Film: The Boy
Director: William Brent Bell
Writer: Stacey Menear
Starring: Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans and James Russell
This was a film that when it came out I was really interested in, but never got around to seeing. I had heard some mixed things about it from podcasts I listened to, so I was still intrigued. Before I get into it, the official synopsis is an American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After she violates a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.
I will give this film credit in that this film has a really good story and I like how it unfolds. Early on we get Greta Evans (Lauren Cohan) is taking a job in England to get away from something in her past. I think the film does well at slowly unfolding that story and it is done subtly. We get the actual story later on when she tells it to Malcolm (Rupert Evans), but their relationship has progressed to that point so it makes sense.
Something else this film does really well is to lay out is you don’t know if Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle) are crazy due to their grief over losing their son. The rules that Greta has to follow are pretty strict and quite insane in that she has to do these things for a doll. You get early on that there is just something not quite right and that sucked me. What makes it even better though is that when Greta really starts to think that the doll of Brahms (James Russell) could be alive, you at first start to wonder if she has lost it due to the stress of what she had endured in her past and being alone in the giant house did she break mentally? The only issue I had with the story was it obvious someone was going to show up and I don’t know if necessarily believe that would happen.
I felt that the editing of this will was good. It has a good running time and builds the tension throughout. It also kept me guessing for the most part as to what was going to happen next. The twist in the film I have to admit I didn’t see coming as there was something else I thought could be happening. It actually makes a lot of sense with things that happen earlier in the film. I thought the ending was also good for what they were building to.
Now I did have some issues with the acting, but none of it is a major. I found it odd to cast Cohan, who even though she was born in the United States was mostly raised in the United Kingdom. She did good at hiding her accent in this film. Her portrayal in the role was great and I find her to be beautiful. Evans was good in his role. I thought Norton and Hardcastle did good as well. They feel like they are hiding something and it came off very naturally. Ben Robson appears as the jerk Cole, which he fit the role as well. I also want to say I liked the look of James Russell in his role as well.
As for the effects of the film, there aren’t really a whole lot. This film really didn’t need it. I will say that I thought the look of the doll was creepy which was a good thing. The little bit of blood that was shown also looked good. Outside of that the effects used during the ending were practical and I had no issues with them at all.
Sound design of the film was also good. It doesn’t ever take over the scene, which for a film like this that is built on atmosphere and the story building, I thought it was good. We do hear things that are going on in different rooms, which I thought was a good touch. The voice of the child we hear is creepy. The music does help to enhance the scenes when used as well.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film. I thought it has a good story that is relatable with a creepy twist during the climax. I thought the editing of the film was good to build tension and keep me trying to figure out the mystery that is going on. The acting I thought was good, just with minor quibbles here and there. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects, but what was used was practical so I had no issues there. The sound design of the film fit exactly what they needed. As I said, I thought this was a good film and definitely deserves a viewing if you are a fan of horror or mysteries.
My Rating: 8 out of 10