Sarah Walsh has been in LA trying “the acting thing” for a long time but she’s recently moved back home to care for her terminally ill father. She’s picking up hours as a caterer’s assistant and finds herself working the funeral of a man she used to know in high school. Hank Boyd, a smart but socially inept outcast, is dead by his own hand – he killed himself in police custody before standing trial on a murder charge.
The small town is filled with speculation: where the victim’s head might be found, crimes Hank may have committed previously, and whether Boyd is serial killer material. To Walsh these accusations ring false – sure he was weird, but a murderer?
Hank Boyd is Dead is half narrative film, half pretend documentary, with characters giving talking head interviews about the deceased and the mysterious circumstances of his life and death. The production values are a little inconsistent, with the narrative pieces much stronger. The acting is quite good. The unknown cast really makes this work, with Stefanie Frame as Walsh being a particular standout.
The Boyd family is pretty messed up. Hank’s predilection for beheading pretty young girls is the least worrisome habit on this family tree. This means the movie necessitates some pretty heavy suspensions of disbelief, and believe me, my disbelief was pretty flipping thick. The writing is expository and clunky with obvious attempts to fill in the potholes in the plot. While it is not exactly a spoof, it is perhaps enjoyed best in that spirit.