The Boy is about a young American woman whose taken a job in the UK as a nanny while the parents go on holiday for the season. All she has to do is follow the rules to keep him happy but this is no ordinary boy. Brahms is a porcelain doll and his parents treat him as if her were alive. Greta Evans the nanny, played by Lauren Cohan soon realizes that maybe that maybe the Brahms’ parents aren’t so crazy and that the truth behind the boy is more terrifying than she could have ever imagined.
I first watched The Boy several months ago but was too busy to write a review at the time. I watched it again the other night as part of mini horror movie marathon. I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Though, I must admit I am a little biased as it stars the marvelously talented and beautiful Lauren Cohan from The Walking Dead. I love her to, probably unhealthy levels. But, I don’t think my admitted bias for her effects my review of the film aside from all the faltering comments of her I am sure to make.
What’s great about this movie? The acting is superb of course. Lauren Cohan as Greta Evans the nanny is played with an honestness and believability that really makes you care for her. You see, I was concerned upon first seeing the trailer for The Boy that I might not like it because it appeared it does one of the things I hate in movies. That is when a character is given a set of rules to follow and then the first thing they do is break them. I mentioned this in an early review the other day. Once this happens I start rooting for the bad guy. If a character is going to break those rules then we have to got understand why. if we don’t, it just pisses off the viewer and we lose interest.
Thankfully, The Boy doesn’t do that. Yes, Greta does break the rules but to be honest, who wouldn’t. It’s a doll she’s supposed to be taking care of, not a real boy. So, I accept that she breaks the rules at first. What the film does nicely is still allows us to care for Greta’s character given she so quickly broke the rules. They do this by making her character 3 dimensional. She’s a got back story that we begin to understand. There’s a logic to the things she does and thinks. She doesn’t do anything really stupid or rash. We feel safe in judgment and that’s so important in a film like this.
Then there’s Ruport Evans as Malcom. He plays the “grocery delivery boy, man” and he is terrific in the role. He’s got that everyman quality but better. His character adds some needed laughs to the The Boy. He’s charming and funny without going over the top. Then there’s Brahms (the boy’s) parents Mr. & Mrs. Heelshire played with just the right amount amount of creepiness and despair by Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle. The best way I can describe how good their performances are is to have you look at it this way. Consider that their time on screen is short. Their performance has to be so good that as the story of their porcelain doll Brahms evolves you begin to see them in a different light. Had they been less actors we would never go from thinking their crazy and creepy to a couple that is worthy of our understanding and compassion. Excellent job.
The Boy offers more than just goosebumps and jump scares. It’s got a solid story. It’s not Gone with the Wind or anything but for a movie about a possibly possessed doll, it’s pretty damn good. It’s got some action and suspense as well as the story begins to unfold. It’s wonderfully atmospheric.
The direction was also notable. William Brent Bell’s direction is every bit a character in this movie as the cast. There’s a quiet beauty to the film. Even the action is shot with care. His shots bring you into the scene as the camera makes its slow, methodical moves around. The house is also a character. It’s brilliantly set up. It’s everything you’d expect in a very old British haunted house and yet it doesn’t come off as stereo-typical. It’s a beautiful house, the wood work is amazing and it manages to be mildly creepy and comforting at the same time.
So who’s going to like The Boy? Well, this is a grown ups movie. And, by that I mean it’s not a teen horror movie with hot young people getting naked and showing at the most inappropriate times and then dying a painful and gruesome death. Don’t get me wrong, the only thing I like better than boobs and gore is bacon. I just feel that this movie caters to a more mature audience. I certainly believe that people of all ages can enjoy The Boy. I think if I was 10 or 11 I would have loved this movie even more than I do now. If you’re looking for sex and gore, you won’t find it here. But, if you’re looking for a solid atmospheric story with a twist then The Boy is a must see.