Director: William Brent Bell
Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Diana Hardcastle, Jim Norton
Plot: Greta (Cohan) is hired to watch an 8 year old boy in an old manor while her parents are on a trip, only to get there and find out the child is actually a porcelain doll.
There are two ways to approach a creepy doll horror. The first, most commonly used by Chucky, is to have your doll actively hunt down the characters in a horror movie. The second is where the doll’s ability to move is put in question for the majority of the movie. For an indie film-maker, with a limited budget, the idea of a horror movie monster that doesn’t actually do much, must be onto a winner. However, the truth is that this approach requires much smarter writing. Even Annabelle, the forerunner of the immobile doll horror sub-genre, hasn’t quite figured out the method yet. The likely conclusion is that these kind of movies end up fizzling out.
The Boy is a good example of this. As with most doll movies, the premise is creepy enough. Lauren Cohan (of Walking Dead fame), turns up to a nanny job only to find that she is caring for a lifelike doll that the parents treat like their deceased son. The whole plot has this air of uneasiness sat on top of the whole thing. As Lauren Cohan wanders around empty, shadowy corridors, all it takes is a bump in the distance to get the audience shifting uncomfortably in their seats. Sadly, the writers need to be doing more than simply revelling in their creepy story. As the story unfolds, we get impatient. Nothing happens. The major jump scares are reduced to dream sequences. Everything else is merely eeriness. When you combine the film together, it feels that most of it comprised of padding. There is also a subplot involving an ex-boyfriend that is constantly hammered into events. In fact, as the film begins to let go of its doll main plot and focus more on the fears of an abusive ex, you begin to fear a ‘not-so-clever- twist’ around the corner. The film does save itself in the final twenty minutes with a left hook reveal that is surprisingly satisfying (although after the limp middle act, it wouldn’t take much to spice up proceedings), at least sending the film out on a high. However, any horror that saves up so much of its good moments for the ending still makes for a pretty lacklustre experience. In conclusion, the Boy is widely skippable, despite a promising initial story.
Final Verdict: The Boy starts promising, but quickly loses its creepy touch.