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Movie Review: The Boy

February 5, 2016

The Boy 6

Greta Evans, played by Lauren Cohan, observes the boy. This is a screen grab from the official trailer.

The Boy” is a movie about Greta Evans, an American nanny played by Lauren Cohan, traveling to England to escape her abusive ex-boyfriend.

When she arrives, the old couple gives her a list of rules about how to care for their child. But here’s the catch, their son is actually a doll. Overall, the doll’s performance was overshadowed, as it was a bit wooden. The nanny decides not to follow the rules, because why would you follow the rules to take care of a doll, and freaky things start happening.

I wasn’t a huge fan of how the rules were presented. There are ten of them, which is a lot to cover. Preferably, they could’ve done something more similar to “Gremlins” where there are three simple rules that are easy to remember.

The atmosphere was great in this movie. From the beginning drive through a forest to the inevitable escape through it at the end, the locations felt creepy and bone-chilling. They did an awesome job of giving visual reference points early on so you always knew where in the mansion the characters were. Being able to make the viewer shake at what could be around the next corner is a challenging task  “The Boy” tackles well.

There were a few scenes  I was legitimately creeped out by. “The Boy” did a great job of making me feel isolated and out of my element. In reality, there were only three characters  you see in this movie, aside from the parents of the child who leave at the beginning of the film.

With great atmosphere does not come great originality, though. A lot of the scenes are cliched or rely on jump-scares. I counted six of them throughout the movie. Even a few were early on just to keep the viewer awake through the plot’s setup. They even had a scene where the female lead exploring the house’s spooky noises wearing nothing but a towel. This only worked in “Until Dawn,” which you can read my review for here, because they passed it off as parodistic while “The Boy” is doing it seriously.

I’ve still got a few problems with “The Boy.” It had so much going for it before the last 30 minutes or so. Throughout the movie, different explanations are offered to the origins of the seemingly living doll. The one  they ended up going with made the prior events make sense as long as you’re willing to suspend your disbelief a little bit.  I can’t really say why I didn’t like their explanation without spoiling the final act of the movie. Just know, for me, it was a bit of a letdown.

The second, and bigger, problem I had was it’s after-credits scene. It wasn’t really an after-credits scene, more something that would’ve been after the credits if they thought people would care to stay after the scrolling text. Once again, I can’t say anything about it without spoiling it, but it’s sequel bait that doesn’t belong. The producers must’ve thought  they had something gold people would want to see in annual sequels.

I’m not much of a horror fan, and I never have been, and “The Boy” was by no means terrible, but it’s also in no way memorable. The living doll trope has been done before, and nothing particularly new is brought to the table here.

You can watch a trailer for “The Boy” here.

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