The boy – Better than what it looks like!
War of the Movies: 6.0/10
Directed by William Brent Bell
Released on January 28, 2016
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle
An American young woman, Greta, is hired by an old British couple to be the nanny of their son, Brahms. The only problem? Their son is in fact a doll. As they leave to go on a vacation, they give a list to the babysitter with the exact schedule she must follow to take care of their eight-year-old boy. Finding ridiculous that she must look after a doll, Greta begins to do only the things that she wants to do, only realizing maybe too late that when the doll has no attention, strange things start to happen in the mansion…
At a first look, while watching the preview or reading the synopsis, The Boy seems like the kind of horror film that can, and will probably, turn out to be bad, really bad even. I mean lets be honest, a nanny of a doll, really?! And she didn’t run away at this first strange thing, what is wrong with this woman! But what a surprise it was in fact to realize that this film manages to a certain point to captivate our attention. Is it predictable? Very if you pay attention, but otherwise The Boy delivers on the dark atmosphere that it creates. It is no The Exorcist by any means, hence the nowhere near perfect rating, but you will appreciate it much more than some of the last few years’ horror films with dolls, like Annabelle or Dead Silence.
What I think differentiates this film for the others of the same kind, is how the characters turned out to be. Whereas many horror films have characters that can’t seem to think farther than the tip of their nose, here we have a Greta (played by Lauren Cohan) that as a much sharper mind and way of thinking. She acts or has reactions that you hope she will have. For example, she doesn’t walk in the dark unprotected, she actually remembers the sharp object she took earlier in the film, and takes it again before going to investigate on the strange noises. And when she realizes that if she’s not good to the doll bad things happen, she’s smart enough to play the game. Big thumps up for that!
My deception however is that The Boy isn’t much of an horror film like it’s publicize, but more of a thriller/suspense. Even if it’s about a doll who is able to move by itself, the film is far away of being categorize as horror! Will you be very scared? Maybe not if you are an avid watcher of horror movies, but you will like that the crew took the time to create as much as they can a really dark atmosphere, focusing more on giving us the chill this way than with gore visual effects. I personally think that the audience of the movie is young teenagers looking to be scared during a night out with friends. Still I saw some middle-age people being afraid during the movie, so who knows, maybe this one will scare you too!
As for the acting, it was fine, nothing more than that, which I must admit was a huge deception. Why? Because when you learn that Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene in The Walking Dead, is playing the principal character in this film, you expect to see someone really credible. I mean come on, if you can look like you really are living in towns infested of zombies, being scared of a doll shouldn’t be that hard right? Well apparently it is! Is the average acting a fault of the script? Maybe a little but the script can’t take all the blame seeing that the screenwriter actually took the time to create a character that smartly takes precautions and defends herself, an aspect that we rarely see in horror film these last few years. However, not all the actors lacked some credibility. I liked the older couple, played by Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle, they take the creepy factor to a new level, but seeing as they hired Greta to go away on a well deserved vacation, we unfortunately don’t see much of them!
Even with the average acting, The Boy is a little bit saved by some interesting twists and turns and the realistic reactions of the principal character, but it will nowhere be in the top 20 of the most interesting movies of 2016!
Should you see it?
If the film intrigues you, you should wait to see it on rental but I think it can be good for young teenagers or people who are easily scared.