After the greatness of Annabelle in 2014, horror fans worldwide could not wait for more creepy doll movies… right? Regardless of what we really want, The Boy is the newest horror film to try out the concept of having a porcelain doll creep out the viewers. A young American woman named Greta travels to the UK to become a nanny for a young boy in a mansion. She is shocked upon arrival as the boy she is going to babysit is in fact a porcelain doll.
The real boy that lived in this mansion died in a fire twenty years ago, and ever since the parents have used this doll as a replacement. Greta is given a list of what she needs to do for the doll every single day and then they leave her to guard it on her own. It doesn’t take long before Greta start to experience strange things at this house and she is suspecting that the doll might not be as lifeless as it seems…
The Boy had one of the highest budgets of a horror film the last years with 10 million dollars to play with. Even if it is low on special effects, the money surely went to make the movie look as good as it does. The lighting and cinematography is excellent and above what we would expect from a horror film in 2016.
It also shows in the casting as the cast here is not a bunch of unknowns. Lauren Cohan, mostly known as Maggie from The Walking Dead, was given the job of carrying the movie as her character Greta is alone in the house for most of the first hour of the film. Cohan is a competent actress and very easy on the eyes to look at and she is one of the better parts of the movie. Her character Greta though, even if we know why she had to get away from home, it’s hardly explained why the hell a grown woman would travel to another country just to babysit a kid.
If she was a 19 year old or something like that then it would make more sense, but Greta is obviously a grown woman in her late 20’s or early 30’s and it just seemed a bit weird to me. So even if Conrad is one of the better parts of the film, I think it could have been more effective with a younger actress. Greta occassionally gets a visit from the local delivery guy Malcolm, played by Rupert Evans who you might remember from The Canal and Hellboy. His character is just here to be a love interest for Greta and serves very little purpose. Ben Robson also shows up at the start of the third act as Cole, Greta’s past boyfriend.
It would not matter at all if this character was just cut out of the film as he just brings the entire thing down. So that’s basically most of the characters. The story itself is simple. Greta is in the house and shit happens that make her question the porcelain doll and her own sanity. Even if I do not mind staring at Lauren Cohan, it gets very dull to watch Greta walk around in this house and do stuff with the doll. Everything that happens to her feels so unnatural, like when she gets attached to the doll or even when she starts to get creeped out by the little thing.
I do not mind a slow paced film, hell, I’ll gladly watch black and white movies from the 1920’s without any problem, but The Boy was way to slow and uneventful for me. I suppose the idea was to create a creepy atmosphere that would pay off later, but nothing, absolutely nothing I saw in this got any reaction from me whatsoever. It doesn’t help that they had to include a few cheap scares during the first hour which was probably only included to make sure the audience didn’t forget that this was supposed to be a scary film.
When you have your main character getting a jump scare in a dream sequence then you know you have a film lacking suspense. And the film has a plot twist to it. I won’t spoil it here, but it reminded me of another film that was released last year that I absolutely loved, but I can’t really mention the title for that one either as I would spoil it by doing so as well as the plot twist is nearly identical. Which sucks, as that’s a film I want to recommend to more people and would rather talk about than this film.
The director of this project is William Brent Bell, who is no stranger to genre films as he was also the guy behind Stay Alive from 2006, The Devil Inside from 2012, a film I didn’t care much for either and Wer from 2013, which I’ve heard good things about. The Boy is quite different from The Devil Inside though, so even if you perhaps didn’t like that one, that shouldn’t stop you from seeing The Boy. The fact that this film is boring as hell however should.
The Boy doesn’t feel that much like a failed film as I am sure this was exactly what the filmmakers intended to create. The story is just very lackluster for me and horror fans wanting a scary or even fun creepy doll movie should rather look elsewhere as this is not exactly a subgenre that are lacking entries. The Boy is one of the most boring films I’ve sat through in a while and even if it looks slick and has a decent cast, it doesn’t help it from receiving any more than a 1.5 out of 5.
Instead of seeing The Boy, go check out some indie horror instead or explore the past of the genre with all the classic films that you haven’t had a chance to check out yet. So that was The Boy. Did you see it? What did you think of it? Any other creepy doll movies you think are worth checking out?