Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Film Review: The Boy (2016)

The Boy (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU Rental
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"A great time killer for horror fans."

An American woman travels to the United Kingdom to become a nanny for the wealthy Heelshire family, unaware of their peculiar child...

The Boy follows Greta (Lauren Cohan), a young woman from Montana who travels to the United Kingdom to work as a nanny and to escape an abusive relationship. She arrives at the palatial Heelshire home where she meets Malcolm (Rupert Evans), the grocery boy, the Heelshires, and their 'son,' Brahms. To Greta's surprise, Brahms is a porcelain doll. Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire's son had passed away in a fire two decades ago. Anyway, Greta is left alone to care for Brahms and creepy things happen – often due to Greta ignoring the rules. It isn't the most original narrative, but it is engaging throughout its short runtime. It also leads to a solid climax and ending – not bad at all.

The Boy is an entertaining horror film. The story doesn't break any new ground, but it was interesting and engaging. I also enjoyed the setting. The large house helped create a creepy atmosphere. The mood just feels right for a horror movie. There is a bit of suspense here as well as a few jump-scares. The creepy vibe was most effective, though, especially towards the end. It's an effective film, really. However, on top of being a bit generic, the plot is also hindered by the characters. Yes, there is some depth here, but it too often relies on the stupidity of its characters to move the plot forward. Whether it's ignoring the house rules or shrugging off an ominous warning, our lead character is often brainless. It doesn't break the film – again, I was entertained – but it can be annoying.

The performances were good, though. Lauren Cohan and Rupert Evans perform very well together, crafting natural characters. The film is also shot very well, capturing great shots of a beautiful set. The music was good, too. On the technical side, the film is well made. I have no complaints. The Boy is written by Stacey Menear and directed by William Brent Bell. The writing wasn't bad, especially in terms of character, but it could of used a bit more originality and a more honed plot. It would certainly be more enjoyable if it weren't so contrived. The direction, on the other hand, was great. There is a fine balance in horror, juggling moderate suspense, a few jolting jump-scares, and even some creepy scenes. With films like this and Wer, Bell has certainly improved since The Devil Inside.

Overall, The Boy is a great horror film. It's not the most original movie, but it is very entertaining. Some will call it 'dumb,' but, after enduring films like Anguish, I would gladly take dumb over boring. A great time killer for horror fans.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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