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Let's face it, dolls and poltergeists have been overdone in the past decades. It's always the same plot. However, it has NEVER been done like this. At first, it was a bit predictable. Nanny comes in, encounters creepy family, goes with the flow, experiences some disturbing shizz, still goes with the flow because continuity. There were some jumps that were nicely executed and it certainly kept the viewer interested. But movies like this usually head in one direction... This one, on the other hand, brought in something refreshing. I can honestly say I never saw the twist coming. There were very subtle hints, if any. Overall, it was above average yet unnerving. It wins a few points on creativity, so it's a 7.5. Rated it 9 to balance the score and encourage new opinions.
I give it an 9 stars because the end kind of sets it up for a sequel,
but hey, the rest of "The Boy" is beautifully stylized and paced
similar to the spooky, suspenseful and disturbing '60's British made
thrillers like Betty Davis' "The Nanny"and Debra Kerr's "The Innocents"
only with an added surprise ending and faster pace.
From the trailer this movie is not what you think it is and not one of your run of the mill "Child's Play" Chucky doll revenge type '80's flicks. I sort of knew this going in just from the fact smart actors such as Lauren Cohan rarely make bad decisions on movie choices such as this and by god she makes it all believable just as she does in "Walking Dead".
This is a very maturely written, photographed and acted movie reminding me of a really good Twilight Zone episode that gradually unfolds revealing the layers of mystery in this case on the reasons for why an elderly couple would be caring for a life size boy doll which is disturbing on its own right from the get go.
There'll be more questions than answers as the movie progresses where the end will allow the viewer to fill in the blanks with an implied causality from connecting the dots looking back which is the best way to write a movie and view it. Don't explain everything. The audience has a better imagination and intellect.
This will probably be a classic as time goes on as I believe "The Orphan" both odd and unique thrillers.
When you're crazy, do you know you're crazy? It's a question I've heard
asked in movies and in real life, but it is quite the poser (at least
for those of us who are not crazy
as far as we know). In other words,
when you're doing things that other people would call "crazy", at what
point do you move from "eccentric", or even "weird", to genuinely,
using the clinical term
"bat-sh** crazy"? These are some
of the questions you'll be asking about more than one character in the
horror thriller "The Boy" (PG-13, 1:37). But you'll soon find out that
insanity is only one possible explanation for the unusual behavior of
various characters and the many strange happenings throughout this very
Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan) is a young Montana woman (around 30) who is restarting her life. To escape an abusive relationship with her former boyfriend, Cole (Ben Robson), she doesn't just leave him she leaves the country. Greta gets hired as a nanny (a job she's never done before) by the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle), an eccentric older couple living in a big, isolated house in the English countryside. Unusual stuff, but things definitely move to weird-slash-creepy when Greta first sets eyes on her young charge. The "boy" that Greta is supposed to care for turns out to be a marionette-like porcelain doll. Greta thinks it's all a joke, but the Heelshires aren't laughing. They lost their son, Brahms (Jett Klyne), in a house fire on the boy's 8th birthday. They coped with their loss by starting to care for a doll which looks like their son and is about the size of an 8-year-old boy. They've been calling this doll "Brahms" and treating him like a real boy for about 20 years. Now, it's Greta's turn.
After giving Greta detailed instructions regarding Brahms' care and leaving her with a clipboard containing a list of ten rules (and whispering a cryptic "I'm very sorry" as they head out the door), the Heelshires drive away for their first vacation in "a very long time." Greta is now alone with Brahms in that big wireless-less house. Her only contacts with the outside world are her friend, Sandy (Stephanie Lemelin), whom Greta calls regularly from an old rotary-dial phone, and Malcolm (Rupert Evans), the handsome young local man who delivers groceries and brings mail to the house about once a week.
At first, Greta treats the doll as most of us would, tossing it aside and ignoring it. But the longer Greta ignores that list, the more strange things begin to happen in that house. Her clothes disappear. She gets locked in the attic. She finds a mess in Brahms' bedroom. She starts to hear noises and see shadows. Greta is creeped out and begins having scary nightmares about Brahms. Then, the doll starts showing up in places other than where Greta left him. When she calls Malcolm over to witness all this, and he sees that Greta is now treating the doll as if he's real, Malcolm starts to treat her as if she's bat-sh** crazy.
"The Boy" is very well-directed and pretty original. William Brent Bell (who also helmed 2012's "The Devil Inside") masters the slow build, making us wonder throughout the film who's crazy and who's not, as he gives us a few good gotcha-type scares along the way. His cast is better than in many horror flicks and they keep us interested during the times that not much happens. Stacey Menear's script keeps us guessing and then brings everything together in a mind-blowing twist that few will see coming and which shocks, without resorting to cheap tricks. This film skillfully blends some elements of earlier horror movies like "The Shining" (1980), "Child's Play" (1988) and "The Others" (2001), but has a fresh and even more modern feel to it. All aspects of this fun and exciting horror thriller are on target from its creativity, to more technical aspects, such as its set, camera work, visuals and editing. Missing this movie, or letting anyone tell you the ending before you see it for yourself, would be kinda crazy. "A"
"The Boy" presents us with an interesting premise from the start. A young American woman takes a job as a nanny to an elderly couple's child in Britain. Only when she gets to their large, creepy mansion does she learn the "boy" is really a doll that the couple treats as if it is alive and their son. Much of what ensues after this is fairly predictable. We know the doll is going to end up doing creepy things, or at least we'll be led to believe this is the case. We also know there will be something more going on than what meets the eye. Lauren Cohan does a very good job, which is essential because she has to carry most of the movie. Many scenes are with her and the doll alone. Also, the setting and the doll itself do a great job of creating the mood. The film does well at holding the viewer's attention; however, once we see the final "twist" we understand that it was really the only reasonable explanation--although it is really not all that reasonable. There are a few scenes where the dialog and impact fall a little flat. I recommend the film to those who really like this genre, because there is enough there to make it worthwhile; however, do not expect a masterpiece.
OK, OK, i understand most peoples problems with this flick. It has some gaps, and some missing story elements. I read a couple of reviews, and people complained about things not being explained and impossible scenarios. But this move was super entertaining. I did not want to turn away, it kept me glued, and was fun. What else do you really want from a horror or mystery movie? It was original, and inventive, and the acting was good. Was it a perfect movie, no... but it was definitely worth watching, and if your on the fence about it, don't be, watch it. And i am picky.
I'm an avid IMDb user. This is actually my first time writing a review though. I felt inclined after browsing through other's reviews saying how horrible this movie was. It was actually a lot better than I expected. I wasn't in a huge hurry to see it, but I'm happy I watched it. I haven't been a fan of many newer horror movies with the exception of It Follows, but I recommend watching this with an open mind. There's a twist that makes it worth while and I must admit, I didn't see it coming a mile away. Perfect ending to my mini Friday the 13th marathon. -- -- -- -- ----- ----- ----------------- ---------------------------------------- ---
This movie was a lot better than I expected with good acting, good
character development, and a good plot. When I first heard about this
movie I thought it was going to be anther disappointing horror movie,
but instead it was a really surprising and well pacing movie with an
amazing twist no one's going to see coming.
The characters in this movie are likable, and smart. Even though I never heard of anyone who acted in this film, I think they did an amazing job delivering, and making the movie more intense and entertaining.
The director does an fantastic job with this movie. Letting the viewers know what's going on though the whole movie. Making scenes very suspenseful and having a good pay off.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS WILL ABOUND HERE. TURN BACK IF YOU DON'T WANT THEM PLEASE
This movie combines all of the worst aspects of what is wrong with horror and Hollywood writing, in general, in 2016. It's a mediocre, unoriginal and bland thriller that relies on generic jump scares to create most of its' tension. After, at the least, maintaining a clear narrative the movie unleashes on of the most ridiculous twist endings since HIGH TENSION.
Lauren Cohen stars in this movie from Universal (that signifies how far they have fallen from their glory years of horror). She is an American girl who has moved to England to escape some dark moments in her life and take a job as a nanny. Only this is no ordinary nanny job, she is to watch a doll. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, the "parents" of this doll have a laundry list of very particular rules for the nanny to follow. Almost immediately, they leave her alone with the doll. Of course, like most of us would do, she doesn't take these duties seriously at first, ignoring the doll and going on about her life isolated in this country home. Then, things start to go weird, as items disappear and finally she is trapped overnight in an attic.
After these events, our heroine starts to take the doll seriously and realize that there is a spirit in the house who demands care of the doll or will unleash devilish tricks on her. Most of us have an innate unsettled feeling with dolls and mannequins and the movie does a good job of playing with this fear. There are some genuinely creepy scenes where the doll will unnerve even the most jaded horror fan. Unfortunately, the movie falls down generic Hollywood horror traps far too often, though, as almost every real "scare" in this movie is the most boring of boring types -- the jump scare. Yes, the music ratchets up, the mood intensifies and the camera zooms in slowly only for something to jump out at us with a loud noise, accompanied by jarring music. It's such lazy film making.
Lauren Cohen doesn't help much here, either. She's a pretty face that most know from THE WALKING DEAD, but even as an ardent fan of that show, I found her to be a generic actress there. Try as the show might to make Maggie interesting, Cohen just brings no real emotion to the role. Here, it's much the same. She's the pretty girl next door and that's about it. It's hard to feel much for her because the actress has done nothing to bring sympathy to the role.
Still, all things considered, for the first 75 minutes or so the movie has done an average job of presenting an, at least, entertaining (if unmemorable) thriller, then we get to the twist. Hollywood seems to have a fascination with the twist and I think that horror falls into this trap the worst. This is the most horrid kind of twist. Look at a classic twist like THE SIXTH SENSE. The viewer can go back and re- watch the film and there is ample evidence everywhere that the viewer could have seen this coming. The twist does something to support the previous narrative and make it all the more impactful.
Too many amateur writers seem to feel it is okay to just pull the rug out from under the viewer and say "Aha, I got you". No, you didn't "get" anyone with this ending. You spent all of this time building a tense mood around a spirit who may be possessing this doll, then soiled all over it. There are so many things the writer could have done intelligently with that premise, but the real threat is much more generic. What was the point of having a doll in the first place? Why all the rules? Why the doll? Why bother? You could have done a ghost story and left out the twist. You could have done a creepy mystery guy movie and left out the doll. By combining these, you've only created something ludicrous. It's tempting for a writer because an unintelligent viewer will typically confuse an out of nowhere twist with good writing, but this just isn't the case. A twist means nothing if you didn't support it along the way, build towards it and use it to bring meaning to what has come before. Otherwise, all you've done is left one narrative unfinished and tacked on a different story at the end.
If you are looking for a horror movie with more originality than usual
this may be your film. Most horrors are standard genre films that rely
on cinema clichés to frighten us and audiences have become immune to
plots with spooky dolls, isolated nannies and scary mansions. The Boy
(2016) stands out by combining all of these horror tropes into a single
story then overlays them with a plausible thriller about parental
grief. It tries to be a serious film without the lame humour which so
often sugar-coats horror movies into comedy-thrillers. But the downside
is also typical of the genre: it runs out of ideas on how to finish the
Greta (Lauren Cohan) is fleeing a bad relationship and applies for a nanny job caring for an 8-year old. She arrives at an isolated mansion in the English countryside and the child turns out to be a life-size doll called Brahms. The older couple's son died in mysterious circumstances twenty years earlier and Brahms is their way of dealing with unresolved grief. The creepy parents abruptly depart for an extended holiday, leaving Greta with strict instructions on how to care for Brahms. At first she ignores Brahms but soon weird things happen like the doll changes position and strange sounds echo through the house. Greta is alone and terrified until she befriends the local grocery guy Malcolm, but all hell breaks loose when the violent ex-boyfriend turns up unexpectedly. Poor Brahms becomes the unwanted child in some high-tension scenes but predictably the doll gets its revenge.
Although not a great fan of horrors, this one kept me engaged until the final quarter where a tired old stock-standard formula is used to tie the narrative ends together. Until then, the film maintains a menacing Gothic atmosphere and enough surprises to keep you guessing what will happen next. Lauren Cohan is well cast as Greta and the story moves along at a lively pace. If you are not willing to suspend disbelief and go along with the story premise, you are unlikely to see it through and you are probably not a horror fan anyway. A good test if it will work on you is to grab a toy doll and stare into its eyes; if your mind can fantasise it staring back at you with malicious intent, you pass and should see The Boy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'd like to start off by saying despite the 5 out of 10 rating, I do
recommend this movie, for reasons that will be made clear if you decide
to read this before seeing the movie...
For the first, I'd say, 75 minutes of The Boy, you think you know (or at least I did) where the filmmakers are taking you... sort of. It seems like a kind of mashing together of the sort of English rural-secluded countryside of an older horror film like The Innocents (and that's to the movie's credit), and the 'doll is here and what is it *doing*) of Child's Play. I'm sure there were some other influences for this work - one of which I didn't know about until I was told of it much later on social media - but this starts off as a kind of batty (in a good way) horror story about an older couple who leave a woman (Lauren Cohan) in charge of taking care of Broms: a little 8 year old boy who happens to also be a doll. And nevermind that he's a doll - he'll need lots of comfort and caring to, such as reading to Broms and making sure its tucked in at night and fed and played classical music and what the hell is going on here?!
This has an intriguing premise and I was kind of surprised by the quality of the filmmaking (at least for a January movie, when in recent memory you get schlock like The Devil Inside or even boring dreck like The Forest from the start of January), and the director and cinematographer and editor all pay attention to pacing and setting the mood and not really relying too heavily on jump scares, which are the death of horror cinema. There are a couple, but it's not the name of the game - it's more about 'where is Broms now, what is he doing, or what will Greta do next with this thing, and is it all in her mind?' It turns out the latter isn't true, and it seems like you can figure the movie out pretty easily...
And then the filmmakers do something that is absolutely bat-s*** insane and turn everything on its head in the dumbest way imaginable. As it turns out (and this why I clicked 'spoiler' at the top), the movie really takes a lot of inspiration from a *1970's TV movie* called Bad Ronald (unseen by me, nothing to do with McDonald's fyi), which has the plot description of a perverted teenage boy who lives in the walls of a house after being left behind by his parents (who die) finds new people move in. Um... OK, that may work for that movie, but in the case of The Boy, the reveal of who Broms really is, makes for the craziest logic that I've ever come across for a mainstream horror movie - it combats The Village if you can believe it - and yet it doesn't really earn the brainpower to go back and think 'wait, how does that connect to this and that and... damn it.'
It suddenly turns what's been a not great (there's one story hole with mail that I won't get into here) but interesting horror movie with a solid lead in Cohan into a nightmare. I don't mean that in any positive sense! In the last several minutes it turns into some later-period Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers flick, as Broms - the *real* Broms - has super-human strength despite living IN THE WALLS OF HIS HOUSE and still wears a Broms-doll mask over a hipster beard. It's so insane that you can't turn away, despite the jaw dropping past the floor and down the aisles to the bottom of the theater.
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