I almost feel as though two reviews are needed for The Boy; one for the final climactic sequence and another for the remainder of the narrative building up to that point. They simply feel so disjointed from each other that it is almost unfair to compare them together. Far too much of the screenplay relies upon a final twist of sorts, but it mostly just made me feel as though I had been cheated. Had this been a short film, I would not have minded, but the feature length narrative forces the audience to invest in far too much of the slow-burn mystery for the end revelation to be such a cheap cop-out.
When Greta (Lauren Cohan) takes a job as a nanny in the remote English countryside as a way to escape her problems in the
, she is shocked to find that there is no child upon her arrival. Instead of the 8-year-old child there is a life-sized doll, taken care of by an elderly couple (Jim Horton and Diana Hardcastle) who tragically lost their child 20 years prior. Unable to face returning home and unwilling to turn down the high-paying salary for a reasonably easy (albeit creepy) job, Greta decides to play along. She even develops a slight flirtation with the local grocer, Malcolm (Rupert Evans), who regularly makes deliveries. United States
All is going well until Greta is left alone with the doll for a lengthy period, at which point it starts to behave strangely. The doll begins to move positions when left alone, leading Greta to believe that it may somehow be alive. As with many of the creepiest doll horror movies, it is in the subtlety and suspense where most of The Boy’s most successful thrills lie. Unfortunately, so little happens that this turns from suspenseful to dull long before the climactic action tries to revive the narrative.
The biggest mystery at the center of the narrative is what sub-genre of horror The Boy fits into, teasing the possibility of supernatural occurrences in ways that are far more creepy than outright scary. This is not Child’s Play, nor is it Abigail, though fans of scary doll movies may find the unique approach to familiar material somewhat refreshing. Most will likely find it slow. Even Cohan seems to be longing for the excitement of “The Walking Dead.”
Though the Blu-ray comes with a Digital HD copy, there are no extras included on the disc itself. Not even a trailer. This seems to say a lot about the studio’s faith in the film.
Entertainment Value: 5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 3/10
Special Features: 1/10