The Boy (2016)

Greta (Lauren Cohan) is an American nanny looking for a job in the English countryside. When she arrives at her new job she is shocked to find that the “boy” she is supposed to care for is actually a doll. Even more bizarre is that the doll was made to look like the couple’s deceased son, Brahms, and they treat the doll as if it was their son. The parents strongly urge Greta to follow Brahms’ rules while they are away. When she doesn’t follow the rules, strange things begin to happen. Is Greta losing her mind living all alone in the secluded house, or is the doll actually alive?

I am so pleased to be able to tell you that I enjoyed this film. Going into the theater I was expecting this film to be dull and lacking in any substance. One of my favorite aspects of this film is that the trailer made you think the plot would go in a different direction than it actually did. This may have been a disappointment to some simply because the film was a bit slower than the trailer made it appear, with the exception of the climax. I agree that the film definitely moves at a leisurely pace, but what the film lacks in speed and excitement it makes up for in ambiance. It creates a very unsettling, creepy feel. There were times where it was unconformable to watch the odd relationship between the parents and doll Brahms, and even more uncomfortable to watch that relationship develop between Greta and doll Brahms.

This film also exceeded my expectations by having an amazing twist. It was exciting, made sense with everything that led up to the climax, and I did not even remotely see it coming. Even as the twist was being revealed it took me a second for it to click in my brain. Not only was the twist an unexpected one, but it made everything that you had just watched even more creepy and disturbing than you thought possible. Unfortunately, there is a down side to this exciting twist. While I thought it worked very well and added a ton of excitement to what could have been a slightly dull plot, it also felt like the twist was a complete rip off of another horror film that came out in 2014. I don’t want to say what that film is to avoid spoiling the end of this film (or the 2014 film for those who haven’t seen it yet). I’ll just say that, while the motivations for the entities are different in the two films, the general idea is the same. I’m going to give the filmmakers of The Boy the benefit of the doubt and say it is just a coincidence, especially since the 2014 film was a much smaller production that many people probably didn’t see.

The two leads did an excellent job. Many of us have seen Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead, Chuck) in several TV shows, primarily in a supporting role. While she has always been amazingly talented in those roles, she has never had the opportunity to really shine as the main character in a large production film. It was great to finally see her as a leading lady. Cohan held her own and proved that she can carry a film along in the main character. Rupert Evans (The Canal, Hellboy) was as charming as ever playing the lovable grocery boy, Malcolm.

The Boy was much more successful than I imagined it could be. There were so many elements that worked in its favor such as the acting and an interesting plot line. The marketing also worked in this film’s favor by not revealing too much of the story, which happens all too often these days. The twist was one of the best parts of the film, but it also is one of the reasons I had to dock a bit from the score. It was just too similar to the 2014 horror film I mentioned earlier to ignore. Looking past that, The Boy was still a creepy horror film that will leave you feeling quite disturbed about what you witnessed.


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