The Boy (2016)

4:35 PM

Follow His Rules
This review contains Spoilers
 The Boy is directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside, Stay Alive) and stars Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries) and Rupert Evans (Hellboy, Agora) alongside a very creepy doll. "An American nanny is shocked that her new English family's boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive". The Boy seems to be a male version of Annabelle, is it just a rip off? or is there some new and interesting stuff here?

So, The Boy is an interesting one - I started off thinking 'Wow this is a really good film, I'm really enjoying it' but unfortunately the film fails to keep that up and goes from entertaining to dull to mad. The film really is split into 3 different parts so this review will be split into the beginning, middle and end of the film. I really thought I was going to like this film a lot at the start but now I can see why it hasn't had much critical acclaim. 

Act 1
So this has to be the strongest part of the film for me. I thought the plot was set up really nicely and our lead character, Greta, wasn't portrayed as your typical dumb horror movie character. Yes, she violates his rules but she seems to speak what is on a lot of the audiences minds and seems like quite a realistic character. There were a few jump scares in this act (they mostly occurred in dreams) and it was nice to see false jump scares not being used when there were plenty of opportunities. I accurately thought The Boy felt quite well made and of a high quality in the first act - we learned about the characters troubled past and good horror films are always able to have another layer to them other than the scare factor so I was hoping that Greta's past relationship difficulties would be a key theme - unfortunately this was an anti-climax. The pace for the film was quite slow but I was sticking with it as I felt things were about to speed up at any moment. Act 1 is by far the strongest and if the whole film was like this, I would have many more positive things to say.

Act 2
This is where the film kind of lost its way. The Boy lost all of its horror and tension as it just became very dull. Even though Greta started to interact with Brahms much more - she almost befriended him so the scares that were previously there were no longer there. Nothing scary actually really happened though in the film apart from when Greta was in a dream. I just became very bored in Act 2 of The Boy and really lost interest. 

Act 3
However, my interest was certainly grabbed towards the end of the film with a really mad twist. Firstly, Greta confronts her presumably abusive boyfriend who has tracked her down - he was an anticlimax like I previously mentioned. Then it all kicks off - when the mirror is smashed and the real Brahms appears - my stomach turned. I really hate masks and find them very scary - The Boy is no exception. I think I am going to be scarred by this twist for a few days as it has really creeped me out. The film actually became pretty scary towards the end and I thought it was so creepy that Brahms still had a childlike voice but then you also hear the older man inside him. Sickening. The whole thought that Brahms was hiding in the walls and was travelling through the house all this time really creeps me out. However, this twist may be pretty good but it is completely random and no explaining is done  at all. This is when Greta becomes dumb - she manages to calm him down so why doesn't she ask him how he survived and gave him the chance to give us a monologue explaining everything? The twist just didn't make sense and too much was left for the audiences interpretation. The effective and twisted twist is reduced by it being completely random and not explained in any way. 

I was really impressed with Lauren Cohan in this film - I thought she did a fantastic job. Even though I think The Forest was a better film, I think Cohan performed stronger than Dormer. A lot of the film was just Cohan and a doll so for her to keep the audiences attention is pretty impressive. Cohan doesn't really have many co-stars but Rupert Evans does an ok job - I won't be remembering his performance but it definitely worked and he didn't embarrass himself. 

I really liked the production design and value of this film - the house they used is definitely very creepy and works as the perfect haunted house. The Boy isn't the scariest of films I've seen and if you don't have a fear of masks like me then you may not really find any true horror in it. However, even though the final act doesn't make sense, it is creepy and seems to have a long-lasting effect. 

The Boy is a film that has some major problems with its pacing and story - one minute it is a slow burn with some real tension then it is extremely dull look at the friendship between a nanny and a doll and then it turns into a mad fast paced impossible but extremely creepy twist. The Boy is well acted by Lauren Cohan and has good production value but it is just too sloppy for me to recommend it. It is marginally better than Annabelle but I'm sure we'll see better horror films this year.

2.5 STARS
C

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