by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer
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Dolls are creepy. I had a My Buddy doll when I was a kid that always gave me the willies. The fact that my mom still has it and trots it out every once and a while to freak me out makes me think I should find it and burn it (or at least turn it for a quick profit on eBay). So when I started seeing trailers for The Boy, I was a little unsettled. But after spending some quality time with the film I can honestly say that while it had a few good scares, the film felt very predictable.
Greta (The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan) is an American woman looking to run away from some troubling times in the States. Taking a job as a nanny in the English countryside seems like the breath of fresh air that she needs. But
we see early on that her job isn’t what she expects. Her charge will be a porcelain doll named Brahms that her employers, the Heelshires, treat as real.
The doll is a surrogate for their biological son that they lost in a fire some twenty years prior. With the unreal boy come a series of rules to follow, such as when to “wake” him, his feeding schedule and his bedtime regimen. After consulting with Brahms, the Hellshires tell Greta the job is hers if she wants it.
No sooner does she unpack her things do the Heelshires pack up theirs, using the excuse of a long overdue holiday. As soon as the old couple are off Greta begins her duties – and does a poor job at them. Ignoring Brahms and shirking the list, Greta soon finds strange things happening. Items appear and disappear, weird voiceless phone calls occur and Brahms appears to be moving on his own.
With the help of the friendly local grocery man Malcolm (Rupert Evans), Greta tries to make sense of what is happening before she’s driven over the edge.
Lauren Cohan was top notch. While she didn’t have the best material to work with, she did her very best. She once again gets to show off her impeccable Midwest/Southern American accent that years on The Walking Dead has helped her perfect.
Unfortunately her acting skills weren’t enough to pull this film up from the dredges. While there are a few good scares (mostly during dream sequences), this film was very predictable. There were some very pointed comments made early on in the film that, if you caught on to them, gave the entire third act away.
Director William Brent Bell is known for low-budget (and low-expectation) horror fare, with his biggest success to date being the 2006 thriller The Devil Inside. The Boy doesn’t seem to be the film that will break Bell out of this rut. This is one film that should have been sent to its room without dinner.