Those who haven’t yet seen William Brent Bell’s latest dud horror film, The Boy, can take solace in the fact that they haven’t wasted their time and money. If you wish to avoid sheer disappointment, and 97 minutes of your life, then avoid this film at all costs.
Bland, bewildering and easy on the gore- this is every true horror fan’s worst nightmare. By relying on uninspired lighting tricks and jarring music, The Boy forces viewers to push their imaginations to the absolute limit – and not in a good way. As an audience, we have to try very hard to imagine what we are watching is actually scary – even though it really isn’t.
The plot centers around Gretta, a wholesome American nanny (played by Lauren Cohen) who comes to the English countryside to escape her violent ex-boyfriend and to look after the son of a wealthy couple. Upon arrival she realises that the couple’s darling son, Brahms, is actually a china doll- cue creepy and anti-climactic shenanigans. Gretta is comforted, however, by the rugged grocery man, Malcolm, who comes to fill her pantry once a week. This is probably a cinematic innuendo of some sort.
The doll is unnerving and brings to the film a slight element of horror but there’s only so long you can spend staring at a creepy doll whilst expecting it to do something scarey. Yet, this is something that really did work in the recent hair-raising horror Annabelle where a doll was central to the film’s plot. Comparatively, Bell has failed to utilize a few tricks of the trade in The Boy and leaves audience craving terror.
Near the end of the film, we’re sucked into a strange love triangle which serves no purpose to the overall plot. The film disappointingly wastes too much time in attempting to humanise the doll, and faffing about with sub-plots, instead of doing what horror is supposed to do – y’know, actually scare people!
In the last ten minutes of the film, the story lightly skims over crucial components of the plot which could have been better explained earlier on in the film for maximum scare value. Loose ends in the plot are frantically and flimsily tied during the last minutes of the film; this far from adds to the climax of the story and instead leaves us asking many questions.
The trailer for The Boy promises that you won’t be expecting the ending and the film makes good on the promise – provided you were expecting a decent ending.