Director: William Brent Bell
Cast: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Diana Hardcastle, James Russell, Javier Botet
'The Boy' poster. Pic/Santa Banta
'Twilight Zone', 'Chucky' series, 'Annabelle', 'The Conjuring' and several other horror flicks have used large or small sized dolls as a medium for their scares. Some were super successful in their attempt while others were middling but none as insipid and unexciting as this new one, 'The Boy', in which a young woman, an abuse victim, Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes on the job of a Nanny of a young boy in a remote English village.
Upon her arrival at the secluded Heelshires' (veterans Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle) imposing stately manor, in a chauffeur driven car, she is flabbergasted by the discovery that the child, soon-to-be under her care, is a life-size doll that the parents believe is a receptacle of the spirit of their son who died a tragic death, two decades ago, in a fire that gutted a part of the house. The money she is being paid acts as the lure for her to stay put. It is just too good - more than she has ever earned in a week. And then the parents just get up and leave for a much-deserved holiday, with her in charge. She gains some comfort from the regulated presence of the delivery man, Malcolm (Rupert Evans) but the strange occurrences and the eerie goings on like the doll shifting positions, shedding tears, making her shoes and clothes disappear, making her feel like imposing shadows are moving around her, getting her trapped in the attic and turning on the music without her knowledge - just make her question her own sanity. And then Cole, her ex, turns up unexpectedly and matters just get worse from thereon.
Stacey Menear's script leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Some of the characters just don't have any back stories while the final ploy used to up the scares just doesn't work because you see it coming from a mile away. The narrative careers through a series of implausible twists and turns before trying to make it all look plausible but by then it's just too late and interest is on the debit side. The camerawork looks good but there's not much effect in terms of atmospherics, to shoulder the scares.
Director William Brent Bell doesn't seem able to decide on a consistent tone for the flick. Jump scares, nightmares and strange home theatrics seem contrived and strangely all-too familiar. The film just can't live up to the challenge of creating a monster out of a doll and all the tricks thereof seems just that - and too feeble and insipid to give you the chills. You are going to be largely unaffected by this one.
Watch the trailer of 'The Boy'