An American nanny, Greta (Lauren Cohan), is hired to look over an English family’s young son. She’s shocked when she discovers that the son is merely a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules left by the boy’s parents, disturbing events begin to occur that convince Greta that the doll may actually be alive.
Based on the trailer, I didn’t expect much from this PG-13 teen scream thriller. I went in believing it would be nothing more than a cliched, watered-down, possession flick filled with jump scares and loud noises… which it was – to a degree. Although The Boy did meet some of those expectations dead on, the film also offered some pleasant surprises.
Directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside), The Boy is presented in a very slick and stylized manner. By isolating the film in a giant English country estate, Bell managed to create a creepy sense of atmosphere. For the most part, The Boy is a film that is freshly directed, however it does include several gags straight out of Annabelle. As for the acting, this is the first leading film role for Lauren Cohan, but many horror fans will recognize her from her role as Maggie in The Walking Dead. Cohan manages to bring great emotion to her role, but sometimes the performance over exaggerates the situation at hand.
What surprised me most is that it isn’t as cliche-ridden as I had assumed it would be. Yes, there are jump scares. Yes, there are dream sequences (2 of them actually). Yes, there are failed scares. But the film also carries an interesting B-story with Cohan’s character that eventually plays a large role in the film’s rather fun twist reveal. If you go into The Boy expecting a horror masterpiece, look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a fun and semi-fresh thriller, and don’t mind a few jump scares along the way, this might be just the film for you… but it could probably wait for VOD.
The Boy is now in theaters.