The Boy Parent Review
The film features amazing sets and a great location, which may help to compensate for the stereotypical creepy depiction of an inanimate object and the cookie-cutter plot.
I’m used to seeing stupid antagonists in horror movies: Guys with chainsaws or ghosts that don’t know when to die. But the antagonist in The Boy is a real dummy. Literally!
When Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan) takes a nanny job in the UK to care for the son of an elderly couple (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle), she doesn’t know what to say when she meets Brahms. He’s a porcelain doll! His mother, Mrs. Heelshire, has a strict routine for Greta to follow each day, right down to the goodnight kiss. Needless to say when the Heelshires walk out the door to take a rare vacation, Greta tosses Brahms in a chair and then tries to relax in the huge old mansion.
We shouldn’t be surprised when the young woman’s thoughts of having an incredibly easy babysitting job are shattered by strange sounds in the night. As well, her clothes disappear while she’s in the shower (we see an outline of her figure through the curtain). With only the grocery “boy”—a handsome guy named Malcolm (Rupert Evans)—to speak with, she begins wondering if she’s crazier than Brahms’ parents. However, after Brahms delivers a peanut butter sandwich to her door, even she begins to buy into the idea that this kid is more than a dummy.
The Boy works all the classic elements of the horror genre. Isolation, a big old house, things that go bump in the night, and an attractive young woman trying to talk herself into believing everything is okay. For those who haven’t been fed a regular diet of jump scenes and crashing sounds, this may all be new and will work to raise a few hairs on your head.
In terms of content concerns, The Boy gets reasonably good grades. Infrequent profanities include some terms of Christian deity and scatological curses. The screenplay includes a brief sexual interlude, which is quickly interrupted by the dummy in the other room. And there is a depiction of suicide by drowning. However things get bloodier in the final act when an unexpected visitor shows up and meets the wrath of Brahms.
The film features amazing sets and a great location, which might help to compensate for the stereotypical creepy depiction of an inanimate object and the cookie-cutter plot. Still, if you’re looking for a cheap thrill at the movies, this boy could be for you.Directed by William Brent Bell. Starring Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Ben Robson. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release January 22, 2016. Updated May 12, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Boy here.
The Boy Parents Guide
The horror movie genre often places characters in isolated settings where they are unable to communicate with the outside world. How is this becoming more difficult to do in modern day scripts? What ideas do screenwriters come up with to circumvent the convenience of cell phones and Internet connections?
From the Studio: Greta is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive. Written by STX Entertainment