NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Spectre

We open in the jungle late at night. A young boy is buried under the mud, using a bamboo stick to breathe and he notes, with disgust, to eat stink bugs. He does not narrate with a child’s voice but of an older man (H. Jon Benjamin). The Boy claws himself out of the mud only to be met by The Shaman (Yayan Ruhian) who looks at him with disapproval for failing the test. The Shaman proceeds to rebury the boy. The Boy notes he wished his training involved “less dirt.”

Over the years, we see “Boy” train with The Shaman, with martial arts, strength training by rolling a statue’s head up a hill, and weapons training. Some nights, The Shaman uses drugs that cause Boy to hallucinate. All of this is in the service of one mission; to kill Hilda Van De Koy (Famke Janssen) the matriarch leader of a nameless despotic post apocalyptic city. Boy must do this to avenge his family, for Hilda is directly responsible for their deaths.

In flashbacks, Boy narrates that he had a simple life even if his mother was a bit eccentric (seen cleaning guns, obviously in resistance to the regime). He cannot even remember what his voice was like, so he used the voiceover of his favorite video game to speak his inner thoughts. Despite some hardships, he had a best friend in his younger sister Mina (Quinn Copeland). They would play games together and hang out. Mina showed him a plan in which they will rob a bank and run away from the city. Boy remembers a day when Mina and he came across a statute of Hilda. Mina puts up her whole hand in the sky saying she is giving Hilda the finger with all of them. Boy puts up his hand with his sister.

However, the regime came for them and selected them for the yearly “Culling” in which 12 dissidents are publicly executed to exert control, tamper resistance, and entertain the mostly brainwashed populace. Boy watched as Hilda personally shot his mother and sister. Still, he somehow survived.

Years later, Boy (Bill Skarsgard) has pushed his body to the limit thanks to the training of The Shaman and feels ready, almost beating The Shaman in a fight. However, he sees a hallucination of Mina which causes him to get distracted and lose. The Shaman shakes his head, saying he is not ready.

One day, they go into the city, obstinately to sell produce. Boy notices a cute flower girl who gives him a flower and smiles. Boy ponders to himself that perhaps there could be something else other than his mission. Around that time, the soldiers of the regime arrive. The flower girl notes she loves the Koy’s and “The Culling.” Boy looks at her in disgust and crumples the flower in his hand. The Shaman pulls Boy around a corner and they watch.

Out of one of the cars, exits Glen Van De Koy (Sharlito Copley), husband of Melanie Van De Koy (Michelle Dockey) and brother in law to Gideon Van De Koy (Brett Gelman). They have arrived to select 12 dissidents for the public executions. Glen begins to give a speech written by Gideon but stops multiple times, complaining about how badly written it is, and how it mentions owls, an animal no one in the city has seen. A woman in the crowd angrily screams out calling him a coward and a “puppet fucker.” Glen pulls a gun and dares her to say it again, so he shoots at her, killing someone else. That turns the crowd against them, and they attempt to go after Glen only for the soldiers, including head enforcer June 27 (Jessica Rothe) to slaughter them. In the end, only six people remain for The Culling, so Glen orders them to be rounded up.

Boy wants to go after them, but The Shaman says he is not ready. Boy defies him and gives chase, eventually hiding in the trunk of Glen’s car.

At a warehouse, Gideon chews out Glen for causing a massacre and not even getting 12 people for The Culling. Glen says he will smooth things over with Melanie. When Melanie arrives, Glen immediately throws Gideon under the bus for his crappy speech ruining everything. Melanie chastises them both but tells Glen to get ready for the ceremony. Melanie tells Gideon to grab six people off the street if he must but they must have 12.

Boy leaves the trunk of the car, and begins to go through the warehouse. However, the hallucination of Mina is still around, he begins talking to her (via his narration) to be quiet and stealthy. Boy, however, continues to forget she isn’t there causing him to walk out into the open which Glen sees, sending men after him. After thinking about his training, Boy begins to take the fight to the men, using hand to hand, knives and their own guns against the soldiers. In the middle of the fighting, he meets a man, Basho (Andrew Koji) who offers to help kill Hilda if he can be free from his chains. Boy frees him, realizing for the first time he has a teammate. Boy continues to kill the soldiers while Basho hides from the gunfire behind a cart. Eventually, all the soldiers are dead.

Glen tries to flee, but Boy and Basho catch him. Interrogating him, Glen confesses Hilda has a party at her mansion every year before The Culling and offers to help sneak them in. Unfortunately, Basho drops a vice that he was holding in threat on Glen’s head, crushing it. Basho meekly says Glen wasn’t going to really help them while Boy disagrees.

Escaping the warehouse, Basho takes him to the secret location of the resistance…only to find no one there. Going inside, Boy is held at gunpoint by Benny (Isaiah Mustafa) who is quickly calmed by Basho. Basho and Benny embrace and Basho asks where everyone else is. Benny begins to talk and while Boy can read lips, he realizes Benny is speaking in another language and thus everything he says is gibberish to him (at times humorously illustrated in exaggerated form). It is clear however, what Benny is telling Basho; that the regime came for them and killed everyone but him. Basho asks about a woman, his apparent lover, only to find out she had been killed. Basho breaks down and Boy, reading between the lines, reaches out to comfort him.

Enraged, and inspired, Basho tells Benny that they will strike back regardless because they actually know where Hilda will be tonight. They sit Boy down and begin to tell him the plan. However, once again, Benny explains it, and thus Boy does not understand. Mina shows up next to him. She tells him to just nod to the two men and wing it when the time comes.

They drive to the mansion and knock out a few guards and a chef. They give Boy the chef clothes to blend in. He goes inside with a cake, but doesn’t know what to do, and momentarily gets distracted by macaroons. Basho sees him and tries to get him on mission to no avail. Boy tells his sister to hide while he goes off to do “Chef things.”

Going into the kitchen, he strips the uniform. The other workers notice, and grab knives, all fighters. Boy begins to fight them, using a cheese grater to horrifically cut their skin. He drops it and grabs a butcher’s cleaver. Going into the dining hall, he cuts the throat of a guard before heading to the head of the table where Hilda sits. In one swift move, he decapitates her. He has won, avenging his family.

Not quite.

The others at the table scream in horror. Boy grabs the head and realizes it is not Hilda. He is suddenly surrounded by guards and Gideon. Gideon explains he realized someone would eventually try to kill Hilda so set up this elaborate trap with actors to catch dumb resistance members. Boy wants to fight but is outnumbered and outgunned. Gideon retreats, letting June 27 take care of him.

June 27 and Boy fighting, trading blows. Boy begins to have the upper hand, and even pulls off the helmet she wears. When Boy looks at her, he unexpectedly pauses. This gives June 27 the opening to push him over the railing and knock him out. His last thought is how he failed his mission.

Knocked out, he dreams of the past; the execution of his mother and sister, the regime cutting out his tongue, and being hung from a tree. He remembers The Shaman saved him and carried him into the jungle, ready to train him for vengeance.

Boy comes to, tied to a chair. June 27 begins punching him, telling him to give up The Shaman. Boy mouths “Fuck You.” She throws an axe at his head in response. Gideon steps in and tells her a more subtle touch is needed and he will handle it. Sighing, Gideon tells Boy he doesn’t want to torture him as the act gives him nosebleeds. He then tells him that his sister Hilda is a shell of her former self. She has spent years in a bunker, paranoid and murderous. She is so afraid of The Shaman that she has set up yearly executions to root out dissidents. Gideon notes however, that they have gotten everyone that was remotely a threat and they are now straight up murdering innocent people from the streets. Their system has won, but Hilda can’t see it. Gideon notes he is tired of it all. Gideon pleads for him to make it easy, but Boy is defiant. Gideon says he respects it, and then orders him to be taken for this year’s show.

At the studio, Melanie tells Boy when he killed Glen he made a mistake, as they needed a host for the show. She plans to make a special example out of him.

On the soundstage, they chain him up and put a shock collar around his neck. The broadcast begins, and Hilda comes out to host, with Melanie trying to keep her on a short leash, knowing her instability. Hilda at first does okay and basks in the adulation of the audience. However, Hilda sees a shadow in the audience; she thinks it is The Shaman. She begins to go off script, worrying the audience. She pulls a gun (despite Melanie working to make sure she didn’t have one) and is pulled away. Melanie then presents the tableau where the 12 selected for The Culling will die; a winter wonderland setting with cereal mascots and demonic elves. They begin to cull the twelve victims, beating them to death, stabbing them, eviscerating them etc.

Looking on in horror, Boy realizes he has to escape. Suddenly he feels something and remembers. In their conversation, Gideon had slipped him a scalpel. He begins to cut a rope, freeing himself. About to charge the stage, Melanie activates his shock collar, incapacitating him. Four of the elves grab him, while a man in a goat costume walks over with a mallet to kill him. As the hammer falls, it hits one of the elves. The goat attacks the rest, before removing his head. It is Basho. Benny bursts in with guns and the three take cover. They explain their plan went off without a hitch, but once again Benny does much of the talking, leading Boy not to understand and imagine a plan involving birds and severed feet.

Going back into the fray, Benny gives Boy a brass knuckle gun that fires bullets when he punches someone, and he kills several people that way. The three begin to fight the assassins together.

In the control room, Melanie is furious that the show is ruined while Gideon is giddy. Melanie screams she knows he caused this and he more or less says he doesn’t care. He begins to walk away so she grabs a gun and points it at him. He sighs, resigned to his fate.

Back on the stage, Boy fights a Cereal Pirate mascot but runs out of bullets. Benny throws him a clip and he loads it, punching the Pirates face, shooting him several times. The three look up, having defeated everyone. However, Benny sees Melanie coming and pushes Boy out of the way, getting shot. Fatally wounded, Boy holds Benny as he dies, his last words, once again, sounding like gibberish to him. Basho in turn, is shot as well. Boy races up the stage and using a pineapple mascot as a shield is able to overpower Melanie.

Boy ties Melanie to a chair, who thinks she will be executed on air. She tells him to make her a martyr. The camera pans away before moving fast towards her. She screams out in vain as the camera crashes into her face, cracking and getting covered in blood. It pulls back, revealing he pierced her face with metal spikes of a panning dolly camera. Her body slumps to the floor.

Boy gets Basho up, who while wounded, tells him he will get him to Hilda. They are a team and he promised.

In a hallway, guards swarm. Basho tells Boy to go as he slumps over. Boy remembers he is a weapon and using a sword, slices through every man there. As the blood flows, he thinks of his dead family, losing his tongue, his torture, his training. When he snaps out of it, every man is dead. He looks back to Basho. He has died of his wounds. Boy moves on. He has no choice. He is so close.

Going down the hallway, he finds Gideon slumped over. Gideon laughs and notes that their “boss encounter” won’t happen as Melanie shot him. Gideon gives him a key card that will give him access to the bunker. Boy readies his sword to strike. Gideon sighs and tells him to do what he has to. The hallucination of Mina shows up and tells him not to do it. Gideon helped him after all. Boy refuses to show mercy and Mina cries out that she’s his sister. Boy tells her that she is dead and he doesn’t need her anymore. He slashes his sword, killing Gideon.

Getting on the elevator, Hilda gets on a screen and tells him the second he arrives he will be gunned down by her men and he will die for nothing. “No,” Boy narrates. “It’s not for nothing.” He shows Mina’s drawing of her bank plan which makes Hilda gasp and cut the feed. Boy arrives at the ground floor met by men who hold guns to him but don’t fire. June 27 is there; her helmet saying Hilda will see him. Boy drops his sword.

Walking into a lavish living room, Boy’s world begins to swirl as he looks at a large painting. He thinks of his one goal in life; to kill Hilda. We see the painting. It is of the Koy family. Boy is there with his sister and Hilda. Hilda didn’t kill his mother. SHE IS HIS MOTHER.

Hilda comes up to Boy, sobbing and apologizing for not recognizing him. She tells him how sorry she is and how she knows how much he suffered at the hands of The Shaman. She begs him to acknowledge her, to show he is still in there.

Suddenly, Boy remembers it all. He was there that day at the execution, not as a victim but rather a spectator and participant. The Shaman and his son and the woman he had believed was his mother and her daughter were lined up to be shot. The Shaman begged for the children to be spared but Hilda just cursed them for their defiance. She then forced Boy to fire the gun to kill them. He shoots, killing The Shaman’s son and the woman and her daughter. Goaded into killing The Shaman by his mother, Boy panics and fires the gun wildly before running off.

Running into the jungle, Boy breaks down sobbing, guilt ridden at what he has done. He looks up and sees The Shaman who knocks him to the ground and begins to choke him to death before stopping, deciding he has a better idea. He takes him into the forest and with torture and drugs, makes Boy forget Hilda and make him believe his mother and sister are dead. He then cuts out his tongue and deafens him to make him more controllable.

Boy is horrified about relearning the truth; that he is a part of this monstrous family, and he had unknowingly killed his aunt and uncles. Hilda has another surprise for him; June 27 is actually Mina, the sister he believed to be dead.

Hilda begs for a sign that he is her son still but Boy is too much in shock to give her anything. Seeing him as a threat, she tells June 27/Mina to kill him, saying her brother is gone. June 27 raises one of her axes but hesitates. Boy puts up his hand, and she remembers that day with the statue. Hilda screams at her to do it, but June 27 turns around and kills her mother instead, planting the axe in her forehead. Taking cover behind a bar, June 27 and Boy grab Uzi submachine guns and begin to shoot their way out of the compound. Eventually, they come across a heavily armored gun and a Gatling gun turret. They use the armored soldier as a human shield and crash into the man with the Gatling gun, before Boy turns it on him.

Beaten and bloody, they get into the elevator. June 27 tells him that Hilda thought he was dead but she never gave up hope he was alive. She hurt people because she thought they had hurt him. She had become a monster. Suddenly, the elevator is forced back down. Going back out, they see The Shaman.

The Shaman says Boy has done well but it is not finished. In sign language, now understanding why The Shaman did what he did, Boy says The Shaman got his revenge as the Koy family is dead and has no power over the city anymore. The Shaman replies that not all the Koy’s are dead, gesturing at June 27; he will not rest until they are all gone, and will take Boy out too to achieve his goal if he must.

Boy is unwilling to give up his sister and that leads to a two on one fight between them. While both fantastic fighters, The Shaman initially has the upper hand, beating them silly, and causing terrible wounds. Boy at one point rips off a necklace The Shaman wore with a small sharp rock on it. However, the Shaman gets it back and proceeds to cut open Boy’s arm and leg with it, causing him to bleed profusely. He turns the rock back on Boy and almost stabs him when Boy sees a vision of his younger self, giving him the strength to turn against The Shaman for the wrongs he did. While he had just cause to go after the Koy family, he did a terrible, unforgivable thing in the process. Boy is able to force the sharp rock into The Shaman’s neck, killing him.

Broken and bloody, Boy goes to his sister. She tells him to run, that it is better this way. Boy, however, refuses to leave her behind and gets her out of the bunker. As they escape the compound, he narrates that they will find a way out and he will take her away from this totalitarian city. Furthermore, with the majority of the Koy family dead, the regime will fall, hopefully leading to peace for the first time in years.

The final scene is a flashback of Boy and Mina in the arcade. As they begin to play a fighting game, Mina asks if Boy is with her. The Boy replies with his only audible line “Always.”

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Boy (Bill Skarsgard) has been trained for years by The Shaman (Yayan Ruhian) with one goal; to kill Hilda Van De Koy (Famke Janssen) and bring down her corrupt despotic government. Boy has a personal vendetta against Hilda as she killed his mother and beloved sister.

Boy joins up with two resistance fighters Basho (Andrew Koji) and Benny (Isaiah Mustafa) to kill Hilda. They later save Boy from execution but both are ultimately killed by Melanie (Michelle Dockey). Boy kills Melanie and Gideon (Brett Gellman) and goes to confront Hilda.

Hilda tells Boy the truth. She is actually his mother and her main enforcer June 27 (Jessica Rothe) is long lost Sister Mina. Boy remembers that his mother forced him to shoot at The Shaman and his son, killing his son and two other people. Guilt ridden, Boy ran into the forest, before The Shaman captured him. The Shaman proceeded to brainwash Boy onto his path to vengeance.

Not getting an acknowledgment out of Boy, Hilda tells June 27/Mina to kill him but she kills her mother instead when she realizes Boy remembers her. The two fight through their mother’s men only to be confronted by The Shaman who wants June 27 dead as well. Boy eventually kills The Shaman to protect his sister. June 27 tells Boy to run but he refuses to leave her behind and drags her out of the compound. Boy narrates they will find a way out of the city. With the majority of the Koy family dead, the regime will ultimately fall, hopefully leading to peace for the first time in years.