Get Duked! (2019) is now on Amazon Prime, and is definitely worth a watch. It is written and directed by Ninian Doff as his feature debut – and he knocked it out of the park. This story of three misfit friends and a fourth who they find themselves stuck with are on a character-building camping trip known as the “Duke of Edinburgh Award”. The boys are supposed to demonstrate foraging, teamwork, and orienteering in order to receive the award, but the boys find themselves being hunted by a mysterious man in a mask who looks down upon the youth of today.
The four boys are all newcomers: Ian (Samuel Bottomley) is the fourth, and is straightlaced and homeschool. He is the only one who genuinely wants to partake in the activity, because he claims it looks good on college applications. The three friends are DJ Beatroot (Viraj Juneja), an upcoming rapper, Duncan (Lewis Gribben), the lovable doofus, and Dean (Rian Gordon), who seems like the leader with almost no ambition. All four are lovable, and Doff manages to not fall into many of the classic teen movie tropes. It would have been easy for Ian to be the target and be bullied by the other three, but instead, they are mostly all kind to each other – or at least they treat the outsider much like they treat each other.
There are elements of the film that certainly remind one of Hot Fuzz (2007), as the local police are trying to find a bread thief until the possibility of a terrorist pops up. The humor built into the story is natural and hilarious. DJ Beatroot and his raps (what is even funnier is who gets into his music) offer endless opportunities for humor that Doff taps into successfully time and time again. There is even a humorous bit about his name and whether or not it is a successful hip hop moniker.
This is a hybrid horror-comedy though, so know that there will be some shocking moments. The boys are in the Scottish highlands and are being hunted. How they react to that fact is both the humor and the horror. Some crazy moments will initially shock you, and likely end in laughter.
Get Duked!, formerly known as Boys in the Wood, is excellent. It reminds me of Edgar Wright’s movies and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The best part of this is that it will be available for many to see almost instantly. This film earns the Must See rating, as it checks a number of my boxes.