Friday, June 24, 2016

The Boy

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Sure, porcelain dolls are creepy but their fragile nature makes them considerably less scary.

The Boy – 2 out of 5

I will admit that when I saw the trailer for The Boy I wrote it off as silly.  It’s hard to take horror/thriller movies that center on porcelain dolls (or dolls in general) seriously; from where I stand anyway.  Even if they are possessed it’s hard to turn off that section of my brain that says, “This is an effing doll!”  Sure, Chucky is pretty damn iconic but that’s because his films are pretty fun.  It’s not like he’s actually that terrifying (or, at least, for me).  So, is this film just another silly horror movie about a doll or what?

There had to have been some people on set that laughed before saying,
"Wait, we're really doing this?"

In an attempt to leave an abusive relationship, a young woman named Greta (Lauren Cohan) accepts a temporary nanny position with a couple in England.  Once she arrives, the couple; Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle), seem innocent enough.  They own a large estate in the middle of nowhere that they work to keep looking neat and tidy but the shock for Greta comes when she learns that the son that she will be watching, named Brahms, is actually a porcelain doll.  The couple leaves her with a set of rules to follow for taking care of Brahms and Greta soon learns from the man who delivers the groceries (Rupert Evans) that the doll suddenly appeared after their flesh and blood son died in a tragic accident and that's when things got interesting for the family.  At first, it seems like this is going to be some easy money for Greta but she quickly learns that Brahms isn’t all that he seems.

Tell us who Negan killed so we don't have to deal with pointless content on
websites that tell us who has to be the one who was killed anymore.

Going into The Boy, my first instinct was that this was going to be a stupid film.  However, I was a bit shocked when I found I was starting to get into it.  On paper, the concept seems dumb but I was surprised at how invested I was getting in the film and how captivated I was with watching Greta succumb to the madness of babysitting this doll.  I was also taken back by how well the film uses music and camera angles and shot composition to create a decent creepy atmosphere.  While the film is never outright scary and the jump scares may have been really bad but there was definitely a fairly decent creepy vibe being given off and the atmosphere was definitely chilling and unsettling.

Sure, it's kinda creepy but, still, there had to have been some people on the cast
saying, "No, seriously, are we really doing this?"

I was also very taken by the performances in the film.  Lauren Cohen is bringing the same level of greatness that she brings in The Walking Dead and I really enjoyed the chemistry that she had with Rupert Evans.  Additionally, I was very impressed with the performances of Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle as the Heelshires.The very unnatural way they presented themselves and their off kilter relationship they show for their “son” really got their hooks in me and I found myself thinking that I might have been wrong about this film.  The only member of the cast I was unimpressed with was the character of Cole (played by Ben Robson), the abusive man that Greta was fleeing.  While Robson wasn’t outright bad, he just wasn’t as good as the rest of the cast and looked very unnatural in the role.

"What are you doing, Dave?  This is highly irregular."

So, for the most part, I was impressed with what I was seeing with The Boy and thought I was going to get a horror film that was never actually frightening but definitely intriguing and a tad on the creepy side.  I thought I was completely wrong about the film…and then the final act started.
Until the metaphoric shit hits the fan in this movie, the story is building at a great pace and the details of Brahms life, demise, and the dark secrets are feathered and layered out a great pace and the embracing of the insanity that Greta is going through was very intriguing.  It really felt like this film was going down a path of something really creative but once the twist is revealed, I was thrown completely out of the story and it tanked for me.  Twists can be a tricky thing and it’s very hard to ride the line of being both surprising and captivating.  While I won’t argue that the twist in this film is bad (some might really like it), I will say that I found the twist to be too obvious and way too generic.  It made for a film that seemed like it was going down a path of being unique and original feel like it takes a sudden sharp turn down generic slasher film territory.  Hell, the twist was so cliché that this film could have easily been released in the late 70s or early 80s and fit in with all the hundreds of other forgettable generic slasher films that all basically have the same ending and twist that this thing had.

The poor doll just wants another doll to keep him warm at night.

I went into The Boy with really no expectations beyond thinking it was probably going to be silly but was surprised to find I was digging what I was watching.  Sadly, the film was undone by a less than appreciated ending and it made for a film that just left me disappointed rather than pleasantly surprised.

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