by Sherry Lipp
What is it about dolls that can be so scary? They’re just harmless play things after all, but they’ve certainly provided inspiration for many a horror story. There’s just something about that little human-shaped form that strikes terror when they start moving around on their own accord. The 2016 horror film The Boy throws its hat in the scary doll ring with disappointing results. The story is fairly rudimentary, but the biggest problem with The Boy is the doll is not scary at all. Yeah, it’s a weird doll, but it’s no Chucky or Anabelle.
The setup to The Boy is pretty good. A young American nanny named Greta (Lauren Cohan) travels to England to look after the young son of an older couple. That really should have been the first red flag, because there’s no way this 70-ish couple would have an eight-year-old kid of their own, but Greta never questions it. As it turns out the couple’s son Brahm’s is a doll.
Now, most people would turn and run right there, but Greta needs money so takes the gig and agrees to look after the “kid” while the couple goes on holiday. It’s easy money. Of course things aren’t that simple. Strange things start to happen and Greta begins to think that the doll might have a spirit living inside its perfect little body. Brahm’s is a fairly average looking doll with a porceline face and wearing a nice looking pair of trousers and a sweater. His expressionless face doesn’t exactly conjure any particular feelings. Only his large, staring eyes offer a hint of scariness.
Greta thinks the doll might really be possessed. Does she turn tail and run? No. She decides she really wants to be this kid’s mom and she takes to her duties with gusto. So where’s the scary stuff? Unfortunately there’s not a lot of that. Just some weird happenings now and then especially when the grocery man/Greta’s new lover interest Malcolm (Rupert Evans) visits.
If only they had taken this weird plot a little further. I mean it is pretty weird that this doll’s “parents” have been meticulously taking care of it for over 20 years. Why? This film doesn’t provide any answers to the most interesting questions. There is a ridiculous twist that doesn’t even explain anything at all. I mean a good twist will not only come out of nowhere and shock you, but it will also tie up some of those loose ends. This one does neither.
While this film is entirely watchable thanks to an enjoyable performance from Cohan, but I can hardly recommend spending time on it. I’d like to say I’d be surprised if there’s a The Boy 2, but they seem to make sequels for everything. I will say this film doesn’t warrant one. The Blu-ray itself looks and sounds great, but there are no special features whatsoever.
Photos: STX Entertainment