ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JAN. 22, 2016
By Steve Newton
In the realm of creepy-doll flicks, nothing tops Magic, director Richard Attenborough’s riveting 1978 adaptation of William Goldman’s novel about a psychotic ventriloquist. Compared to it, movies like The Boy are kids’ stuff.
The film opens with Greta (The Walking Dead‘s Lauren Cohan) enroute to a new job as a nanny in the English countryside. “It’s like something out of a storybook, isn’t it?,” she says when her ride pulls up in front of a Gothic stone mansion. Yeah, a really creepy storybook, maybe.
Greta meets her new employers, the elderly Heelshires (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle), and is introduced to their “son”, Brahms, who is actually a boy-sized porcelain doll. Greta soon realizes the Heelshire’s are dead serious about wanting her to care for the doll as if it were alive. Instead of doing the smart thing and getting the hell out, she plays along.
She needs that paycheque really bad.
The bewildered woman finds some support from the Heelshire’s grocery deliveryman (Rupert Evans), who concedes the weirdness of the situation, but shows her the grave where the couple’s son was laid at the age of eight. Who knows the extremes grieving parents may go to to cope with the loss of a child?
Turns out Greta’s got major family issues of her own, as heard in phone calls from her sister back in Montana. She’s jittery as all hell, which amplifies the effect of the bizarre occurrences that eventually lead her to believe that Brahms is indeed alive, somehow.
As creepy-doll flicks go, The Boy isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen. That honour would probably go to 2007’s Dead Silence. But it doesn’t improve its ranking any by shedding its atmospheric vibe near the end and morphing into a routine Halloween-type rampage shocker.