump scare when Annie sees Bea’s face in the mirror.
Later Maggie is at the pool with Reuben when Bea’s niece Elena (played by Veronica Diaz Carranza) arrives looking for Bea since she hasn’t been heard from in days. Turns out the Detective looking into Bea’s disappearance is Nate! The two finally go out on a date, along with Reuben, and it goes really well. Also, do all restaurants and bars in California allow dogs?
Meanwhile, Maggie’s doctor puts her on a treatment of injections that will make it easier to retrieve her eggs in 12 days but will cause mood swings and possible psychological effects. Later Maggie receives her first check since the paper went digital and she flips out at the meager pay since Don had promised her a bonus.
Storming into his office after work hours, the two argue resulting in Don firing her. Reuben isn’t too happy about him yelling at Don so he kills him by ripping out his freaking throat. Instead of flipping out about Don’s death, she tells Reuben he’s a good boy.
Maggie takes Don’s body to the roof and throws him off the roof to fake a suicide. We next see Maggie has been promoted to Don’s position and she writes the story of his death. After a jump scare of a hallucination of Don’s body falling from the roof, Maggie is visited by Detective Woolsley (played by Vincent Foster).
Woolsley is looking into Nick’s hit-and-run and we learn that Maggie never told police she was on a date with Nick at the time. It’s a weird detail to have kept from police especially since, at the time, she had no reason to suspect Reuben. Anyway, Maggie still doesn’t tell Woolsley she was on a date with Nick and pretends to have just been walking Reuben nearby.
Maggie and Nate’s relationship also gets more serious and he gifts her a puppy cam so they can go out on dates without her worrying about Reuben. On their next date Maggie blows up on a jogger who bumps into her but Nate is able to calm her down. At his place after sex, Nate convinces Maggie to spend the night and check up on Reuben through the puppy cam. All seems well but we know that’s temporary.
A few hours later, Maggie checks the puppy cam again and there’s a jump scare when Reuben pops up on the cam like a psycho. The next day, Maggie arrives home and sees Elena being arrested for Bea’s murder.
Later Maggie and Nate are hanging out by the pool and Nate questions why Maggie had a large needle in her trash. This turns into an argument and she reveals she’s on fertility medications to freeze her eggs. Maggie expected Nate to be turned away but instead, he is supportive and offers to take her to her appointment the next day.
That night Maggie invites Annie over for dinner and Annie reveals her anxiety about having children which leads Maggie to suggest she get her own support animal. Meanwhile, Nate arrives at work and is told by Detective Woolsley that he found prints at a house near Nick’s hit-and-run that match prints Nate found at Bea’s place. Woolsley then found the same prints at the Valley Yeller after Don’s death meaning they’re all connected.
This wouldn’t be a big deal if Maggie didn’t lie about being on a date with Nick at the time so this is pretty dumb. Nate calls Maggie and tells her about the prints which causes her to flip out and accidentally cut her finger. Maggie rushes to the bathroom and Annie offers to help but Maggie tells her she should go home. Annie refuses as she wants to help but this causes Reuben to attack her.
Annie falls to the ground hitting her head on the sink as Reuben starts to transform. Maggie begs him to stop but Reuben drags Annie under the bed and kills her.
Maggie cleans up the mess and buries Annie’s body in the same place she buried Bea. While crying she then leaves Reuben in the middle of the desert while telling him she loves him. Meanwhile, Nate logs into the puppy cam and sees a recording of Maggie dragging Annie’s dead body.
Maggie returns home to Nate waiting for her and he arrests her for the murders. Maggie attempts to tell Nate about Reuben but he doesn’t believe her. Reuben arrives and bangs on the door eventually ripping a hole into it. Nate opens fire and hits Reuben several times but Reuben runs off.
As police sirens are heard arriving, Maggie tells Nate she just wanted someone to be there for her and she finally got it but not from Nate. Reuben breaks through the window and kills Nate as Maggie tells him he’s a good boy.
Maggie completely loses it and has a hallucination of her breast-feeding Reuben. Police arrive and arrest a non-responsive Maggie.
The movie ends with a man arriving at the pound and being introduced to Reuben, allowing the cycle to start over.
Good Boy is pretty good. The acting is good and the dialogue works. Surprisingly (because I went into this blind) the comedy is good and caught me off guard. Steve Guttenberg specifically had some great comedic lines and delivered them wonderfully.
The only real negative I have is regarding how the story plays out. In the end Maggie is only caught because she didn’t tell the police she was on a date with Nick, at that point in the movie there was no reason for her to lie. Had his death happened after Bea’s then I could understand the lie but since it was the first and Maggie didn’t yet know of Reuben’s murderous tendencies, it doesn’t make sense. This is only a biggish deal because the entire ending hinges on this lie.
Other than that the pacing of the movie and how it ends all make sense and makes it for an entertaining watch. Since this is part of Hulu’s Into the Dark series, you can tell it didn’t have a huge budget especially since we never really see a fully transformed Reuben.
Overall I recommend giving this a watch especially if you have nothing else to watch and you’re a dog lover because you might just see part of yourself in this.
Stuff to Ignore
Rotten Tomatoes – No Individual Page
Metacritic – No Individual Page