The Boy (2016)

TheBoy

Directed By: William Brent Bell
Starring: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, James Russell, Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle, Ben Robson, et. al.
Rating: PG-13
Grade: B-

American Greta Evans takes a job as a nanny for Heelshire’s, a couple in the English countryside with an 8 year old son. When she arrives, however, she discovers that the “boy” she’s meant to be caring for is actually a life-sized doll named Brahms, after the couple’s deceased son. After getting a basic rundown of Brahms’ daily routine and meeting the grocery delivery person, a charming man named Malcolm, who is also the only other person allowed in the house, Greta is given a strict set of instructions regarding Brahms’ care, and is left alone with the doll. After following her own routine for a few days, Greta begins to notice strange things happening in the house, such as the doll and other things moving seemingly of their own accord. Confiding in Malcolm that she thinks the doll may actually be alive, she is told the story behind Brahms’ death, and that he may not have been the sweet child the Heelshire’s claim him to have been. After Greta receives an unexpected visitor, the terrifying truth behind the incidents in the house is revealed to be far worse than she or Malcolm thought possible.

This is another movie that should have been far better than what the final product turned out to be. What was intended to be an intense psychological thriller was watered down to a stereotypical semi-horror/thriller. After reading what the original idea for the movie was, I’m almost certain that it would have far better, and scarier, than what was actually released. The acting is okay. After several years on The Walking Dead, Cohan has adapted well to acting in horror scenarios, and her American accent is solid. The American accent of the actor who plays her ex, however, is choppy and mottled, but he’s not in very many scenes so it doesn’t detract from the story. The other actors are using their natural accents.

There are little to no special effects beyond background filler, and that isn’t noticeable.

If you don’t mind low-grade thrillers, then you’ll probably like this movie. Enough of the original story is retained that it’s not completely predictable. It also doesn’t rely solely on jump scares to get a reaction. It’s a decent effort to create an atmospheric movie, and, in part, it succeeds. After an initial viewing, it could definitely be used as background noise for someone who doesn’t want to sit in silence, but doesn’t want to worry missing out on the plot details of a newer or more complex story.

The Boy is currently not available free to stream anywhere, but can be rented through Redbox or Netflix home delivery, or purchased at any participating store or on-line retailer.

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