While trying to escape a dark past, Greta takes a job in the UK as the nanny for a young boy named Brahms. Upon arriving at the elderly couple’s mansion, she’s surprised to find that the boy she is supposed to be caring for is actually a large doll. Greta is unsure what to think, but when the couple leaves her with a set of rules for Brahms, she learns that there is a price to pay when these rules are broken.
When I first saw the trailer for The Boy, I immediately thought it was going to be bad. After the atrocity that was Annabelle, films with creepy dolls just don’t scream scary. Not only this but it looked like it was going to be filled with cheap jump scares. However, upon seeing the film, I was very much surprised. Let me start by saying that, it’s not actually a full-blown horror, in the end it plays out more like a mystery/psychological thriller with horror elements. It really feels like a Twilight Zone/Tales From the Crypt episode. The film moves at a very steady pace. We are thrust right into the story immediately and it starts out innocent with us in the same mindset as the lead. We think this couple completely nuts and couldn’t possibly see ourselves taking care of a doll. So in this respect, it’s aware of the fact that this is just a doll, and even when some of the creepiness occurs, we don’t immediately think the doll is alive, but think of something more ghostly and not jumping to conclusions. However at the same time, we find ourselves trying to figure out just what the hell is going on just like Greta. I will be upfront and say that there are shitty jump scares, but fortunately it isn’t really stuffed with them. More than anything it uses more atmospheric tactics in order to really creep us out, and it does a pretty decent job of it. I will even say there were times when the doll itself creeped me out a bit (screw you Annabelle). When the final act occurs, that’s when shit really begins to get crazy and you are hooked all the way through. To say anymore would give quite a bit away, but I will say this, DO NOT let this be spoiled for you. I didn’t see the ending coming at all and saw it as a huge sucker punch that had me questioning “what the f**k??”
Lauren Cohan is fantastic as our lead. The character feels very real and Cohan plays the part as realistic as well. She acts how any normal person would act in this situation. But once things get going, Cohan does an amazing job of showing Greta question her mentality. Aiding Greta in this mystery is the couple’s grocery man Malcom, played by Rupert Evans. Evans is also a real treat providing a great amount of charm and laughs, and shares great on-screen chemistry with Cohan. Like Cohan, Evans also plays his character with a great amount of realism. It is due to this that we are rooting for these two to get out alive.
The Boy I can say will be the most underrated horror film of the year. It is not your average doll film like Annabelle or Dead Silence (I honestly hated the latter as much as the former), or super violent like Child’s Play. Will it be as memorable as Child’s Play? No. But it is a film that sincerely stands on its own and takes what could have been a predictable snooze fest and breathes new life into it by going into a different territory. This is thanks to pretty strong writing (and a great final act), creepy atmosphere and cinematography, and solid characters brought to life by two find leads. Again DO NOT LET ANYONE SPOIL THIS FOR YOU!!!