DIRECTOR: William Brent Bell
WRITER: Stacey Menear
Greta Evans has travelled from the US to assist with an elderly couple and their son in a remote English village. Once Greta arrives at the rural English mansion, it becomes apparent that things aren't what they seem. Instead of caring for an actual child, it's revealed the job will be to take care of a life-sized doll. Greta begins to feel unnerved when she realises that the elderly couple treats this doll as if it's a real kid. As strange things start to happen, Greta starts to believe that maybe this doll is actually alive.
After almost eight months of release. I finally got to witness The Boy. When I initially watched the trailer for the movie, I was slightly intrigued to see the finished product. The trailer was somewhat eerie and had an atmosphere surrounding it. While this was no Chucky in terms of a killer doll, I was surprised I was excited about it. As this film came and went, I missed my chance to see it on the big screen. After finally getting a chance to watch it. I wasn't the biggest fan on my first viewing. On my second view, I warmed up to it a little more if I still found issues with it.
The boy starts off quite well. The film had me going for the first twenty-five minutes or so. The first introduction of Brahms and the serious reactions from the old married couple to the confused looks on Greta's face gave the movie some humour and light-heartedness. These scenes are clearly quite an uncomfortable situation for any young woman to be in. I was enjoying the early scenes involving the rules of how to care for Brahm. These moments were the eeriest moments in The Boy.
Once all the strange things begin to start happening with Brahm and the scenes that require the film to start delivering suspense, tension and the inevitable jump scares. This is where the film really lost me. This is probably due to the fact that pretty much every creepy scene was shown in the trailers, nothing really came as that much of a surprise. I sat there hoping to be shocked or surprised by these scenes, and they all fell pretty flat. I was slightly gutted when I sat through the next fifty minutes and nothing really happened.
From the twenty-five minute mark up until the last twenty minutes, The Boy was a cliched mess. As stated above, none of the scares landed, the suspense was basically non-existent, and there really wasn't all that much going on. We have a rather weak flirtatious love story subplot that wasn't working for me, the dullest suicide pact that suddenly happens but you haven't warmed to the characters yet. It's never explained to our main protagonist that they kill themselves until the final reveal of the movie's twist and don't even get me started on the abusive boyfriend who suddenly shows up out of nowhere.
Now onto that twist. I love a good twist in my films. Some films have managed to land a twist so shocking that it stays with me for days. Others have tried to drop a twist, and it falls flat due to predictability. The Boy, unfortunately, falls into the latter. With early hints in the first twenty-five minutes of the rules of Brahms scenes and a questionable farewell, it becomes clear what's causing odd things to happen within this old mansion. It's a twist that I've seen happen in a few horror movies. So when the big reveal happens, I wasn't at all surprised. It's a bit of a let down in all honesty.
The final showdown in the film is left to take place in the last ten minutes of the film. So it's all wrapped up quickly after a short chase which lacks the suspense as it was over and done within a matter of minutes. Let's not get started on the most overused final reveal shot in horror movies. [SPOILERS]: The killer apparently didn't die from that one stab wound to his stomach and guess what, he's still alive. I could've done without that last moment. I think we'll be getting The Boy: Part II sometime soon?
What The Boy does right is cast Lauren Cohan from AMC's The Walking Dead. She is the central star of this film and for the vast majority of it's running time, we are stuck in her shoes. From the first moments up until that final reveal, I found her enjoyable to watch in a leading role. She has apparently honed her screaming and acting scared skills on The Walking Dead as it pays off in this part. The best moments are when she starts to think she's losing her mind. Going off the deep end is where she delivers her most crazed moments.
Lastly, William Brent Bell's direction must get a shout out as well. I found that most of the film looked really well made concerning tracking shots, cinematography and those scenes inside the mansion and outside within the woods. As the movie is kept indoors for most of it's running time, I found he used the space of this giant old mansion very well. He's certainly no Guillermo Del Toro when it comes to creating intense and eerie stories inside a mansion, but that could be put down to the difference in budgets.
DEATH TOLL: 3
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A suicide by rocks in the pockets and drowning.
- A few dead and bloody rats.
- Porcelain is used to stab someone in the throat.
- A woman is thrown at a wall with superhuman strength.
- A few hits in the head with a metal fire-poker.
The Boy is a movie that I wanted to see for the last eight months. After finishing the film, I was left extremely disappointed. The story lacks any real tension, suspense or scares and the final twist is extremely predictable. The movie, does, however, have a standout in Lauren Cohen's central performance and the film looked fantastic from a technical point of view. The rest of this movie though feels pretty by the numbers. On a second viewing of The Boy, I had warmed up to the film a bit more but still found the same sort of issues I had the first time around.