31 Days of Reviews: The Boy (2016)

When Greta arrives at her new job as a nanny, she is surprised to see that the boy she’ll be caring for is a porcelain doll. If that wasn’t weird enough, it appears he has a list of rules to follow, and he doesn’t like it if you break them.

The Boy stars Lauren Cohan, known currently for her role on The Walking Dead. When I initially saw the previews for it, I knew I was going to see it. I love my scary movies, and movies with dolls usually do a good job of scaring me. Plus, I’m a decently big fan of Cohan on The Walking Dead, so why not?

The first thing that really stuck out to me in The Boy was the atmosphere. It was fantastic. For one, the main character is an American who has traveled to another country (in this case, England). It’s just different enough for her to feel like a fish out of water, and this starts the general feeling of unease. There is a lot of classic, victorian imagery, and this sets the tone really well. You feel the creep factor even before you meet Brahms. This atmosphere continues through most of the movie, and I have to say I was impressed. Good job to the set designers on this one!

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 7.53.12 PM

Of course, when we finally meet Brahms, the creep factor escalates. It’s just odd to see an elderly couple fawning over a porcelain doll, spoiling it as if it were actually their young son. As the story progresses, Brahms turns out to be quite the playful doll, stealing shoes and clothing, sometimes locking Greta away for the night. Eventually, Greta learns to follow his rules. She often asks Brahms questions, and every time she does, I freak out, expecting him to actually answer.

That’s one of the best bits of The Boy. There’s a good element of suspense. Out of everything, I found the scariest parts to be that anticipation about whether or not Brahms was going to do something. The movie uses long, lingering shots that slowly move in or out, and this just made my hair stand on end.

Don’t get me wrong. Everything in the movie isn’t as fantastic as what I’ve just described. The movie utilizes jump scares too, and there are one too many dream sequences for my liking. These definitely took away from that creep factor I keep talking about. Sometimes there’s this odd slow motion added to the scene, and that took me by surprise in a bad way.

Before watching The Boy, I had heard a lot of good things about the ending. Now, I write a lot, and this is kind of the genre that I excel in, so I wasn’t exactly surprised by the ending. I had a theory about it early on. As a viewer, you might too. It is a good ending though! Even though I had my theories, the reveal was still pretty great. I found my body curling back in fear, despite the fact that I already knew what was coming.

In addition to that creep factor, The Boy attempts to bring in some emotional aspects to help carry the story. Greta has a personal history with abuse, and this greatly influences the plot. She has experienced loss, and this explains her eventual relationship with Brahms. This history of abuse even leads to the tipping of the scales in the final act. It’s a major factor. On top of all of that, Brahms’ backstory is decently intriguing, and it’s given to the viewer in small parts as the movie progresses.

Overall, The Boy is an average, but decently enjoyable movie. It isn’t really groundbreaking, but it does have some clever bits. If you typically like scary movies concerning dolls, then this might be a hit for you!

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