<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Director William Brent Bell. Starring Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Diana Hardcastle, Jim Norton, Ben Robson
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
Genres nowadays are becoming so stereotypical and predictable that you can’t tell one from the other. The Boy is the poster boy for those films.
And scary films especially have become so formulaic that you can tell what’s going to happen next with your eyes closed. In fact, it’s better that way so you can catch a nap through the by-the-numbers scares that we’ve all come to expect from so-called ‘horror’ films nowadays.
In The Boy, Greta (Lauren Cohan) is an American girl who gets dropped off in a countryside house – that looks like a haunted house from Disneyland from the outside – and is introduced to the boy she has been hired to take care of while his parents the Heelshire’s (Diana Hardcastle and Jim Norton) go off on a much-needed holiday. But to her surprise and the audience’s laughter, the boy turns out to be a doll. Not a scary doll like Chucky from Child’s Play, mind you. A sweet, fair and slender doll that has to be dressed, fed, tucked into bed and kissed every day. You’d walk right out if such a situation were presented to you, wouldn’t you? But hey, it’s good money, and Greta is running away from something back in the US and well, she’s an American and they’d do pretty much anything for money.
Cryptic lines from the ‘father’ and the handsome grocer ‘boy’ (Rupert Evans) are enough to pacify Greta who gets into her role as nanny of the dolly quite easily as you sit there and laugh at how ridiculous this all is. Of course Greta doesn’t pay much heed to little Brahms – that’s the boy’s name – as she goes about making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for herself. Oh, she brought the peanut butter and jelly (or as we say, jam) from America with her because obviously you don’t get those things in the UK! I suppose they think we in India still ride elephants.
But as expected, mysterious things begin to happen in the house; all the things that happen in all the haunted houses that you’ve seen in films over the last few years basically. And instead of getting out of the house considering she doesn’t have a real child to baby sit, she stays. After all, it’s money and what they hey, even if there’s someone in the attic or someone stealing her clothes while she showers. Americans are made of sterner stuff, I say!
Greta quickly figures that Brahms is a spirit within the house and she convinces her lover boy of it too. She then creepily takes care of the doll and you wonder what lover boy finds so attractive about her.
The Boy does have a ‘twist’ at the end that makes up for just a bit of the ridiculous plot, but have we seen it before? Yes. There’s nothing really scary about it all and lots of silly plot holes that make some bits laughable: like her sleeping in a bedroom full of candles in a house that had caught fire and killed a child and then taking a candle to explore strange noises in a house that has perfectly good electricity!