A young American woman travels to England where she must become the nanny for an eccentric couple's son who appears to be a doll.
William Brent Bell
Lauren Cohan as Greta Evans
Rupert Evans as Malcolm
Jim Norton as Mr. Heelshire
Diana Hardcastle as Mrs. Heelshire
Ben Robson as Cole
The Boy succeeds in being better than Annabelle but is still one of the most uninspired, dull and completely unscary horror films in recent memory. An early contender for worst of 2016 and it’s only January.
On the heels of the utterly mediocre and remarkable The Forest, The Boy is even blander than both films’ utterly forgettable titles. How can it be that some independent filmmakers are able to make some truly engaging and original work on tiny budgets which they may never see a dime from while mainstream entertainment is able to pump out such braindead, tedious and predictable slop like this? The Boy has none of the menace of The House of the Devil nor the sense of humor of Child’s Play or the campiness of Dolls. Honestly, Pixar’s Toy Story films with their depictions of toys coming to life is more frightening a concept than anything The Boy has to offer.
Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan – The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries) leaves America to travel to a remote English manor. Greta is there to act as a nanny for the son of a wealthy and eccentric couple, she will make good money and it puts her thousands of miles away from her problems at home. She meets Malcolm (Rupert Evans – The Canal, Hellboy) who runs a store in the village and is the only other visitor to the manor, bringing groceries every week. Finally Greta is introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire and their son Brahms. Greta laughs when she sees what appears to just be a 3 foot tall porcelain doll in a suit but realizes very quickly that the Heelshires are deadly serious about this being their son. The Heelshires go over Greta’s duties as nanny and housekeeper while they are away and they very hastily leave the next morning, leaving a set of rules to follow in order to keep Brahms happy.
Joking while sharing the news of her arrival with her friend back in the USA Greta is totally dismissive of the rules given to her. Those rules include such things as never covering Brahms’ face, always making him a plate of food for each meal, playing his favorite music loudly in the study, and giving him a kiss goodnight. Befriending the amiable grocery man Malcolm, Greta learns a little more about the family. That Brahms died in a fire in the house and that the doll appears to be how the Heelshires (I HATE that stupid, made up posh-sounding name by the way) coped with the grief of losing their son. It is not long before Greta begins having strange nightmares and then discovering odd occurrences that seem to lead back to the always staring face of the doll named Brahms. When Greta decides to leave for a night in the town with Malcolm her clothes vanish and she is somehow locked in the attic. Fearing for her sanity and being utterly isolated from society she begins to believe that there truly is something more to Brahms that meets the eye and events will only escalate as she gets nearer to the truth. Also, her dark past threatens to catch up with her.
So, The Boy. When the trailer for this film was released it was met with a great deal of apathy. While it is not always fair to judge a film by its trailer it is also the purpose of a trailer to make the viewer excited to see the movie. What the trailer for The Boy showed was generic scares, a spooky doll that doesn’t look scary at all and… a big spooky house? Yeah that was about it. To be absolutely fair to the makers of this trailer, they really didn’t have much else to show. This is an incredibly dreary film with maddeningly obvious plot twists and tediously obvious jump scares. There is absolutely no originality here as The Boy shamelessly borrows from vastly superior movies without any of the flair and even worse the film is not even remotely scary.
The Boy is so workmanlike and perfunctory it does not stand out in any way. Despite having the creepy premise, the big gloomy house and talented acting leads it is all squandered. The pace is so languid, the cinematography so bland and the characters so lazily cliche there’s just nothing interesting here. Lauren Cohan has little to do here other than be pretty and play a character that makes terrible decisions in service of the plot. Rupert Evans, so fantastic in The Canal and numerous other film and TV projects has even less to do, mainly just to fill in backstory and to give you someone to be suspicious of. This film is slavishly devoted to the concept of Chekhov’s Gun to the point that it telegraphs everything up until the last 15 minutes or so at which point we are given a plot twist incredibly similar to another horror film. If you want to know what movie that is you can ask in the comments but even if you haven’t seen that other movie it’s doubtful that you will particularly surprised by the climax of the film. Perhaps “climax” is the wrong word because it makes the ending of the film sound exciting. It’s not. It just does it’s predictable thing and then actually has the nerve to end suggesting that a sequel could happen. What in the hell would they do with a sequel when they could barely fill 90 minutes with content the first time?
January has a reputation for being a dumping ground for crappy movies, a graveyard of unloved creations that are buried the moment they get to see the light of day. Not all of those films deserve it but The Boy absolutely does. A complete waste of everybody’s time.