I recently went and watched The Boy, a film about a young nanny who has a child that is very much real, but very much a doll. Although it sounds like the normal possessed-doll scary story, this movie was well done, and actually used the clichés to turn it on its head.
If you’re unaware of what movie I’m talking about watch the trailer.
The director of this flick is William Brent Bell. I haven’t seen any of his other work, but after viewing The Boy I am more inclined to give his work a chance. On his jacket are other horror films like The Devil Inside, a 2012 release, and Wer, a 2013 release. Both films received dismal ratings from Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes, so I wasn’t surprised that The Boy had poor reviews as well; 52% on Flixster and 28% on Rotten. (In case anyone was wondering The Devil Inside has a 22% on Flixster and 9% on Rotten, while Wer earned a 39% score on Flixster, none on Rotten.) With numbers like that I am sure many would hesitate and/or just not attend a showing by this man, but I think he might be misunderstood.
So even with numbers like that, I attended the showing because of badass Maggie (Lauren Cohan) from the Walking Dead show on AMC. She is the main protagonist in the film, and thankfully she was not typecast. The character she plays throughout The Boy is very different than Maggie — it was great to see a different side of Lauren Cohan.
Beware light spoilers ahead!
What I liked:
The humor is light and what you would want. It misses at times, but whether intentional or not it adds to the eerie nature of the overall story. This portion of the narrative lasts for just a brief moment in the movie, and is then quickly subdued by the paranormal aspects of the film.
It’s riddled with questions of Greta’s (Lauren Cohan) sanity. I love the way they played with this. I was wondering whether or not she was crazy, but then you realize that the happenings are real. With this reveal comes a sense of relief, knowing Greta isn’t off her rocker.
The ending is where the film turns clichés on their head, and a lot of times these parts of movies are best left unspoiled. So watch it if you get the chance or find someone who will give you a full-blown synopsis.
The cast was great. There was not one player in this film who I felt couldn’t hold their own against the scope of their role, and that’s saying a lot as the story’s tension doesn’t rely on visual images so much as characterization.
What I didn’t like:
I felt that they ran a little too long with the paranormal happenings. It could have been trimmed down a bit, which would give a little more room for the offbeat humor from the beginning of the film.
I would’ve loved to see a little more about the parents of The Boy, as they made for very interesting characters. It would have helped flavor the narrative, particularly as Greta contemplates what life would be like if she took charge of the Boy forever.
The score wasn’t my favorite. I’m tired of the ‘creepy vinyl opera records’ for scary movies. A film’s soundtrack contributes immensely to the overall tone, and if you’re lazy with it you might ruin what could be a great movie. This one got lucky in that it wasn’t ruined by the score, but the attempt didn’t help it any.
The movie was great. It might not be for you, if you’re looking for another Conjuring or other such paranormal flicks. This film read out more like a psychological thriller that kept you guessing.
Since its release this last Friday, its grossed $10,778,392. Its overall production cost was $10 million. So they’re half way there. It’s safe to say they’ll make their budget back and some, so we should see more coming from this team.