The Boy (2016) ★★☆☆☆

A half-hearted horror. 

Directed by William Brent Bell, The Boy follows Greta (Lauren Cohan), an american woman who has accepted a job in England as a babysitter. However, upon arrival she finds Brahms (the boy) is a porcelain doll of which the family believes to be alive. When she is left to care for him alone, she begins to believe that the doll may in fact, be alive.

Boy oh boy, aside from the spine-chilling score, which highlights the typical conventions of the horror genre, The Boy doesn’t have much going for it. There are plenty of clichéd jump-scares to fill the time, but they only serve as a cheap alternative. Though there is a ‘twist’ at the end, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. To put it simply, a lot of occurrences happen in this film, only to not make any sense after viewing, with little point or symbolism. It could have been compelling, but ultimately it is let down by an unoriginal script. There is, however, no blood or gore, which makes a pleasant change, as gore shouldn’t have to result in being the successful narrative route to a good horror. In the case of The Boy, this was quite the opposite. With a narrative that hasn’t got a leg to stand on, emphasised by the poor acting and direction, what’s left to enjoy?

With countless scenes of pacing around in the dark, The Boy only accentuates the known ‘January horror film’ streak, which year in, year out, proves to be all the more embarrassing. The one thing we can learn from this is, to not even consider babysitting for anyone who owns a strange doll and labels it as their child. With similarities to Annabelle (2014); it’s just another haunted doll film, that unfortunately brings nothing fresh to the table.

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14 thoughts on “The Boy (2016) ★★☆☆☆

  1. Excellent review and great point on the gore! It was smart they didn’t fall into that lazy gimmick, just wish they would have capitalized with actual scares. Even though there weren’t scares, Ben Robson’s attempt at an American accent was terrific unintentional comedy.

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  2. Hey afc! You make a great point about horror movies in January. I’m going to have to remember that for next year.^^ The thing is I wanted this to be good so bad but a dull cast and a weak script can’t do much for anyone. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember laughing at the trailer when it first popped up. The premise alone is pretty laughable and I had a feeling that the execution wouldn’t exactly be spot on. Almost surprised that it was not a 1, but good to see that it wasn’t a total failure.

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  4. I enjoyed your review without agreeing with your assessment. I quite liked this film because of the way it maintains a menacing Gothic atmosphere and has enough surprises to keep you guessing right up to the latter part. The end is a mashup, but most horror films have lame endings. Its more original than most while avoiding corny comedic touches or drifting into implausible supernatural scenarios. Most real horror fans will enjoy it.

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    • Thank You – great to hear a different perspective, and that you enjoyed it for what it was. I’m a big fan of horror myself, but tend to prefer the classics, compared to the cheap attempts and remakes in contemporary cinema! What are your all-time favourites?

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  5. Two recent stand-out favourites are The Babadook (2014) and The Witch (2015). I’ve reviewed both in case you have not seen them. The biggest and most common disappointment in horrors is that the directors cannot seem to finish what they start. For example, 10 Cloverfield Lane (2015) has a brilliant first half, but throws in the towel on how to tie it all together towards the end. The psychology of memory causes us to remember endings more than beginnings (the recency effect) so if a film has a limp ending the whole film is judged as limp.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really enjoyed The Babadook too!! Loved its psychological elements especially. The Witch, I have yet to see, but will definitely check out your review. I’d beg to differ with 10 Cloverfield Lane – it was my favourite film of 2016, and the positives overweighed the negatives for me. I liked how the ending was ambigious too, even though I may be in the minority! Have you seen “It Follows”? I thought that was brilliantly executed also.

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      • I agree about It Follows. For me a good horror has to have strong plausibility or a psychological logic. I’ll stay clear of 10 Cloverfield; the second half just went troppo for me. A giant cockroach out of nowhere, really?

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