If I could choose one genre of film that has really deteriorated in past couple of decades, it’s the horror genre. The subtlety of the Exorcist and the creepy ideas of Rosemary’s Baby and Omen were quickly replaced with loud jumpscares and special effects. Whenever a new horror movie is released, even around Halloween, we’re usually given a film like Ouiji, Knock Knock or a remake of an actual good horror film. This is why I’m never excited about seeing a horror film, especially one in January, to review because very few horror movies these days manage to leave an impression on me. I gonna tell you right now that, not only did The Boy manage to keep my opinion of horror movies going but also make me physically angry at the genre. I can always handle a bad horror movie because that’s pretty much all I expected to see when I came into this movie but this film gave me hope that they were gonna try and put in effort and then yank the rug from under me in the final third. I’m going to go into more details but fair warning…
The Boy is about a woman named Greta, played by Lauren Cohan, who is hired by an elderly couple to look after their son, Brahms, while they go away on a holiday. However, it’s soon revealed that their son is nothing more than a porcelain doll that the couple dress, feed and read to like a real boy. Greta finds this strange but just shrugs it off and assumes that the couple is just mental and she can make some decent money in the process, seeing as how this job is suppose to last for a couple of months. However, she soon realizes that strange things are happening around the house like items are going missing, things are moving around and the doll is somewhat acting strange. Now, before any of you shrug off this film as just another possessed doll story that has been done a million times, what really makes me mad about this film is that it actually tried.
This film actually did a decent job creating a creepy atmosphere with Greta being constantly alone in this big, silent house with only the doll to keep her company and the doll is actually pretty creepy looking too. I don’t know who designed that doll but they need to work for better written horror films. The movie knew how to pace itself with a lot of tension and suspense, I only noticed about two or three jumpscares in this film and one even managed to get me. That’s incredibly rare for me in horror films. The performances in this film are also pretty OK as Lauren Cohan gives a decent performance of a woman slowly descending into madness while babysitting a creepy doll alone in a big empty house. Rupert Evans also plays a likable grocery boy named Malcolm who visits the house once a week to drop off groceries and eventually befriends Greta.
There was actual effort put into this film and I don’t know about what happened behind the scenes but it feels like there was one writer who wanted to get a certain story across but some big movie executive kept on breathing down his neck to add some stupid cliches and twists to dumb down the story for teenagers. Throughout the movie, I thought they were going for a psychological horror story about a woman, who suffered from a miscarriage, going mad in a house with possessed doll that he eventually starts feeling motherly towards. That would have been a kind of interesting creepy idea to portray onto the big screen. But then they just make the stupidest choices in the final third of the movie. I going to tell you what happens in the final third right now so there are spoilers ahead.
Greta took the nanny job because she is hiding out from an abusive ex-boyfriend who is stalking her and trying to find her. You know, because that’s not going to be an annoying detour and someone has to die in this horror film. The abusive ex-boyfriend of course finds her, becomes abusive and then destroys the doll and you’ll never guess what happens next. The house begins to shake uncontrollably and a hole is blown in the wall to reveal… Are you ready for this… I’ll give you a minute… This is going to hurt… Ready… A guy in mask. Yep, all that build up with a possessed doll and it turns out it was just a guy in mask who lives in walls of the house.
Where do I even begin with this. Well, first off, why did the whole house shake when the doll was destroyed? They obviously meant for this to be a twist where a deranged manchild was living in the walls of the house, so why and how did the house shake? They literally never explain it. Second, the deranged manchild constantly throws around the main characters like ragdolls and even manages to blow a hole in the wall, but HOW DID HE DO THAT? They show that this is just a regular man who was deformed in a house fire from 1991, so how does he have the strength of Michael Myers and Jason Vorehees combined. Third and most importantly, why were the parents caring for a doll? This is also never explained because apparently all the strange things that were happening was because of this manchild sneaking around the house, it had nothing to do with the doll. So why were the parents reading to the doll, feeding the doll and even dressing the damn doll; it makes no sense.
That’s three; THREE major plot holes in just the last 15 minutes of the film. Why did they make these choices, why didn’t read over their script and ask the question: What is the point of this? Or why is this in our movie? I will admit that the movie at least put in an effort to create a scary atmosphere and even give us some creepy ideas but that final third is just awful. Also, I’m not going to act like the movie would have been saved if they changed the final third because the movie was still kind of a bore and some scenes moved a little too slow but at least I could appreciate the effort that was put into the film. Although, unfortunately, this just another disappointing entry into the horror franchise.